The Dossier is dedicated to a question which comes up again and again in the discussions about women in the Muslim world: the centrality of religion as an analytical concept. Most articles included in this issue discuss, under one form or another the right to define oneself as secular vs a "natural" religious identity, and all the potential epistemological bias in the analysis of a specific situation that could follow the lack of conceptual clarity in these matters.
History is replete with examples of use of religion for social-political mobilization and for community control. The backdrop for this Dossier reflects processes leading sociological Muslims to becoming institutionalised subjects of organised Islamic nation states, communities and families.
This issue of the Dossiers focuses on two main areas: the role of culture in the making of religious identities; and progressive interpretations within Islam. The issue of culture viz religion and identity is crucial to us; one of the aims of WLUML is to facilitate debate towards disentangling cultural identity from religious and political identities.
Interview and articles from Riffat Hassan, the progressive theologian and academic specialized in Islamic sciences. Riffat Hassan defends a more humane, democratic and feminist interpretation of Islam in general and of the Quran and other sacred texts in particular (in French).
Based on the sharing that took place at the 1999 WLUML Outreach Strategies Exchange Programme meeting, this tool documents some of the network’s experiences of outreach and identifies the basic principles that underlie outreach activities – no matter how diverse the actual activities have been across the Network With the aim of inspiring experimentation and dialogue among groups conducting outreach activities, it shared strategies at both general and specific illustrative levels.
Revealed narratives and legislation are then pursued through their
medieval, modern, and contemporary interpretations. The theological exegetic
sources here chosen, all Sunni, include the major classical works as well as,
for the modern period, examples of modernist, traditionalist, and
fundamentalist exegesis. For Hadith
materials beyond the theological tafsir, Stowasser analyzes both popular
narratives of the "tales of the prophets" genre and representative samples of
the classical historical and legal hadith.
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
While the increasing
internationalization of feminism provides new prospects for women’s solidarity
throughout the world, theoretical perspectives such as identity politics,
cultural relativism and postmodernism emphasize the uniqueness, particularism,
and localism of each and every feminist movement.