International

The Muslim world in context

Internationally, it has become quite fashionable to speak of living in a global village. The expression is usually intended to positively express the linkages now established throughout the world, the similarities of issues confronting the different people who inhabit it and our ability, therefore, to connect with one another.
There are few beliefs more entrenched in the modern liberal imagination than that of the virtues of pluralism and a multicultural society. The degree to which Sarajevo has assumed symbolic significance expresses the measure of attachment to the principles of a multicultural, multiethnic community. Just as in the thirties the struggle for Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War became symbolic of the defence of democracy against fascism, so the siege of Sarajevo has assumed a mythic status as a struggle between pluralism and barbarism.
Two Feminisms[1]

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.[2]As I will argue in this article, t
“That was an army of Black men standing in front of me...They loved the message and they loved the Messenger,”
Minister Louis Farrakhan on the Million Man March
(Arizona Republic, 1996: 6)

“No march, movement or agenda that defines manhood in the narrowest terms and seeks to make women lesser partners...can be considered a positive step,”
Angela Davis on the Million Man March
(Pooley, E “To The Beat of His Drum” Time, Vol 143, No.
There are few women interpreters in the history of Islam because women are seen to be the subject of the Islamic shari’a and not its legislators. Yet even the few interpreters who have appeared during the long history of Islam have been kept at the periphery, their views never allowed to influence Islamic legislation. Moreover, even men interpreters who were open-minded about women were marginalized and, in some cases, found their authority questioned.
Editors note:The work of Prof. Nasr Abu-Zeid has been subject of concerted attack by fundamentalist groups in Egypt. He is currently in exile following charges of apostasy brought against him and the ruling of the Apex court in Egypt ordering his divorce from his wife Dr. Ithal Younis.

The following extracts from the book "Women in the Discourse of Crisis" by Prof. Nasr Abu-Zeid have been translated from Arabic by Marlene Tadros.

The discourse over women in the Arab world is generally discriminatory.
Once upon a time there was a people called North which was white and rich, and a people named South which was non-white and poor. The people North exploited, attacked and killed the people South according to their needs.
Given the rising tide of Islamisation in Muslim countries and its call for wider recognition of Shari'a as the primary legal basis of Muslim nations, concerns about Shari'a's conflict with human rights standards must be addressed.
I have been asking questions such as “What is the Islamic view of women?” and “What does it mean to be a Muslim woman?” for a long time. I was born female to a Muslim family living in Lahore, a Muslim city in a Muslim country, Pakistan. Not until 1974, however, did I begin my serious study of women’s issues in Islam and — I am still shocked to reflect — this happened almost by accident.

I was, at that time, faculty adviser to the Muslim Students’ Association chapter at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
History reveals that sexual oppression of women, in one form or another, exists in every society in the world. Nevertheless, it has been achieved by different methods, economically, intellectually, physically and psychologically. The control of women’s bodies, or in other words physical mutilation, was raised with the rise of patriarchy.

With the rise of patriarchy, many customs and traditions were developed. Of these customs and traditions, many have disappeared or were gradually abandoned, while some remain.
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