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Must Read

  1. Islamisation of Knowledge: Problems, Principles and Prospective click
  2. Islamic Thought in the Modern World click
  3. An Approach to Knowledge and Human Limitations click
  4. The Balance Sheet of Western Philosophy in this Century click
  5. Man between Two Laws: A Qur’anic Perspective in Understanding Self and Understanding the Other click


Gender Studies
Feminism as Islamophobia: A review of misogyny charges against Islam PDF Print E-mail
Md. Mahmudul Hasan

One important feature of Islamophobia is to caricaturize Islam as misogynistic and oppressive to women and thus to advance imperialist hegemony. This “gendered Islamophobia” stigmatizes the religion even though, compared to other world religions, its treatment of women is arguably preferable and more enlightened. Historically, one treasonous use of feminism has been to misappropriate it in order to serve colonial interests and support imperialist wars of occupation that repress subjugated people including women and children. This article argues that ignorance about, and prejudice against, Islam contribute to portraying it as a misogynistic creed. Wrong notions of Islam lead many feminists in Muslim societies to denigrate Islamic teachings and borrow Western ideas to advance women’s causes. Lampooning Islam and replicating Western feminist ideas in Muslim lands have served neither women nor feminism. Such feminist tendencies rather give a bad name to the women’s rights movement and fuel controversy, anger and resentment among Muslims...full text in PDF

Between Warrior Brother and Veiled Sister: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Politics of Patriarchy in Iran PDF Print E-mail

Minoo Moallem, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005. 267 pages.

This book examines the construction of gender and patriarchy in Iran during the onset of modernity, the Islamic revolution of 1979, and the post-revolution era. Among the many works published by prominent scholars of Islam and Iranian women’s studies, Minoo Moallem’s investigation of the construction of gender by neo-colonial modernity and political movements of a nationalist or fundamentalist orientation deserves special attention.

Gender, Modernity, and Liberty – Middle Eastern and Western Women’sWritings: A Critical Sourcebook PDF Print E-mail

Reina Lewis and Nancy Micklewright, eds., New York: I.B. Tauris, 2006. 259 pages.

This book presents a dialogue between western and Middle Eastern women that is often presumed never to have happened. It supplies us with a collection of extracts from Ottoman,  Egyptian, British, and American writers, each accompanied with a biography and literary introduction of its writer. The book covers 100 years, beginning with 1837, and focuses on writings by women from Istanbul and Cairo, key locations for the flowering of Middle Eastern feminism. As mentioned in the “Introduction,” the articulation of women’s views was particularly advanced in these two cities.

Written for the West: Reading Three Iranian Women’s Memoirs PDF Print E-mail

The burgeoning cannon of memoirs and fiction written by or about Iranian women has saturated the literary scene of post-9/11America. We have seen literary works translated or mostly written by exiles that entice the curious western reader with Orientalist tales ofMuslim women as veiled, unveiling, powerless victims, or brave escapees of an inherently oppressive patriarchy. The titles and contents of many of these works show that appealing to a specific political climate and power structure is a key factor behind their production, dissemination, and consumption. Therefore, despite this literary boom, it is not certain whether these books add anything to our knowledge of Muslims or if, in fact, they actually obfuscate it.

Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space PDF Print E-mail

John R. Bowen, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. 290 pages.

Western anthropologists are typically concerned with interpreting the non-western world’s unfamiliar cultures for western audiences. The French law banning the hijab from public schools presents itself as just as baffling as any non-western custom. Thus, it is fully understandable that it would take an American anthropologist to interpret this event, especially for those in Anglo-Saxon cultures, where in spite of Islamophobia and discrimination against the hijab, concepts of religious tolerance and multiculturalism have generally translated into legal protections for women  and girls who wish to wear it in public spaces. So with a catchy title designed to appeal to this widespread bafflement, the author seeks to explain the intellectual underpinnings and political processes that led to this banning of “ostentatious” religious symbols in public schools on March 15, 2004.

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