WLUML Launches Bumper-Size Dossier on Sexualities in Muslim Contexts
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) today announced the publishing of its latest Dossier, Dossier 32-33: Sexualities, Culture and Society in Muslim Contexts, available in paperback hard copy and in a free online version. Extended in size due to a wealth of contributions, the Dossier is the result of collaboration by 17 authors, all leaders in women’s activism and research in Muslim contexts. It presents case studies from 11 settings: Senegal, Sudan, the East African Coast, Zanzibar, Georgia, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Jordan, Turkey and the USA. Comprised of in-depth studies and shorter factual reports, the Dossier explores how women and certain men navigate expectations and restrictions relating to sexuality and reproductive rights in their specific contexts.
The Dossier comes at an important moment, as activists from Muslim contexts are witnessing troubling trends relating to the policing of sexuality, and the threatening of previous gains in sexual and reproductive rights. Across the WLUML network and beyond, activists are seeing pushes to reverse existing progressive policies and legislations, as well as widespread targeting of individuals, or entire groups. At the same time, women remain at the forefront of resisting such developments – they are debunking oppressive ideologies, documenting violations, and critiquing government policies, whilst daring to imagine and propose progressive alternatives.
This Dossier offers an insight into the huge variety of sexuality-related issues activists are engaging with. Among other themes, the authors look at the need to tackle cultural factors in HIV/AIDS prevention; the phenomenon of ‘bride kidnapping’; the link between female political leadership and dress codes; and women’s perceptions of abortion. The diversity of content is matched by diversity in style which ranges from legal and political approaches, to the highly personal closing contribution ‘Letter to Mama’ in which the Palestinian author recounts her experience of family stigma and violence after early marriage and divorce.
Anissa Hélie, Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York and guest editor of Dossier 32-33, has said: "The Dossier highlights the many ways in which culture, religion, customs and sexual conduct intersect and demonstrates that sexuality, far from being static, is the object of constant contestation and negotiations."
Speaking of the contributing authors, Hélie stated, "In their contribution to this Dossier, all the authors are themselves involved in unpacking, critiquing , redefining or enriching mainstream understanding of the sexual culture that prevails in their context"
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