CHRLA is greatly alarmed by
the Cairo Court of Appeals ruling of June 14, 1995, which ordered the divorce of
Nasr Hamed Abu-Zeid (the Cairo University professor) from his wife, Dr. Ibthal
Younis, on the grounds that he was an apostate because of the opinions contained
in his published research.
The argumentation of the
ruling raises problems related to freedom of thought, religious interpretation
and belief, and the privacy of family relationships.
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.
Why are women circumcised? These operations are medically unnecessary, agonisingly painful and extremely
dangerous. Some girls die from shock and loss of blood. Others develop
psychiatric problems from the trauma. Many have chronic infections lasting a
lifetime and there are numerous troubles with childbirth, intercourse and
Most of the estimated 70 million circumcised women and girls live in certain parts of
Africa and the Middle East. There the practice thrives for a variety of social
The titles listed below can be ordered directly from the Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum. Write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org for
Can We Women Head a Muslim State?
Translated into Tamil by M. Nuhman In her own words, in this slim volume Mernissi attempts to provide the young and uninformed reader with the basic facts about the ‘yes and No' debate on a woman's right to lead a Muslim
A booklet which aims to break the cycle of impunity in cases of honour killings by clarifying common misconceptions about the law and by providing information on some basic aspects of the law and the operation of the legal machinery in Pakistan as it relates to murder.
A Roundtable on Strategies to Address ‘Honour Crimes’ was held in London from 12-13 November 1999. It was jointly organised by the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL) at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University and by INTERIGHTS, the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, under the auspices of the CIMEL/INTERIGHTS ‘Honour Crimes’ Project.
The author is indebted to the American Association of University Women Education Foundation for an International fellowship enabling her to undertake this research and to Dr. Marlyn Tadros for her kind assistance in translating works relied upon in this paper.