1. Introduction:

An attempt is made in this paper to trace the development of ethnic consciousness and religious fundamentalism among Sri Lankan Muslims and the bearings of this development on Sri Lankan Muslim women.*

At the outset, I should clarify the use of the terms ethnic consciousness and fundamentalism. Both these terms are very popular and controversial in the current socio-political discourse. There are a number of definitions and disagreements about them.

Dominating the courtyard of the homestead of Abdul Hossain is a large and ostentatious shrine. Decorated with Arabic designs and words, and surrounded by flags, the shrine (mazaar) is similar to hundreds of similarly venerated graves scattered over the landscape of rural Sylhet, in north-east Bangladesh. It proclaims for all to see that the late Abdul Hossain is a pir.
We have to take stock of various developments which took place in India in last fifty years of our independence. It is also important to take stock of developments among Muslims in this period, especially with reference to reform movements in Indian Islam.

India opted to be a secular country and this decision had several repercussions. Right at the stage of constitution making there were debates about uniform civil code. There were heated discussions. Muslim members opposed adoption of uniform civil code. Ultimately a compromised was accepted.

Bihar is among the most socially and economically backward states in India. Social inequality in Bihar is amply visible. In order to illustrate the socio-economic context within which underprivileged groups (including Muslim communities) exist in Bihar, it is necessary to highlight a few statistics from the state. While there does not exist a direct causal relationship between customary practice and socio-economic conditions, both are also not mutually exclusive.
I don't know if my grandmother is dead or alive. I can't remember the last time I saw her. It must have been at least ten years ago when I was in Pakistan for an extended visit. She was my only living grandparent and her health was beginning to fail her. Every once in a while, I think she's probably dead and no one bothered to tell me.

I'm completely out of touch with my Pakistani life.
In 1979 the Islamic regime of Pakistan introduced changes in the law of rape, providing Islamic standards of proof and punishment for this crime. The law concerning rape was made part of the ordinance, called The Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, VII of 1979 (the term zina encompasses adultery, fornication, rape and prostitution).
Editor’s note: This famous short story by the late Ismat Chugtai (1915-1991) was written in 1941 and banned by the then State Government on charges of obscenity. Ismat Chugtai challenged this decision and won her law suit.

At the beginning of the women’s emancipation struggle among the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent access to education and the campaign against Purdah were the main points. The late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries were characterized by considerable debate on these issues in the Muslim community, throughout India. The reform effort by men on behalf of women was sparked by the considerable progress made by other communities in India and was inspired by changes taking place in Muslim countries of the Middle East.
We seek to have a large international response to stress to the Secretary- General the outrage that women feel. We also want to show our solidarity with our sisters in Afghanistan, who have been asking what we in the international community are doing to assist them. Therefore, it is important to have NGOs from as many countries as possible sign-on to this letter.
Farida Rahman MP’s Private Member’s Bill on a proposed amendment to section V1 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 has become a much-talked-about subject because of its unconventional and contentious nature. Particularly, various women’s activist groups have shown tremendous interest in it. The subject of the bill raises the whole issue of women’s rights of general interests.
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