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Rania says that when people focus on differences between cultures—especially stereotypes and things like veils—they fail to realize just how similar all people are. "Once you go beyond the mannerisms, the language, the cultural idiosyncrasies, you realize that you're basically the same, you know?" she says.

Rania also wants to break down the stereotypes the West holds about her culture. "I would like to dispel the misconception that Arabs are all extremists, that Arab people are violent, and that women in the Arab world are oppressed and suppressed," she says.

The struggle we feel today is not really Middle East against the West, Rania says, but rather it is between extremists and moderates of all religions. "We need to speak up," she says. "The biggest nightmare for the extremists is for us to get along, and that's why we have to get along. We have to communicate more."
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FROM: Meet the World's Youngest Queen
Published on May 17, 2006

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