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.
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
In the Arab world, a woman must convince the court that she is 'harmed' by her husband to get a
The Current Status
The current status of
personal status laws in Arab countries have three distinct flaws: the absence of
a unified law, the absence of equality between men and women, and the absence of
equality between people of different religious denominations. We shall speak
briefly of each to explain.
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.
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.As I will argue in
this article, t
One of the most frequent questions I am
faced with in the process of my dialogue with men regarding the personal laws and
women’s rights is whether or not we, women - think Mehr is a provision which
is an unjust imposition on men. They further ask whether or not we, women -
who demand equality for ourselves be against this provision?
Is it a lapse into impressionism to ‘lend great
importance to the weight of Islam’ in considering the roots of the oppression of
Arab women? Despite all the social transformations that have occurred in the
Arab world since the era of the caliphs, secularisation has yet to take hold in
nearly all the Arab countries. Legislation dealing with marriage, divorce, and
the status of women (inferior in all cases) is still based on, or directly
inspired by, Koranic law in all the Arabic-Islamic states. What role is played
by Islam, what is its influence, and how is it used?