Aging Syrian Actress Igraa, or Seduction, Tests Islam's Boundaries

Beyond the Veil| After 15 years of self-imposed seclusion, the Syrian siren and actress Nihad Alaeddin has returned “as a ferocious critic of the Islamist wave sweeping the Middle East.” The NYTimes reports that Ms Alaeddin’s courage has drawn the admiration and respect of a young generation of actors and filmmakers who are constrained in their artistic expressions.

“Men have this hypocrisy nowadays. If the girl wears a hijab, she must be honest,” Igraa said in a voice ragged from chain-smoking, during a late-night interview at her Damascus apartment. Today’s Islamic conservatives, she said, are mostly “liars” who “criticize others but don’t truly believe themselves.”

“The whole issue of the hijab has become an excuse for hunting down other people,” she said.

Despite her controversial views, Nihad Alaeddin has not suffered threats of harassment. The actress keeps a photograph in her apartment of one of her old movie scenes. Photographed in what seems to be a moment of sensual abandon, the defiant artist says that men always assume that she’s experiencing a moment of sensual climax.

Only women get it right, according to Nihad Alaeddin. In fact, she’s being stabbed to death by her husband, who reconciled with his unfaithful wife, only to kill her. Read on at NYTimes.