Following the publication of articles on progressive interpretations of Islam in our previous issues, we chose to highlight efforts by women historians to trace and recover women's history at the advent of Islam. For the first time we have included pieces on Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, where women actively struggle for their rights, and a paper on migrants in the UK where the Rushdie affair was a strong indicator of an extremist religious right.
This discussion started in Dossier No. 4 and we hope you will feed into it with your contributions, keeping in mind that we need to cross examine these questions in different parts of the Muslim world.
By reproducing some of the ‘Alerts for Action’ which we sent out during the past months, we also bring to your attention some of the problems that women in the migrant communities face and the need for solidarity from and with women’s groups in Muslim contexts.
In the last several months we have been attempting to put most of our documentation and the materials for Dossiers on a computerized documentation system. In the coming future we will make available bibliographical indexes from our documentation, allowing people to send us requests on what they may need. It is hoped that in future copies of the dossier may be available directly on floppy disks or diskettes (more on that later). Please help us by sending us good copies of documents, reports, bulletins from your organisations etc. We need your support to develop our documentation.
It is often presumed that there exists one homogenous Muslim world. Interaction and discussions between women from different Muslim societies have shown us that while similarities exist, the notion of a uniform Muslim world is a misconception imposed upon us. We have erroneously been led to believe that the only way of "being" is the one we currently live in each of our contexts. Depriving us of even dreaming of a different reality is one of the most debilitating forms of oppression we suffer.
The Dossier 2 attempts to provide specific information on one region in keeping with our intentions of preparing and compiling information about lives and struggles of women living in Muslim contexts. The first part is on Pakistan, the second and major one on India.
This Dossier 1 is our first compilation of papers, reports, appeals and other material on and around lives and struggles of women living under muslim laws. The Dossier is intended to be a sort of an information-pack helping facilitate the exchange of informtion amongst women and women's groups.