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.
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.
The implementation of the Shari’a
and the institutionalization of gender inequality in the aftermath of the
revolution led to the disillusionment of the gender-sensitive Islamist women and
triggered their discontent. Through their involvement in politics they attempted
to present a different reading of Islam and Islamic laws which would be more
attentive to the condition of women.
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
Few developments in the post-Cold
War era have captured public attention, stirred primal fears, stoked the fires
of racism, and stymied critical thinking quite so thoroughly as the rise of
fundamentalism. Although it is a force to be reckoned with in virtually every
area of public endeavour, the rise of fundamentalism presents a very specific,
and somewhat unique, challenge to the emerging field of reproductive health and
Islamisms, or diverse
representations of political Islam, have become very difficult to ignore and
even more difficult to categorize and explain satisfactorily. This is
particularly the case when addressing a western audience, which is unfamiliar
not only with the multifaceted aspects of Islam, but also with the crucial role
Islamic faith plays, in the everyday lives of Muslim people.
Willy Claes, the Secretary
General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), gave Western
misperceptions and misrepresentations of Islam and Islamisms a new twist.
Mansiya, a pseudonym that means
‘the forgotten’, is a university student aged 22. She was born in the north of
Israel and lives today in the center of the country. She writes about what it’s
like to be an Arab lesbian.
Many claim that there’s no
difference between a Jewish and an Arab lesbian, because for both it demands
courage and lots of openness. In my opinion, there’s a difference between the
two experiences because Israeli society is composed of a majority and a
Is it a lapse into impressionism to ‘lend great
importance to the weight of Islam’ in considering the roots of the oppression of
Arab women? Despite all the social transformations that have occurred in the
Arab world since the era of the caliphs, secularisation has yet to take hold in
nearly all the Arab countries. Legislation dealing with marriage, divorce, and
the status of women (inferior in all cases) is still based on, or directly
inspired by, Koranic law in all the Arabic-Islamic states. What role is played
by Islam, what is its influence, and how is it used?