(Explain the title.) I was in a car with a lesbian broadcaster in Beirut and we see all these girls wearing the veil but also with tights and I called it fashion and she said I should not pay attention to these women because this is an experiment and we don't know how it'll turn out. �Muhaja� means wanting veils but they're also hipsters and the combination is odd. The Koran doesn't say you have to cover your hair with the veil, it says you have to cover your orientation. So to draw attention to your orientation with makeup and tight clothes, it's an odd contrast. There was this move of trendy Islam, people call it �air-conditioned Islam,� because it's away from the mosque and into how you dress and how you carry yourself. These girls I mentioned are sort of the foot soldiers of this. (You start your book in Beirut which has become the music center of the Middle East. How does that affect life in Beirut?) There were some stories of people driving and driving and driving to make their fame. Just the idea that Arab life doesn't have to be about who your dad was, that's very new. This is also about not just an increase in the number of young people, but an increase in their education as well which changes your expectations. (How did this trip affect your own expectations and views?) It frustrated me, because these people aren't just topics on TV to me. We focus on the politics of Iraq and we don't have time to get in cultural stories. We should get out of that.

Related Stories