There aren’t many stories in the United States media about how highly women are generally regarded in Islam. Many choose to focus on how repressed women are, often without cause. Muslims I have come to know in the Chicagoland area are proud to share who they are, and how poorly the American media has told their story.
Iraq is a different story. The American occupation has not helped, according to journalist Dahr Jamail. While no one denies that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, women actually fared better in Iraq prior to the American invasion:
Former dictator Saddam Hussein maintained a relatively secular society, where it was common for women to take up jobs as professors, doctors and government officials. In today’s Iraq, women are being killed by militia groups for not conforming to strict Islamist ways.
Basra police chief Gen. Jalil Hannoon told reporters and Arab TV channels in December that at least 40 women had been killed during the previous five months in that city alone.