Women, Islamisms and the State: Contemporary Feminisms in by Azza M. Karam

By Azza M. Karam

The ebook offers theoretical perception and research of the facility family among women's activism, Islamist inspiration and praxis, and the Egyptian country (1970s to 1990s). modern feminist debates between women's NGOs are tested, and the several perceptions of gender roles between Islamist women and men are provided and contrasted. 3 feminist streams are pointed out as either shaping and being formed by way of, the dynamics of interplay among political Islam and country regimes.

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That is, both sets of feminists are extensively studying, analysing and referring to traditional Islamic texts, in order to validate and justify their arguments. However, what distinguishes Muslim feminists from their Islamist counterparts is the former's willingness to contextualize religious (and particularly Quranic) injunctions, in order to allow for the possibilities of textual reinterpretation. This renders their socio-political positioning highly problematic: to refer to traditional authoritative religious texts is permissible and encouraged, but to attempt to reread the meanings is not.

In short, there are no unveiled Islamist women. More to the point, however, the veil is seen as a means by which to bridge the gap between the otherwise separate male and female domains. The veil becomes, therefore, not only a symbol of their identity, but a holy, sanctioned and acceptable means by which to broaden and further their political, social and cultural space. Both Islamist and Muslim feminists argue for a form of ijtihad,t' and many Islamist feminists agree with Muslim feminists, that women are indeed capable of taking on tasks involving the interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence and providing social and political leadership (previously thought to be the exclusive domain of men).

Our differing perceptions and those of our families - all of us believing ourselves to be 'good Muslims' - nevertheless translated into widely different power dynamics and reactions, not only within the family but without. Each one of us, despite our strong and deep bonds of friendship, has moved in totally different directions. Zaina at first chose to leave 36 Women, Islamisms and the State her job and not seek another one upon marriage. This despite the fact that her physician husband - who was also her choice par excellence was extremely supportive of the idea of her working.

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