Feminism, Law, and Religion

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By extending the feminist slogan thus, they produce a discourse that assumes an endogenous viewpoint: in that it is simultaneously based on and professing their condition as Muslim women. In this respect, they challenge both the monopoly claimed by Muslim authorities and that of certain secular feminism that excludes them from feminist solidarity. Like self-fulfilling prophecies, both positions imprison both them and other members of their families and communities.

Legitimate though this criticism may be, it nevertheless fails to take account of the need for Islamic feminists to question religious laws.

St. John's Law School Center for Law and Religion

For even if they are lucky enough to live under political regimes that already recognize their equal rights, their personal milieu is, at the very least, likely to be impregnated with patriarchal religious culture. When this culture is legitimized and enforced by the laws of the state, avoiding it becomes impossible.

Religious identity is ethnicized. This form of segregation promotes certain trends in political Islam. Self-appointed community leaders claiming to be the spokespersons use it to unite their public by fixing them in an ethnic-religious category. Islamic feminists may be a manifestation of a metamorphosis combining movements of secularization and Islamization.

"The French Veil Ban: A Transnational Legal Feminist Approach" by Sital Kalantry

By waging their struggle against the patriarchy manifest in Islam and against the Islamophobia manifest in feminism, they are connecting the political and the religious in a way that de-sacralizes relations between genders and de-traditionalizes Islam. Over the decades, Islamic feminism has been a vehicle for different ways of conceiving of gender relations. It has made it possible for new religious practices and certain forms of judicial progress to appear.

By questioning their subordination, Islamic feminists are laying the foundations for an appropriation of rights aimed at the acquisition of autonomy for women on a religious level. One of the symbols around which this confrontation is repeatedly played out is the veil. This, despite the fact that the collective behind the webpage was actually calling for women who chose to wear a veil to be able to do so on the basis of their own, individual interpretation.

Feminism, Religion, and Shared Reasons: A Defense of Exclusive Public Reason

If one considers women who wear the veil to be representatives of Islam and Islamism, rather than as people caught up in gender relations, one reproduces an ethnic and religious category in order to justify their exclusion from feminist solidarity. If, on the other hand, one accepts the choice to wear the veil in the name of the right to and recognition of difference, we allow the creation of a hybrid form of discursive religious tradition and a democratic political framework.

It is above all socio-economic conditions and lack of social and cultural capital that influence the forms of engagement of Islamic feminist activists. Those who have been particularly affected by spatial and social rejection, and who have experienced a sense of otherness ever since school, are active on the socio-political scene as committed members of a religious and ethnic community. Others who are more mobile spatially and socially, express their views on academic and religious platforms, expressing themselves as fully-fledged individuals both within and beyond their religious affiliation.

What Does It Mean To Be A Feminist In Islam?

French-speaking Belgian Muslim feminists make use of the religious repertoire both in order to reconstruct the ethnic bond Islam as a driver of community solidarity and to remove the bonds imposed by the ethnic and religious group Islam as a generational link, accompanied by sexist practices. Is not feminism, as a form of revolution, the bearer of a cross-cultural message, a message about recognition of an equal humanity?

A fight against everything that makes women invisible, against legitimization of violence towards women? By taking religious tradition seriously, Muslim feminists help enable it to evolve. Having discussed the contribution of Islamic feminism to feminist thought, let us turn to its postmodern and postcolonial limits. Although they use religious legitimacy as a tool, Mestiri argues, Islamic feminists are nevertheless involved in reproducing a form of coloniality that fixes people into ethno-racial categories, in this instance through religious adherence.

So what is Mestiri suggesting? But, as Mestiri points out, they lack an audience.

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The fact that they have become transnational from the last decade onwards is not necessarily a sign that they are increasingly listened to by ordinary believers, whether male or female. The frontier feminism that Mestiri advocates is interesting, inasmuch as it recognizes the contribution of Islamic feminism to a de-colonial approach. Mestiri proposes that we should not apply interpretations of societies whose political horizon is derived from a secular intellectual heritage to societies that originate from regions of the world that have experienced different political trajectories.

Mestiri takes seriously the need to attack the religious field, since it holds the keys to the domestic sphere. Generally speaking, Islamic feminists draw on different religious disciplines to promote the equality of men and women on the basis of Islamic authorities: hermeneutics tafsir , prophetic tradition hadith and Muslim jurisprudence and case law fiqh.

Some refer to non-religious sources, such as international conventions on human rights. For an account of the diversity of their bases, see Ali, Z. For an account of the theoretical foundations of the movement, based on the founding texts, see Hamidi, M. The book will be essential reading for legal and religious academics and students working in the area of gender and law or law and religion. Toon meer Toon minder. Recensie s 'This valuable book offers powerful new insights into the troubled relations between religion and feminism.

The contributors go beyond facile dichotomies to show the paradoxes and complexities of the human condition.

Stanford Libraries

Cutting across different religions, the book offers a salutary understanding of how women experience - and often resolve - the tension between faith and feminism. We are on the threshold of a new phase in the politics of religion and gender, both globally and locally.


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