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.
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.
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.
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.
In the West, Islam has come to epitomize the worse kind of oppression of women, usually symbolized by the veil, polygyny, and more recently, by stoning.
Female circumcision in Sudan


Female circumcision (the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia) is widely practised in the Sudan. It has persisted for centuries because of lack of awareness and knowledge about its adverse physical and psychosocial consequences and because of a firm belief in its supposed benefits of ensuring female chastity and securing marriage and subsequent harmonious family life.
The titles listed below can be ordered directly from the Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum. Write to them at mwraf@sltnet.lk for more details.

Can We Women Head a Muslim State?
Fatima Mernissi
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 state.
Demandez au Vatican de se lever en défense des femmes.

Ce Dossier commence par un exposé de Deniz Kandiyoti sur la position et le rôle des femmes dans les luttes anti-coloniales et dans le projet nationaliste. Les mouvements nationalistes, presque partout, ont bénéficié de la mobilisation des femmes chaque fois que c’était nécessaire, même au front. Cependant, l’indépendance nationale obtenue, les femmes ont été, encore une fois, reléguées au second plan et renvoyées à la sphère privée.

Les Dossiers Spéciaux s’articulent autour du programme collectif de recherche et d'action sur les Femmes et les Lois (Women and Law). Ce programme international a été initié et mis en oeuvre par WLUML. Les informations inclues dans ces Dossiers Spéciaux proviennent en grande partie des données produites grâce au programme Femmes et Lois et par les équipes travaillant au niveau national dans différents pays. Il a néanmoins été décidé de faire aussi appel aux contributions de personnes travaillant sur des thèmes proches du programme Femmes et Lois mais qui ne sont pas nécessairement directement impliqués dans le programme.

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