December 29, 2005

"We must recover the religious texts and free them from an exclusively male interpretation..."

Muslim women in Europe turn to education, specifically in Islamic studies, where they are learning to make effective arguments against the oppression of women:
"This is a big shift," said Amel Boubekeur, a social scientist at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, who is writing her doctoral thesis on Europe's "new Islamic elites." "Instead of having to be passive, women now become teachers," she said. "It used to be taboo for women to recite the Koran." But now, she added, "It offers them a new prestige, new jobs and, not least, it gives them a stronger voice in dealing with their parents, brothers and husbands." In fact, Ms. Boubekeur said, women found religious texts more effective than secular arguments....

As educated Muslim women assert themselves, they appear to be forging a strand of Euro-Islam, a hybrid that attempts to reconcile the principles laid out in the Koran with life in a secular, democratic Europe.

"I tell women, 'We can honor the Koran from our perspective and apply it to our experience today,' " said Dounia Bouzar, an anthropologist who is both Algerian and French. "We must recover the religious texts and free them from an exclusively male interpretation that belongs to the Middle Ages. Most important right now is that women get into the universities."

12 comments:

Goesh said...

- we'll see some major progress in the next 500 years, I have no doubt of that. It's a darn shame their message didn't reach that Pakistani father who just killed his three daughters via slitting their throats to save the family honor. The messages of liberation just aren't getting out to the villages that don't have electricity!

brylin said...

Radio Netherlands:

"Halfway into the Egyptian parliamentary elections, and the officially banned Muslim Brotherhood Group (al-Ikhwan al-muslimoon) is making startling progress, securing 47 seats, compared to only 17 in the entire outgoing parliament."

SteveR said...

Euro-Islam brought to you by the same people that gave you Euro-Christianity.

Sean said...

This seems like one of those made-up feel-good stories that the Times loves. Is there any evidence that the women the Times finds to talk to and write about is representative? Or has any widespread influence? You can always find someone to exemplify anything, which is why social scientists (or people with practical business or political needs) rely on statistics, not going around doing interviews. The Times is perpetually finding people who are leaving the Southern Baptist Church, or abandoning the Republican party, or whatever, as if those people were representative, and yet the Southern Baptist Church and the Republican Party are not diminished.

brylin said...

From today's Arab News:
"One of the bad habits that our [Saudi] students take with them when they go abroad is the culture of sexual harassment. They cannot take this culture to America. American woman can easily report sexual harassment to authorities. Saudis that engage in sexual harassment can end up arrested, charged, jailed, and deported. In this system that often sides with the woman in sexual harassment cases, what do you think happens when the accused is an Arab?"

brylin said...

And from today's news in Malaysia:

"Last week, the Senate (Malaysia's Upper House) approved controversial amendments to the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Bill 2005.

Under the new Section 107A of the law, a husband is allowed to obtain an injunction preventing the disposition of property by a wife or a former wife.

The amendment also endorses man's right to polygamy without having to prove he is financially capable of treating his wives on equal footing before taking on another.

Upon taking a new wife, men can now seize property belonging to existing wives, and they are also given new rights to claim assets after a divorce, as well as less obligation to pay compensation and maintenance."

37383938393839383938383 said...

Exclusive male interpretation. Hmm. Weren't all the prophets male? I guess the Word of God has been corrupted by male interpretation then. Those prophets weren't really prophets, just men who couldn't understand what God was saying to them. What God was really saying was, "When are you going to fix the garage and take out the garbage?" But those darned men thought God was saying, "Oppress women." How stupid. Everyone knows God is really Goddess, and besides, Goddess made Womyn in Her image, which is why Women give birth, just like Our Creatrix did. What stupid men.

EddieP said...

Women will be the salvation of Islam. Eventually they'll insist on their human rights and being treated as equals. There are many small steps currently being taken, and it won't come soon enough and I don't mean the feminist emascualtion of men we've seen in the states. But the change is inexorable, and Islam and the world will be better for it.

John Thacker said...

"Halfway into the Egyptian parliamentary elections, and the officially banned Muslim Brotherhood Group (al-Ikhwan al-muslimoon) is making startling progress, securing 47 seats, compared to only 17 in the entire outgoing parliament."

brylin, I do hope you realize that that's really only because the NDP of Mubarak cheated less. (And that mostly because of US pressure.)

chuck b. said...

"An interesting article comes from the Christian Science Monitor's Peter Ford, who notes that more Western Euro converts to Islam are female than male..." Link.

PatCA said...

I would agree with the article. Prior to 9/11, a teacher pal experienced several instances of culture clash, like the student who was surprised by having to turn in papers and finally did but always late,as it was being photocopied (written) by his bodyguard; the one who informed her his servant would take his Spanish exam because he spoke Spanish better--she nixed that one and he backed down; or the student who threatened two profs that "someone is going to die if I don't pass" and was ultimately expelled. They simply had no idea these things were frowned upon here.

knoxgirl said...

Critical Observer:

I can understand sarcastic comments being directed at the type of feminists who want "women" spelled "womyn". But that really has nothing to do with the brutally mysogynistic--and if I could think of a less politically-charged word, I would use it--treatment of women under Islam as it has been interpreted so far. Surely you've heard of honor killings and clitorectimies.

If you want to dismiss whiny American feminism that's one thing. But making light of this stuff...? What's your point?