Transmitting of Islamic feminist discourse and activist work

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An historical Overview of Conferences on Islamic Feminism  Circulations and New Challenges

Mudawwana or Family Law declaring husband and wife equal heads of family which resulted from the confluence of secular and Islamic feminism. Musawah aims to consolidate a global movement to reform family laws based upon Islamic principles along with principles of equality and justice enshrined in national constitutions and in international instruments. Despite this holistic approach, and although the movement includes secular feminists, who have always worked with feminists of other religions
(and indeed, there are also non-Muslims among the ranks of the Islamic feminists) the emergent Musawah movement shows signs of exclusivity. Moreover, the Musawah leadership, as manifest in their 2009 statements, shrink from confronting the question of the family as distinct from the Muslim family when talking about legal reform.
Yet in Muslim majority societies there are many religiously mixed families, that is families in which only one spouse is Muslim. New laws need to take this into account.
There area number of crucial issues including headship of family or the equality of spouses irrespective of religion, custody, and inheritance, to name a few. Non-Muslims need to be integral parts of theorizing, strategizing the equality movement, and involvement in application. Exclusivity can derail equality work.
In May 2009 I helped organize the Conference on Reformist Women Thinkers in the
Islamic World held under the direction of Haleh Esfandiari, Director of the Middle East
Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The conference brought together female scholars of different religious affiliations as public intellectuals, and activists, including secular and Islamic feminists, and those who prefer to eschew labels to scrutinize directions in gender reform as part of broader reforms. The point was stressed that as the Islamic world is home to both Muslims and non-Muslims legal and social changes must consider the rights and needs of all members of society. The note of inclusivity was important to deliberations of a just future for all in the real worlds in which we live. A sequel to this conference is another scheduled for June 2010 which I also helped organize on the theme of Islamic
Feminism and Beyond—The New Frontier Inclusivity and Equality in Family and Ce site utilise des cookies et vous donne le contrôle sur ceux que vous souhaitez activer
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م 8:24 2022/ 11/ An historical Overview of Conferences on Islamic Feminism : Circulations and New Challenges
On global feminist networking in general see Valentine Moghadam, Globalizing Women:
Transnational Feminist Networks (Baltimore Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005).
I expressed this view, which I continue to maintain, in 2007. See Margot Badran, “Islamischer
Feminismus - Drei öffentliche Foren in Europa English original, Islamic Feminism Three
Forums in Europe
July 13, 2007 (date of initial posting on this web journal An edited volume by Mahnaz Afkhami came out of this conference, Faith and Freedom:
Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995).
See Abdullahi An-Na‘im, The Dichotomy between Religious and Secular Discourse in Islamic
Societies,” in Faith and Freedom, pp. 51-60 and also Toward an Islamic Reformation Civil
Liberties, Human Rights, and International Law (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1990).
My paper for the second Barcelona conference was titled Islamic Feminism the Latest
Chapter.” Selected papers from the first and second Barcelona conferences along with some others were published in the volume, Abdennur Prado, ed, La emergencia del feminismo
islámico (Barcelona 2008), p. 105-34. My paper in this volume, "El feminismo islámico en el nuevo Mediterráneo" was originally published as "Il femminismo islamico e la nuova cultura mediterranea,” Danilo Zolo, ed. L'alternativa mediterranea. Un dialogo fra le due sponde
(Milano: Feltrinelli, 2007).
My presentation to the third Barcelona conference was on the Future of Islamic Feminism.”
For an assessment of the first two Barcelona conferences and the conference organized by Islam et Laïcite and UNESCO see Badran, “Islamischer Feminismus - Drei öffentliche Foren in
Papers from this conference were published by Islam et Laïcite, Existe-t-il un feminism
musulman? (Paris l’Harmattan, 2007); my article is titled Le Féminism islamique en movement p. 49-70.” See also Badran, “Islamischer Feminismus - Drei öffentliche Foren in
Musawa distributed a book of position papers by experts edited by Zainah Anwar, Wanted:
Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family (Kuala Lumpur: Sisters in Islam, 2009). For my reflections on this conference and the Musawa project see A Global Movement in Pursuit of
Equality,” ResetDOC (also in Arabic and Italian) April See Reformist Women Thinkers in the Islamic World Occasional Paper Series, Middle East
Program (Washington The Woodrow Wilson Center, 2009). My own paper is titled “Reformist
Women as Feminists in Pursuit of Equality in the Islamic World p This will beheld on June 15. The proceedings will also be published in the Occasional Paper
Series of the Middle East Program.
Society. It will assess the recent past and consider the needs of our shared future and how to achieve the practice of ideals
After this brief excursion I now return to the conference at the Institute de
Recherches et d’Etudes sur le Monde Arabe et Musulmane and its theme Islamic
Feminisms: Boundaries and Politics. Is Islamic feminism fragmenting, or more seriously, is it fracturing Are boundaries getting in the way and who is constructing and maintaining them What about the politics?
The good news is that Islamic feminist discourse - Islamic liberation theology - is sound, gaining wide traction, and indeed, even political conservatives must take it into account and are even mobilizing an egalitarian version of Islam, if only instrumentally.
Some boundaries are being breached among women while other boundaries are being erected. Tensions are surfacing in some quarters between secular and Islamic feminist positions, although more broadly secular and Islamic feminists are working in tandem.
It can be seen that some Muslim women from among the ranks of the progressives have begun to act as gatekeepers in this new expanding social movement phase. This does not bode well as Islamic feminism moves forward as asocial movement. Is it a manifestation that the communalism which is rampant around the globe has now penetrated progressive circles Or is it a reflection of anew intra-women politics in a high stakes competition for resources, power, and acclaim These may seem hard questions but they need to be asked. Conferences are windows which bring them to the fore. Perhaps they can be venues fora hard look Ce site utilise des cookies et vous donne le contrôle sur ceux que vous souhaitez activer
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م 8:24 2022/ 11/ An historical Overview of Conferences on Islamic Feminism : Circulations and New Challenges

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