The increased labeling of diverse immigrant communities of Muslim background in Europe as having a common culture since they share a common religion is appearing as a dominant trend. Religion is becoming equated with “culture”.
The Dossiers explore and synthesize a broad range of feelings, interpretations and strategies of women on issues of feminism, nationalism, internationalism, and religion. Our dossiers had announced the first two Asian lesbian conferences; we are now beginning to recieve articles about the situation of lesbians in Muslim countries and communities which we will be publishing in the future issues.
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.
Highlighting the debate on women's human rights in Muslim countries and communities, this dossier presents the testimony on violations of women in Algeria which opened the Women's International Tribunal at the NGO forum-Beijing Conference on women; it is followed by a testimony on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) amongst the Bohra Muslims in India. Both contributions show that certain local practices are being extended to other geographical areas.
The anthology bears witness to the anti-war attitudes and activities of women from the Yugoslav geographical space. It is a record of their emotional conflicts and pain, yet, at the same time, a testimonial of their strength and vitality. It treasures every individual story and every emotion. In this respect is follows Simone Weil’s dictum from the year 1943: “In momentous historical events, personal emotions have a significance which has never received proper attention.”
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.
The paper thus outlines the social and political conditions that have
led not only to the development of secular feminist perspectives in Iran, but to
the emergence of woman-centred Islamists and their strategies which aim, thus
far with considerable success, to fundamentally challenge conventional gender
visions often presented as "Islamic." This analysis of the gender debates in
Iran, and by extension elsewhere in the Muslim world, reiterates that Islam,
particularly as a political ideology, is far from static and unchanging; it is a
dynamic and evolving ideological force that
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.
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).