Continuous conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa force millions of people to flee their homes, schools, tribal lands, family, friends, and jobs. In the process of escaping, many of the men are killed. Some young girls are kidnapped and sold as “brides” to rich old men or rebels. Women are raped and maimed. Those who live must learn to survive in appalling conditions within their countries or in neighboring countries.
The Arab world consists of 22 countries in North Africa and the Middle East where Arabic is the dominant language. These countries are ethnically and religiously diverse, including small percentages of Christians and Jews, but Islam is the dominant religion. Political and economic conditions also vary, ranging from countries that are very wealthy or moderately wealthy to those that are burdened by war and poverty. Despite some evidence of progress toward equality in some countries, there is still a pervasive gender-based gap in rights and freedoms in every facet of society: the law, economy, education, family life, health care, and media. Some Arab countries have allowed women to seek university education, but their strict cultures continue to control their choices.
Family is central in the Arab world. Family laws in most of the region declare that husbands have complete power over their wives and daughters, including their right to an education, work, or travel. Domestic violence remains a significant problem, and women tend to cover up the abuse so their families are not publicly shamed. Consequently, abused women rarely attempt to file complaints with the police.
Most Arab women live in cultural, emotional, and spiritual darkness, and they are in dire need of unconditional love. Only Jesus can lift up women from their darkness and misery and give them honor and worth.