Whatever we understand and enjoy in
human progress instantly becomes ours, wherever it might have its
Identity is a subject which
needs some reflection because I believe that certain things are taken for
granted in this subject which do not, by any means, survive the scrutiny. This
is not in any way to deny the importance of identity in our lives. It affects
our actions, governs the loyalties that we have, the tides that we respect. It
affects our reflections. It affects the way that we see ourselves.
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
Although all countries are unique,
Iran may have claim to more surprising political changes in the past century
than any other country existing continuously during that period. Among these
changes have been notable alterations in women’s roles and status. The birth of
urban mass politics during the constitutional revolution of 1906-11 saw women’s
first political activism, which continued after World War 1, though that
independence was eventually much diminished under the new Pahlavi dynasty of
Reza Shah (1921-41) (Afary, 1996; Bayat, 1978; Paidar, 1995; Sanasarian, 1982).
This essay draws on several talks and
conversations: Brandeis University, 17 March 1998; Harvard University, 19
November 1998; and American Association of Religion, 23 November 1999. 1 would
like to thank the organizers of each event for giving me the opportunity to
present these ideas, and other panel participants and the audience for critical
comments. Special thanks to Camron Amin, Janet Jakobsen, Irena Klepfisz, and Ann
Pellegrini for many thoughtful conversations.
In the Arab world, a woman must convince the court that she is 'harmed' by her husband to get a
The Current Status
The current status of
personal status laws in Arab countries have three distinct flaws: the absence of
a unified law, the absence of equality between men and women, and the absence of
equality between people of different religious denominations. We shall speak
briefly of each to explain.
• Excerpts from: New York
Times, November 28, 1999
Sufia Kamal, Bangladeshi
Writer and Women's Rights Advocate, Dies By Douglas
Sufia Kamal, a Bangladeshi poet, political activist and
feminist, died at age 88 on Nov. 20 1999 and was buried [...] with full state
honors, the first woman to receive that recognition from Bangladesh. [...]
[Thousands] of people paid their respects to Ms. Kamal at her funeral [...] in
Dhaka. [...] [Begum Kamal] ...
The objective of this paper
is to provide a historical overview of the processes of communal identity
formation in Sri Lanka with special reference to the Muslim community . Sri Lanka is a
multi-ethnic society in which Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others have
coexisted for centuries. However, in more recent times, ethnic relations on the
Island have been consistently strained by the rise of communalist politics which
have deepened ethnic and religious divides.
The violence of Islamism has roused
anxious concern throughout the world, especially the Muslim world. In the United
States, the media and policy makers wage a campaign to demonize Muslims and
Islam as a threat to Western interests and civilization itself. This politically
motivated propaganda has been aided by the Islamic resistance to Israel's
occupation of Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan, along with such incidents
as the plot to blow up New York's World Trade Center.
The question of Muslim personal law
has become not only a question of Muslim identity but also a question with
deeper political implications. The Muslim leadership doggedly resist any reform
in certain aspects of the law particularly pertaining to marriage and divorce
and the Hindu communal leadership would not accept anything short of complete
abolition of personal law pertaining to Muslims.