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).
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.
often scarce space available to them in very different political circumstances,
women’s strategies in defence of their human rights range from entryism to
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”.
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.
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.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:
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.
The following extracts from the book "Women in the
Discourse of Crisis" by Prof. Nasr Abu-Zeid have been translated from Arabic by
The discourse over women in
the Arab world is generally discriminatory.