[law] feminist interpretations of religious texts

The ASEAN Progressive Muslim Movement (APMM), a network of twenty one (21) non-governmental organizations working for the protection and promotion of women’s rights in the ASEAN region, jointly with Women Living Under Muslim Laws and the Global Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women in the name of "Culture" (Violence is not our Culture Campaign), view the recent formation of The Obedient Wives’ Club (OWC) in Malaysia as disturbing and offensive. The Syarie Lawyers Association (PGSM) in Malaysia has attacked the Club for encouraging women to fulfill their husbands' needs by being "good prostitutes". See attached APMM's statement of concern.

This report is based on a Musawah research project on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (‘CEDAW’ or ‘the Convention’) that examined States parties’ justifications for their failure to implement CEDAW with regard to family laws and practices that discriminate against Muslim women. 

In Indonesia, Islamic NGOs have become the backbone of the country's tolerant civil society. While Islamic women's organisations are demonstrating how the Sharia can be used effectively to combat misogynist policies, Islamist parties are losing ground in elections. Alfred Stepan and Jeremy Menchik report

This is an exclusive excerpt from the paper Ziba Mir-Hosseini gave at the October 2010 Islamic Feminism Conference in Madrid: "As the term ‘Islamic feminism’ gained currency in the late 1990s, most of those so labelled by academics and journalists rejected either the ‘Islamic’ or the ‘feminist’ part of the term. If they came from a religious background and addressed women’s rights within an Islamic frame of reference, they wanted to avoid any kind of association with the term ‘feminism’, and their gender activism was a mixture of conformity and defiance. If they came from a secular background and addressed women’s rights from within broader feminist discourses, they rejected being called ‘Islamic’—even though many of them located their feminism in Islam. Those associated with political Islam took contradictory positions and made confusing statements with respect to gender equality; for them, the wider project of gaining power and establishing an Islamic state took priority over equality and democracy. 

Queer Muslims face a multitude of challenges, of which one is rejection. This is anchored by the belief that homosexuality is a major sin in Islam and punishable by death under Shariah law. The Inner Circle has documented through engaging with the local Muslim community of Cape Town that most people who react harshly towards queer Muslims do so from a position of fear and ignorance of the challenges facing queer Muslims.

The Protection Project at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, in cooperation with the Alexandria University Faculty of Law in Alexandria, Egypt, will be hosting a conference on “Women’s Rights in Egypt and Arab States,” which will take place December 1 – 2, 2010 at the Helnan Palestine Hotel in Alexandria, Egypt. The conference will bring together professors of law, religion and social sciences and representatives from NGOs and other elements of civil society to discuss a broad array of topics related to the rights of women in the Arab world, including Islamic law, personal status and family laws, and labor and political rights, among others.

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the National Commission on Violence Against Women and Children are hopeful their newly launched book will change the views of the Indonesian Muslim community surrounding women and their rights. Breaking the Silence: Religion listens to the voice of women victims of violence for the sake of justice, launced on June 30, is intended to serve as a reference for clerics, Islamic women's organizations and the government, in promoting progressi

Catalan Islamic Board and the Union of Muslim Women of Spain announce the Fourth International Congress on Islamic Feminism, Madrid, 22-24 October 2010. The event has become a global benchmark of the movement of Muslim women in pursuit of their rights. Among the participants will be Zahira Kamal, former Minister of Women Affairs in Palestine, Ziba Mir Hosseini (Iran), Omaima Abou Bakr (Egypt), Asghar Ali Engineer (India), and other leading activists and intellectuals working for the rights of Muslim women, for a total of eighteen speakers at the highest level.

The first issue of Contestations, an online peer-review journal dedicated to creating a forum for discussion and debate about women's empowerment and gender justice, has just been released. The first issue contains an article by Hania Sholkamy about Islam and Feminism, as well as responses to Hania's article from Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Islah Jad, Heba Raouf, Mulki el-Sharmani and Mariz Tadros.

Director of the New Delhi-based Centre for Peace and Spirituality, editor of the monthly Al-Risala journal and author of almost two hundred books, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is one of India’s best known Islamic scholars. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand, he talks about issues related to Islam and women.