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By Michael R. Fischbach

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In 1980-81 she studied Arabic literature at AinShams University in Cairo, Egypt. She has also completed a number of short courses on human rights, women’s studies and women and development. Her intellectual starting point was the dynamism of religion and modern ideas. For many years she concentrated on feminist readings of the Qur’an. As she commented in a recent interview with the author: ‘‘I came to the conclusion that in the context of gender equality, what is practiced is not equal to what is said in the Qur’an’’ (Rostami-Povey).

He had to reach out to a population who for the most part had never known any other sovereign but King Hussein. The new king started out with several liabilities, including his relative lack of political and diplomatic experience, his half-English parentage, and his weak command of formal Arabic.

The message throughout the novel is a call for coexistence and knowledge. Through the events of the novel the author suggests that force and manipulation do not pay, and he advocates enlightened education that could lead to sharing an Arab-Islamic culture, rather than claiming a purity of descent that cannot be proven and would only lead to futile debates. Abd al-Qader meant to teach by example through his novel, using bloody examples from the country’s past history to show the uselessness of ethnic divisions and fighting.

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