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Faith and Freedom:

Sun, Jan 1, 1995

Books, Persian

Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World
faith1995 / Syracuse University Press and I.B. Tauris / Editor
Introduction online

“A gripping combination of serious scholarship and popularising… Their insights from political economy are combined with psychological and sociological models of gender relations, illuminating the ugly and frequently violent gender politics of fundamentalist movements.” — Mary Ann Tétreault, MESA Bulletin 30 1996

“For Muslim fundamentalists every domestic issue is negotiable except women’s rights and their position in society. Islamist resurgence … insists on singling out women’s rights are a Western imposition that impinges on Islamic culture and religion; and they label Muslim women who struggle for these rights as enemies of Islam.” From the Introduction

Faith and Freedom is the first detailed study to emphasize Muslim women’s rights as human rights and to explore 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 twenty-first century. They demonstrate how the cultural segregation of women, and the monopoly on the interpretation of religious texts held by a select group of male theologians, have resulted in domestic and political violence againts 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.




Reviews:
Into battle with the mullahs / The Sunday Times October 1, 1995 / Susha Guppy
Tolerable Intolerance? Silence on Attacks on Women by Fundamentalists / Contention: Debates in Society, Culture, and Science Vol.5, No.3 Spring 1996 / Beth Baron
Al Raida Volume XIII, No.73 Spring 1996 / Nathalie Sirois
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Volume 23 Number 1 May 1996 / Haya al-Mughni
Development in Practice, Volume 6, Number 3, August 1996 / Haleh Afshah
Foreign Affairs Spring 1996
Iran Khabar Vol. 2, No.33 Continuous Issue 85 September 29, 1995 (In Persian)
Middle East Studies Association Bulletin Volume 30 Number 1 July 1996 / Mary Ann Tétreault
The Journal of the Society for Iranian Studies Volume 30 Numbers 1-2 Winter/Spring 1997 / Shiva Balaghi

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About Mahnaz Afkhami

A lifetime advocate for the rights of women, Mahnaz Afkhami works with activists across the world, especially in Muslim majority societies, to help women become leaders. She is Founder and President of Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP), Executive Director of Foundation for Iranian Studies...more

Books Display

Leading to Action: A Political Participation Handbook for WomenWomen State & SocietyToward A Compassionate SocietyLeading to ChoicesSafe and SecureMuslim Women and the Politics of ParticipationClaiming Our RightsFaith and FreedomWomen and the Law in IranWomen in ExileIn the Eye of the Storm coverWomen in Exile (Spanish version)Women in Exile (Turkish version)IRANHandbookENGLeading To Choices Multimedia Pack
"The conditions women have in common outrank and outvalue those that set them apart." - Faith and Freedom

"Iran’s One Million Signatures Campaign for the Reform of Discriminatory Laws is an extraordinary phenomenon. It is democratic, nonhierarchical, open, and evolving in a polity that is none of those things." - Iranian Women’s One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality: The Inside Story, Foreword

"Activism women realize that awareness of rights is the first step in gaining a political voice and the political power to gain rights." - Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation

"We must be bold and creative, our feet firmly grounded in the realities that surround us, but our gaze aimed at the lofty possibilities that our advancements in science and technology promise and that our growth as a global society is only beginning to comprehend." - Toward A Compassionate Society
“A manual that, unlike traditional human rights law, reconceives rights as also relevant in religious and cultural spheres, not just in the public sphere.” – Claiming Our Rights, Madhavi Sunder, The Yale Law Journal

“A gripping combination of serious scholarship and popularising” – Faith and Freedom, MESA Bulletin

“A sad, lovely, horrifying, heroic book.”– Women In Exile, Women’s Review of Books

Quotables – Fundamentalism

"For most of the Third World the experience of colonialism led the dialectic of encounter to an intellectual impasse by positing the 'other' as the enemy. As so much of the 'other' is appropriated in the developmental process, the enemy steals within and the impasse, intellectual and political at first, becomes a pathology of self-denial. Since the future is claimed by the 'other', the alternative that remains is the irredeemable past. In this sense, Islamic traditionism is a scourge bequeathed by the colonial experience." - Faith and Freedom

Quotables – Human Rights

"We must pose the question: why is it that the denial of the most rudimentary rights to civil treatment for women is always based on some fundamental point of culture? Is this culture real, or is it a fetish that is used to maintain some economic, social, or simply psychological privilege?" - A Vision of Gender in Culture

"Women's status in society has become the standard by which humanity's progress toward civility and peace can be measured." - Architects for Peace

"The crass infringement of women's rights we see in the Muslim world has more to do with power, patriarchy, and misuse of religion as political weapon than with religion properly understood as individual faith." - Gender Apartheid, Cultural Relativism, and Women's Human Rights

"Rights and empowerment are interconnected: unless a substantial number of women in a community come to believe that they have rights and demand to exercise them, right remains an abstraction." - Faith and Freedom

Quotables – Muslim Women

"The most taxing contradiction [Muslim women] face casts the demands of living in the contemporary world against the requirements of tradition as determined and advanced by the modern Islamist world view. At the center of this conflict is the dilemna of Muslim women’s human rights – whether Muslim women have rights because they are human beings, or whether they have rights because they are Muslim" - Faith and Freedom: Introduction

"To the extent that Islam, defined and interpreted by traditionalist "Muslim" men, is allowed to determine the context and contour of the debate on women's rights, women will be on the losing side of the debate because the conclusion is already contained in the premise and reflected in the process. This is the heart of the moral tragedy of Muslim societies in our time." - Gender Apartheid, Cultural Relativism, and Women's Human Rights

“Islam is not the problem. Rather it is the misuse of Islam by interpreting it to fit the needs of the partriarchal order - the powers that be - and the privileges that one gender has held over the other.” - How are women working to eliminate violence against women in Muslim-majority societies?

Quotables – Religion

"Women ought not to be forced to choose between freedom and God." - Rights of Passage

Islam is not the problem. Rather it is the misuse of Islam by interpreting it to fit the needs of the partriarchal order - the powers that be - and the privileges that one gender has held over the other.” - How are women working to eliminate violence against women in Muslim-majority societies?

"Religious zeal makes democracy problematic because it turns every attempt at understand and compromise - the hallmarks of democracy - into an evidentiary test of religious righteousness." - Rights of Passage