Turkish Soap Opera Championing Equality for Women Takes Arab World by Storm

[AP] Karin Laub and Dalia Nammari - Every evening for the past four months, tall, blue-eyed Mohannad, hero of the hugely popular Turkish TV soap "Noor," has been stealing hearts across the Middle East. He's romantic, attentive to his wife, Noor, supportive of her independence and ambitions as a fashion designer - in short, a rare gem for women in conservative, male-dominated surroundings. "Noor" delivers an idealized portrayal of modern married life as equal partnership - clashing with the norms of traditional Middle Eastern societies where elders often have the final word on whom a woman should marry. In Saudi Arabia, the only country with ratings, about three to four million people watch daily, out of a population of nearly 28 million, according to MBC, the Saudi-owned satellite channel that airs the show, dubbed into Arabic for Middle East audiences. In the West Bank and Gaza, streets are deserted during show time.

2008-07-29 01:00:00

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