arvan's picture

Islamic Legal Tradition and Feminism: Opening a New Dialogue

Author: Ziba Mir-Hosseini (via SKSW)

Publication Date: October, 2010

(This paper was presented at the IV International Congress on Islamic Feminism in Madrid, 21-24 October 2010)

I am delighted to be here, and I would like to thank the organizers, in particular Abdennur Prado, for inviting me to the Fourth Congress on Islamic Feminism. I am sorry that my co-panelist compatriot, Ms Fariba Alasvand, whose scholarship and writings I have been following from afar for some time, was not able to be here. I am grateful to Mr Joaquin Rodriguez for presenting her paper.

The term ‘Islamic Feminism’ gained currency in the 1990s as a label for a brand of feminist scholarship and activism that was associated with Islam and Muslims. I was among the first scholars to use the term to speak of a new gender consciousness that emerged in Iran in the early 1990s, a decade after the 1979 popular revolution that led to a merger of religious and political power in the country. There has since been much discussion and debate and a growing literature on ‘Islamic feminism’, to which I have contributed. Inevitably, there are diverging accounts of the nature of this phenomenon, and of its origins and development.[1] Here I want to revisit this term and offer some reflections on the heavy political baggage that comes with it—as well as with its component elements: ‘Islamic’ and ‘feminism’.

I have two objectives. First, I want to set the record straight and to explain the context in which I have used the term myself, and the kind of feminism that is involved. I shall reflect on the term in the light of developments in the intervening years, culminating in two events in 2009 that, I believe, show how far the debate has moved on, both globally and locally, namely, first, the launch of Musawah, a ‘Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family’, and secondly, the emergence of the Green Movement in Iran. Musawah, launched in Kuala Lumpur in February 2009, brings Islamic and human rights frameworks together to build an overlapping consensus among Muslim women from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and to push for legal reform.[2] The Green Movement in Iran started in June last year as a protest against a fraudulent presidential election, but it soon became a broader civil rights movement in which Iranian women have been the most prominent actors.[3]

arvan's picture

Straight People ♥ Gay Synagogues


Mazel Tov!: Rabbi Lisa Edwards, right, and her wife, Tracy Moore, at their civil marriage in 2008 at Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles.  (Image courtesy of Jewish Daily Forward)

OK, now this is more like it.  After a week of listening to one form of relgious driven intolerance after another - dominate the information superhighway, I am relieved grateful for news of respect, inclusion and invitation.

Seriously, the pro-life and pro-terrorist crowings that have come since the terrorist murder of Dr. Tiller combined with the fundamentalist hate-mongers vilifying gays for wanting to get married really wore me down this week.  My expectations of where any religion conversation would go, were at an all time low.  A friend of mine tried to strike up a conversation about religion earlier today.  All I could tell him was that if he mentioned the word Jesus, I was leaving him with the bill for lunch.

Then, my bride sends me this story: Why Straight People Go to Gay Synagogues - and what we can learn from them.

It's a wonderful piece on how people actually want and will actively seek out - a society that accepts people who define their own sex, gender, body - in their own terms.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Tetanus's picture

Gay and Christian

My partner is a transman. He was born with a female body, but a male mind. He is now in the process of realizing that male body that he should have been born with.

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