“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.
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.
Once upon a time there was a people called North which was white and rich, and a people named South which was non-white and poor. The people North exploited, attacked and killed the people South according to their needs.
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.
Most commentary on the condition of women in the Middle East assigns a central place to the role of Islam. In fact, there have been important variations, as well as persistent similarities, in women’s conditions in Muslim societies. To make sense of the varieties of women’s real, concrete historical experience, we must avoid confusing analytic and polemical goals.

Current writing on women in the Middle East exhibits two equally vigorous, but so far divergent trends.
History reveals that sexual oppression of women, in one form or another, exists in every society in the world. Nevertheless, it has been achieved by different methods, economically, intellectually, physically and psychologically. The control of women’s bodies, or in other words physical mutilation, was raised with the rise of patriarchy.

With the rise of patriarchy, many customs and traditions were developed. Of these customs and traditions, many have disappeared or were gradually abandoned, while some remain.
I have been asking questions such as “What is the Islamic view of women?” and “What does it mean to be a Muslim woman?” for a long time. I was born female to a Muslim family living in Lahore, a Muslim city in a Muslim country, Pakistan. Not until 1974, however, did I begin my serious study of women’s issues in Islam and — I am still shocked to reflect — this happened almost by accident.

I was, at that time, faculty adviser to the Muslim Students’ Association chapter at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

A Roundtable on Strategies to Address ‘Honour Crimes’ was held in London from 12-13 November 1999. It was jointly organised by the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL) at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University and by INTERIGHTS, the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, under the auspices of the CIMEL/INTERIGHTS ‘Honour Crimes’ Project.

The Call to Accountability Campaign is an international campaign supported by over 300 international religious, women's rights and human rights groups whose goal is to raise public awareness about sexual violence against women in the Catholic church and hold accountable the individual and institutional leadership involved or complicit in this problem.
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