This study emphasizes Muslim women's rights as human rights. The book explores the existing patriarchal structures and processes that present women's human rights as contradictory to Islam. Academics and activists, most of whom live in the Muslim world, discuss the major issues facing women of the region as they enter the 21st century. They demonstrate how the cultural segregation of women, contradictory and conflicting legal codes, and the monopoly of the interpretation of religious texts held by a select group of male theologians, have resulted in domestic and political violence against women and the suppression of their rights. The contributors focus on ways and means of empowering Muslim women to participate in the general socialization process as well as in implementing and evaluating public policy.
Introduction, Mahnaz Afkhami. Part 1 Women, Islam and patriarchy: reflections on the politics of gender in Muslim societies - from Nairobi to Beijing, Deniz Kandiyoti; Arab women's rights and the Muslim state in the 21st century - reflections on Islam as religion and state, Fatima Mernissi; the dichotomy between religious and secular discourse in Islamic societies, Abdullahi An-Na'im; the muted voices of women interpreters, Bouthaina Shaaban; networking for change - the role of women's groups in initiating dialogue on women's issues, Farida Shaheed; rhetorical strategies and official policies on women's rights - the merits and drawbacks of the new world hypocrisy, Ann Elizabeth Mayer. Part 2 Women and violence - selected cases: the ambiguity of Shari'a and the politics of "rights" in Saudi Arabia, Eleanor Abdella Doumato; the politics of dishonour - rape and power in Pakistan, Shahla Haeri; Muslim refugee, returnee and displaced women - challenges and dilemmas, Sima Wali; S.O.S. Algeria - women's human rights under siege, Karima Bennoune; women's human rights on trial in Jordan - the triumph of Toujan al-Faisal, Nancy Gallagher.