The issue of woman's proper role in society is a lively one in any country today, East or West. Perhaps in no other area has the rapidity of social and economic change touched the lives and values of the average person so deeply. In the Middle East this topic is particularly sensitive because one of the most frequent criticisms leveled at Islam by Western observers is that it degrades women. Male guardianship of women, forced marriages, polygamy, the seclusion of women, and the man's unilateral right of divorce are all, in Western eyes, indications of the inferior status of women in Muslim society and of the inferiority of Islam as a religious and cultural system. Furthermore, Westerners often see it as their duty, whether as mission or strategem, to assist the Muslim woman to liberate herself from these traditional bonds, and especially to remove her veil and educate her.