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Books and Documents

Islam, Women and Feminism

Hijab is a Sign of Modesty, Not a Security Risk
Ghazala Hayat, M.D. Professor of Neurology

The staff at the jail did not comply with her requests. Members of Council on American-Islamic Relations met with the administrative staff to voice their concern and alluded to the law RLUIPA (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act) which bars state and local governments from enforcing “a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined in an institution.”…

Arab societies often appear rigid and resistant to change to outsiders, because what outsiders see is these countries' ruling regimes, which mostly do resist development and change. But this image is nearly the opposite of reality in Arab societies, where enormous dynamism is opening doors to many types of change, albeit at different speeds and in complex, contradictory ways – particularly when change from below is held back from above.

 

Feminism in the Arab World: The Silent Revolution
Gema Martín Muñoz is Professor of Sociology of the Arab and Islamic World

Consider Arab women. The predominant image is of a passive, exotic and veiled victim-woman who reacts to events instead of actively participating in them. She is an impersonal object of communal stereotypes that sustain cultural prejudices. In fact, Arab societies are engaged in a process of immense and irreversible change in which women are playing a crucial role. …

It is the latest chapter in the sorry tale of women in India, where regressive practices and age-old traditions continue to sit … So, where does it end? It probably doesn't, not even in the India of today that prides itself on its many achievements, its woman president, its woman speaker, its woman leader of opposition and woman chair of the ruling alliance. …

The Wisdom of Women Written out of History

The female of the species is more deadly than the male, cautioned Rudyard Kipling. Given Kipling's love of mythology and prehistoric studies, he should perhaps have added "and smarter". Because of all deities of wisdom across the globe and through known time, the massive majority – 97% – were (or are) female. Mankind, for the vast span of human experience, has worshipped at the shrine not of the god, but the goddess, of wisdom. …

On Being Born a Girl
Aijaz Zaka Syed

On Being Born a Girl
Aijaz Zaka Syed is a Gulf based commentator

Is there anything more beautiful in God’s creation than children? Is there anything more divine than the carefree smile playing on a child’s face, especially if he or she is of your own? There’s something so magical about children that it touches and melts the stoniest of hearts. But even if you aren’t blessed with children, you can’t help stop loving them. Umer Farook, her manly father named after the great Muslim caliph and conqueror, wanted his firstborn to be a male heir to take charge of his kingdom. …

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What Changes I would like to See: Saudi Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdul-Aziz
Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdul-Aziz

Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdul-Aziz tells the BBC there are many changes she would like to see in Saudi Arabia - but that now is not the time for women to be allowed to drive. My father established the first women's university in the kingdom, abolished slavery and tried to establish a constitutional monarchy that separates the position of king from that of prime minister. But I am saddened to say that my beloved country today has not fulfilled that early promise. …

Innocent Afreen: Death by Gender
Patralekha Chatterjee

Innocent Afreen: Death by Gender
Patralekha Chatterjee focuses on development issue

Tuesday night, as I was watching the news on television, the macabreness hit me: even as Afreen was struggling for survival, the city’s corporators were spewing rage. The object of their fury was not Afreen’s father who had severely injured his daughter, and wanted her dead, nor the social system which allows such savagery towards little girls. They were outraged at being denied free passes to the Indian Premier League cricket matches. …

Karachi can Learn from Liberian Women
Beena Sarwar is a writer and filmmaker

Every day, for over two years, women numbering in their hundreds, the numbers rising to 2,500 at the movement’s peak, lined the main road, under the blazing hot sun or torrential downpours – many carried umbrellas. They held up cardboard placards saying “No more war”, “We tired running, we want peace”, “Stop the killing”, and so on. …

Sinister Socio-Psychological Forces Finding Honour in Cowardly Murder
Saad Hafiz is a banker

Some important Islamic scholars in Jordan have gone even further by declaring honour-crimes an Islamic imperative that derives from the ‘values of virility advocated by Islam’ A landmark judgment by the Indian Supreme Court in an honour killing case called such killings a slur on the nation and a barbaric, feudal practice that ought to be stamped out. …

Proposed Amendments to Marriage Laws do not Guarantee Full Women Rights
Flavia Agnes is a Social Activist and Advocate

It is in this context that the Centre’s move to amend the Hindu and Special Marriage laws lacks clarity, transparency and is also extremely narrow in its scope, as it leaves out all women from minority communities and restricts their right to claim property division at the time of divorce. The bill was secular in character, and was made applicable to all marriages irrespective of religious affiliations. …

 

Stand Up For Religious Freedom
Sarah Posner is an author.

