Wednesday, January 18, 2006

islam's feminist appeal

Islam's Feminist Appeal is a piece from Delaware Online is more explicitly about gender, but it focuses on interviews with African-American Muslims (along with members of the Nation) in the Delaware area.


Steve said...

The piece was good except this part puzzled me a bit:

"Woods believes women like that the roles of wife and mother are held in high esteem by Islam. Prayer and fasting offer a spiritual tradition that helps them feel connected with each other and in harmony with the world."

I think is quite the opposite of the message of most Feminists. This kind of "Empowerment" entails telling women that even though motherhood and family are patriarchial instritutions, you should consider these positive things rather than proxies for the inequity in the household. And nothing could be further from the desires of most feminists, who seek to tell women that they should submit before God, but not their husbands.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

I think there are different conceptions of feminism out there. In the US, "most feminists" are probably going to be white middle-class women who have a particular set of concerns and a particular vision of what it means to be liberated.

But women from other backgrounds don't necessarily identify with that agenda. In fact, there are women who feel so alienated by a particular notion of (white middle-class) feminism that they feel the need to use a totally different word. (For example, Womanist or mujerista)

Similar, I think you can find places and ways which Muslim women are seeking to be more empowered, but their issues aren't necessarily the same as that of (most) American feminists. They generally aren't going to have a problem with marriage and motherhood.

In the case of the article, Adil Woods had a leadership position in the mosque, was pursuing a graduate-level education, and actively teaching in the community which is one valid vision of empowerment.