Few developments in the post-Cold War era have captured public attention, stirred primal fears, stoked the fires of racism, and stymied critical thinking quite so thoroughly as the rise of fundamentalism. Although it is a force to be reckoned with in virtually every area of public endeavour, the rise of fundamentalism presents a very specific, and somewhat unique, challenge to the emerging field of reproductive health and rights.
The aim of this paper is to explore some contradictory implications of nationalist projects in post-colonial societies. It examines the extent to which elements of national identity and cultural difference are articulated as forms of control over women and which infringe upon their rights as enfranchised citizens.

Despite the extensive literature on nationalism, there are relatively few systematic attempts to analyse women's integration into nationalist projects. The little there is conveys seemingly contradictory messages.
As increasing numbers of scholars have pointed out, the study of Muslim peoples and their societies - including their faith, histories, behaviours etc. - has often been made difficult by a number of essentialisms and conflations. Before turning to the specific concern of this paper, I want to deal with some of these because of their implications for the issue of sexuality.
We, the women participating in the Arab Court of Women, held in Beirut, June 28-30, 1995, as testifiers and audience to those testimonies; we, who had the opportunity to take part in this great event, jointly assume the responsibility of what we heard of words of truth which broke the ring of silence that had long stifled our voices and sufferings of women.
In referring to Middle Eastern cultures, writers and speakers often allude to the Arab, Persian, Turkish etc. Cultures. What do these terms mean? What do they imply? Are these the true cultural boundaries in the Middle East?
Editor’s comment: The article of Stasa Zajovic from the Women in Black-Belgrade rings a bell to all of us who live in multi ethnic, multi religious, multi cultural countries, threatened by growing nationalism- or communalism-, where the hatred of the Other closely entwined with population policies (as a mild form which can evolve into its drastic form of ethnic cleansing) put women at the forefront of these policies.
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.
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