Interview and articles from Riffat Hassan, the progressive theologian and academic specialized in Islamic sciences. Riffat Hassan defends a more humane, democratic and feminist interpretation of Islam in general and of the Quran and other sacred texts in particular (in French).

The Muslim world in context

Internationally, it has become quite fashionable to speak of living in a global village. The expression is usually intended to positively express the linkages now established throughout the world, the similarities of issues confronting the different people who inhabit it and our ability, therefore, to connect with one another.
While the increasing internationalization of feminism provides new prospects for women’s solidarity throughout the world, theoretical perspectives such as identity politics, cultural relativism and postmodernism emphasize the uniqueness, particularism, and localism of each and every feminist movement.
Abstract

Using the often scarce space available to them in very different political circumstances, women’s strategies in defence of their human rights range from entryism to internationalism.

While fundamentalists read all women’s strategies as equally significant of betrayal of their identity, liberals outside Muslim countries and communities - and increasingly inside too - select the entryist strategy as the only legitimate one insofar as it matches our “nature”.

While the women’s movement remains united in standing for the need to use
There are few beliefs more entrenched in the modern liberal imagination than that of the virtues of pluralism and a multicultural society. The degree to which Sarajevo has assumed symbolic significance expresses the measure of attachment to the principles of a multicultural, multiethnic community. Just as in the thirties the struggle for Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War became symbolic of the defence of democracy against fascism, so the siege of Sarajevo has assumed a mythic status as a struggle between pluralism and barbarism.
Two Feminisms[1]

In recent years, some post-modern feminists have warned us about the perils of generalizations in feminist theory that transcend the boundaries of culture and region, while feminist critics of postmodernism have argued conversely that abandoning cross-cultural and comparative theoretical perspectives may lead to relativism and eventual political paralysis.[2]As I will argue in this article, t
“That was an army of Black men standing in front of me...They loved the message and they loved the Messenger,”
Minister Louis Farrakhan on the Million Man March
(Arizona Republic, 1996: 6)

“No march, movement or agenda that defines manhood in the narrowest terms and seeks to make women lesser partners...can be considered a positive step,”
Angela Davis on the Million Man March
(Pooley, E “To The Beat of His Drum” Time, Vol 143, No.
There are few women interpreters in the history of Islam because women are seen to be the subject of the Islamic shari’a and not its legislators. Yet even the few interpreters who have appeared during the long history of Islam have been kept at the periphery, their views never allowed to influence Islamic legislation. Moreover, even men interpreters who were open-minded about women were marginalized and, in some cases, found their authority questioned.
Given the rising tide of Islamisation in Muslim countries and its call for wider recognition of Shari'a as the primary legal basis of Muslim nations, concerns about Shari'a's conflict with human rights standards must be addressed.
Editors note:The work of Prof. Nasr Abu-Zeid has been subject of concerted attack by fundamentalist groups in Egypt. He is currently in exile following charges of apostasy brought against him and the ruling of the Apex court in Egypt ordering his divorce from his wife Dr. Ithal Younis.

The following extracts from the book "Women in the Discourse of Crisis" by Prof. Nasr Abu-Zeid have been translated from Arabic by Marlene Tadros.

The discourse over women in the Arab world is generally discriminatory.
لَقِّم المحتوى