The contraception coverage requirement, Sweeney said in his speech, was “abnormal” and “not how things should be.” He warned of a “brand new form of bondage” due to people who “want to dip their hands into the government treasury.”  ” She told me that, as a “kid of the ’60s” she wasn’t always opposed to contraception, but that “the more we know, the more know how bad it is.”…

 
Crimes against Humanity
Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq

Crimes against Humanity
Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq is an advocate of the High Court Pakistan

Women are killed on account of honour, not only for allegedly having affairs, but also for exercising a right to choose their partner, an inalienable right guaranteed by Islam and the law. In a sizeable majority of cases, the ‘honour’ that is so dishonoured, is actually a guise for grabbing property. The Quran terms murder of one person equivalent to the slaying of the entire humanity. …

Clothe Your Women with Kindness
The writer is a journalist, writer and educator.

Every time I hear news of a man using physical force on his wife and children, I become furious. What is further infuriating is that as a man, to react the way I do is deemed strange. For some godforsaken reason it is widely accepted that it's a man's prerogative to correct women by force, especially if they are ungrateful and if they don't obey the commands of their husbands. …

Baby Scare: Motherhood can Change Your Life

I was still unable to control my sobs and cries over the unwanted pregnancy. If killing an unborn baby is a crime, then bringing an unwanted baby into the world is a far bigger crime, because you will not be able to nurture the baby the way his existence deserves to be nurtured. The system of the world is not gender-friendly anyway, unless there are enough women in the making of social policies. …

Pakistan, Women and Political Parties

Pakistan is a strange country. The importance of being out and about in politics is obvious to anyone with a passing interest in it. It is about time that political parties realise that women are a political constituency and their concerns need to be addressed and fought for,… In politics, the importance of constituency cannot be overstated. …

A Spiritual War: Rick Santorum’s Religious Fanaticism Makes Him More Like a Small-town Mullah

“Satan has his sights on the United States of America,... Virginia’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, touted as a vice-presidential prospect, also wants to drag women back into a cave. “I cannot believe that you would disrespect women and mothers in such a way,” he chided colleagues. “This legislation is simply mean-spirited, and it is bullying, bullying women simply because you can.”...

 

Women''s Rights and the Arab Spring: The Female Face of the Revolution

Given all this, one might be forgiven for overlooking the fact that it was a woman who played the central role in initiating the Egyptian revolution. Arab women not only took to the streets during the uprisings, they were also active in the media and in the organization of protests. ...

Women Education: Voices from the Debris

“Muslims have become beghairats (people who lack self-esteem) as they send their daughters abroad to acquire education and invite ‘God’s wrath’. Whether the act itself ignited God’s wrath or not, these words shook me to the core. However, the most important question, and one that needs an immediate answer, is why are women in our society kept away from education?  ...

“Don't grieve, your newborn daughter is a favourite of the Lord and will lead many Muslims to the right path. You should approach the Amir of Basra and present him a letter with a message that every night he is wont to offer 100 Darood to me and on Friday nights 400. But this Friday he did not offer Darood, so tell him that as a penalty he must give you 400 dinars.”-- Abu Tariq Hijazi

 

The Arab society, like other societies, was fiercely patriarchal society and one cannot expect patriarchal societies to empower women. In fact for women empowerment patriarchal societies are main obstacles. In Mecca women’s situation was very precarious and in initial stages women responded to Islamic mission quite enthusiastically and one of the first respondents was Prophet’s (PBUH) wives and subsequently also many women responded before their husbands or sons did. -- Asghar Ali Engineer

At a recent book reading in Oregon, for example, a male audience member asked me, “How does that even work?” These questions demonstrate some of the rigid misconceptions individuals have about Islam and feminism; many people think that they’re mutually exclusive categories. In fact, as a Muslim feminist, I have found them to have more in common than people realise, especially when it comes to social justice. Some assume that feminism is concerned only with the protection and advancement of women. But as a bi-racial Muslim woman, I can’t ignore the ways that different socially constructed categories, such as gender and race, interact and interrelate. My feminism is concerned with the dignity and rights of every person. -- Fatemeh Fakhraie

A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce – even from an abusive husband – or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that ‘dishonour’s her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.’ The tradition of honour killings are locally known as karo kari. Recently, a Pakistani family living in Belgium went on trial for killing one of their female family members. Refusing to accept an arranged marriage and living with a Belgian, Sadia Sheikh was shot dead with three bullets allegedly fired by her brother, Mudusar Sheikh. “That if anyone slays a human being – unless it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading corruption on earth – it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).--  Aneka Chohan

Some Muslim scholars in Saudi Arabia exhort that 'allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia would provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce. The Saudi government, however, is considering lifting the ban of women's driving in a matter of 10 years. Hearing this decision of the government some conservative mullahs even claimed that from the day Saudi women would start driving there would be "no more virgins" in the Islamic kingdom. -- Maswood Alam Khan

 

Secular republicans saw, and some still see, the woman's headscarf -- interpreted by pious Muslims as a religious obligation -- as the wedge by which Islamic law will enter the Turkish republic. One practice, its secular critics worry, will lead to another. Mustafa Akyol, a young modernist Muslim thinker, disagrees. "The headscarf is expected from Muslims," he tells my students who have come here from New York University-Abu Dhabi, "but it is up to rational choice, like fasting for Ramadan. Forcing someone to wear it would be a sin. -- Roger Friedland

