Dossier Articles

The research project on Women, Religion and Social Change in Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka currently being undertaken by ICES provides a unique opportunity to explore the cross-cultural dimensions of continuing tradition and the process of change as these relate to women and in this the role of religion. A grey area of uncertainty, prejudice, and very little research, the role of religion in determining the possible for individual actors, particularly women, has rarely received the attention it deserves.
Only the blind overlook the worsening condition of women under the Islamic regime.
Freedom of Academic Research

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.
The legal status of the Muslim women (1) in Bangladesh is defined by the principles of Sharia through Muslim Personal Law along with the general law which is non-religious and secular in its character. The Muslim personal law covers the field of marriage, divorce, maintenance, guardianship of children and inheritance whereas the general law covers the rights under the Constitution, penal codes, the civil and criminal procedure codes, evidence act etc.
One of the crucial issues affecting women in South Asia today has been the growth of state sponsored religious fundamentalism. This is occurring in the context of increasing evidence of violence against women - dowry murders, sexual harassment, rape often by the police and army, and the throwing of acid on women in the streets. (1) As a result of campaigns and agitations by women's movements, these incidents have been highlighted and the governments have passed some preventive laws, albeit with many loopholes and limitations.
Riffat Hassan, a native of Pakistan, received her doctorate in Islamic Philosophy at Durham, England. Since 1976 she has been a professor in Religious Studies at University of Louisville, Kentucky. Currently, she is a visiting lecturer at the Divinity School Harvard University, where she is working on a forthcoming book entitled "Equal Before Allah". The following interview was recorded on April 16, 1986 and formed the basis for a November, 1987, Asian Communiqué radio program produced by Betty Milstead of the Center of Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin.
There are 15-20,000 political prisoners in Turkey. Student, worker and ecologist demonstrations are regularly broken up and demonstrators arrested and tortured. There is a state of emergency in five eastern provinces as the large Kurdish community continues to fight for its survival. Meanwhile, the regime makes the superficial move towards liberalism, which are necessary for its application to join the EEC to be accepted.

In the following interview Jill Bend from Off Our Backs (OOB) talks to three Turkish radical feminists.
The study of women in the Middle East, now well into its second decade, has produced an impressive corpus of papers and periodical articles. For purely practical reasons, this review focuses on writings in English, in a selective rather than all-inclusive manner. The analysis of women in the Middle East has not always been undertaken with reference to Islam, but a significant body of works, influenced partly by the Islamic resurgence, coincident with the rise of the study of women as a separate field, does have reference to Islam.
Throughout the world, and particularly in Third World countries, feminists have been sounding the alarm about the rise of religious and political fundamentalism. Historically, fundamentalism has always been a move to strengthen patriarchal authority and maintain the "moral order" of society. Patriarchy, understood as the relations of domination and subordination that pervade human gender relations, takes different forms in different historical periods depending on the prevailing material conditions.
A ‘Family Code’ law has been introduced which removes many of women’s basic human rights. She also speaks about contraception, the problem of abandoned children and the consequences for women of the insistence on virginity at marriage.

Marie Aimée: I would like to start with this new law, which is known in Algeria under the name “Family Code”, (not the name of it, that is “Law on Personal Status”) a title which is also used in Tunisia and Morocco.
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