View Full Version : Muslim Women Launch International 'Gender Jihad'

10-31-2005, 09:09 PM
Muslim women launch international 'gender jihad'


Giles Tremlett in Barcelona
Monday October 31, 2005
The Guardian

Marching under the banner of a new "gender jihad", Islamic feminists from around the world this weekend launched what they hope will become a global movement to liberate Muslim women.

The meeting, which drew women from as far apart as Malaysia, Mali, Egypt and Iran, set itself the task of squaring Islam with feminism. That meant not just combating 14 centuries of sexism in the Muslim world, participants said, but also dealing with the animosity to Islam of many western or secular feminists. They insisted that many of the fundamental concepts of equality embraced by feminism could also be found in the Qur'an.

"Gender jihad is the struggle against male chauvinistic, homophobic or sexist readings of the Islamic sacred texts," said Abdennur Prado, one of the meeting's Spanish organisers.

Those readings had been provided by Muslim scholars who, over the centuries, have been almost exclusively male. "Male chauvinism is the destruction of Islam as a well-balanced way of life," Mr Prado said.

One of the leading voices was that of Amina Wadud, an African-American theology professor who provoked outrage in parts of the Muslim world when she led a mixed-sex congregation for Friday prayers in New York earlier this year. She said her commitment to change was born from her faith, two decades studying the Qur'an and the realisation that "horrific things were being done in the name of religion".

With issues to address such as the stoning to death of women, polygamy and the legal inferiority of women in some countries, progressives at the meeting admitted there was a long climb ahead.

The greatest danger was the spread of the radically conservative, Saudi-backed schools of Islam. "They don't want to go forward, they want to go back," said Prof Wadud, who also led mixed prayers at the Barcelona meeting.

Raheel Raza, a Canadian of Pakistani origin who has followed Prof Wadud's example and led mixed-sex prayers in Canada, said it was not easy to break the mould. "I already have a fatwa against me. I don't want to be murdered on the street," she said.

British Muslims were strikingly absent from the conference, which was led by western converts and emigrant families. Ghettoisation and the influence of Saudi-trained preachers were blamed for driving some second-generation immigrants in western countries into the hands of fundamentalists.

10-31-2005, 09:37 PM
It’s good that they are fighting for equality. But gender jihad?

They would do best to stay away from criminalizing men as a whole or encouraging hatred of men, that’s where first world feminists went wrong. Focus on the religious and political elite and focus on educating men in general, not a holy war against them??

Let me restate, it is good they are fighting for equality. I donate to amnesty programs that help get third world women and children away from abusive men.

I still don't like the choice of slogan.

10-31-2005, 09:40 PM
You don't like it because you're not a Muslim... but it's no different than if our women were to have a "Woman's War", or something like that...

10-31-2005, 09:54 PM
I would hate it if western women launched a "women’s war" campaign.

I understand the hell it is to be a Muslim woman but you must understand Muslim men suffer under fundamentalism, as do young boys turned into soldiers.

I think their efforts are noble, just a bad choice of slogan.

Arrgh I don’t wanna get into it… They should fight fight fight for freedom and equality, but not at the expense of making ALL men pay for it, as only the elite hold the power the rest are indoctrinated, I hope they are thinking of ways to raise good men as well.

I should have shut up….. I want to see muslim women liberated, I want to see muslim men liberated.

"Gender war" I think is the wrong way to do it, I belive their are a lot of muslim men like the one in the article, or the editor that was just arrested for speaking about womens rights, that want change.

I hope they all get change and soon.

10-31-2005, 09:58 PM
You're right...