 


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  • janab! to kya saeedi sahab ke nazdeek sir Ayate saif ko bunyad bana kar kisi Ghair Muslim, kafir o Mushrik ko Qatal karna, bela wajah...
    ( By nazir banarasi )
  • Totally irrelevant and inane comment from Hats Off.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Getting tired of the routine? No "nothing to do with religion" chorus of one? ....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Was it a demolition job to start with, or was it an indiscriminate act of violence and destruction ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Naked majoritarian hegemony is the gift that RSS's 70 years of hate prachar have bestowed....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Both Zionism and Islamism are interested in building walls, not bridges.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Very much pertinent submission'
    ( By Kbarora Arora )
  • How can be there peace when out siders are mindling in Islamic countries'
    ( By Mushtaq Mohammed )
  • Sultan Shahin GO Get your mental ability checked . we Muslims are being killed our sisters are brutally mishandled and raped in the name of ...
    ( By ßïlål ßhåt )
  • Thank you Sultan Shahin, thank you.
    ( By Abhijit Ray )
  • This guy needs to reread the history. He needs to learn that Islam and Muslim at their highest points were model of tolerance, inclusiveness and ...
    ( By Muhammad Irshad )
  • Islamaphobia is generated to tarnish Muslims.'
    ( By Mohmed Haneef )
  • Who authorised him to change a time tested ideology'.
    ( By Abdurahim Kannattil )
  • Somnath Bose ji Dr Kalam was called muhumudie Hindu by a katmulla'
    ( By Ak Bhat )
  • @Muzafar Yatoo only for muhumudians others are, wajab ul katal,'
    ( By Ak Bhat )
  • Sultan Shaheen is actually mad guy pagal badbakhat'
    ( By Umair Ul Islam )
  • Another name added among Rushdi,Tarek Fateh,Taslima gang.cheap publicity and gettin funds is ultimate target.'
    ( By Shahabuddin Siddiqui )
  • There is no real love among my enemies, dishonest, social workers, evils, hypocrites...
    ( By Krishnaprosad Bain )
  • I think it is a matter of serious thinking ! I could not understand ! Pl explain detaily to our knowledge!
    ( By Sethuraman Sethu )
  • Iblees hamesha rahega dunia me'
    ( By Abdullah Ahamd )
  • Mohammad Hussain Aap se isis jawab ki umeed thi.'
    ( By S S Gupta )
  • Gupta ji muh se (Abusive word deleted.... Editor) band kijiye aur pehle to khud se Quran padhiye Bina kisi knowledge ke ....
    ( By Mohammad Hussain )
  • @Ak Bhat Dear Bhat ji.I knew it very well that they have no answer to my question. Rather answering to my question they were trying ...
    ( By S S Gupta )
  • @S S Gupta ji it will be never answered .'
    ( By Ak Bhat )
  • @Mohammad Hussain, Christianity makes it as a duty for the citizen to wage war to save one's country if war is thrust!'
    ( By Joyson Duraisingh )
  • Ak Bhat, Al( the) + Ah ( God)= The God'
    ( By Joyson Duraisingh )
  • @Joyson Duraisingh Not saying Jesus preached war, yet Christianity got into successive Crusades with "heretics"...
    ( By Mohammad Hussain )
  • Joyson Duraisingh not God but ahalla'
    ( By Ak Bhat )
  • @Krishnakumar Varma abe bc secular tum jeso ki vje se in logo ne terrorism felaya h'
    ( By Amar Panchal )
  • Religion is not . . ...realisation is best way to be humane. ........No authority can define religious ...
    ( By Krishnakumar Varma )
  • Problem is the muslims think definition of human is muslim.
    ( By Anindya Pal )
  • @Joyson Duraisingh the non muslims have freedom to worship in their own way . It is an estabished fact in quran . There ...
    ( By Ghulam Ahmad Dar )
  • No consensus on idol worship, whatever may be the consequences!'
    ( By Joyson Duraisingh )
  • Ijtihad or consensus was the basic tennet of islamic teahings . Unfortunate the practice of ijtihat has been ....
    ( By Ghulam Ahmad Dar )
  • Mohammad Hussain शाहीं को ममोले को ईसा से मिला दो/ एहसास-ए कमतरी को शीशों का सिला दो।
    ( By Laxmichand Deveriya )
  • LOL a lot of 'critical thinkers'😂 here sharing their 2 penny on 'dangers of Islam' r actually Hindutva cheerleader...
    ( By Mohammad Hussain )
  • That the public has believed in the mother of all miracles of not one, but three....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • For a lay person this piece leaves just a few questions among many as unanswered: Boris Johnson's “... comments against the religious dress”. What....
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • Conspiracy theorists will never understand that carrying out such a grand, megalomanic and surreptitious a plot as a 9/11 "controlled....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • t seems to be so easy for extremists to gain the upper hand in Muslim majority countries! The "middle path", which according ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )