As part of the symposium “Honour Killings and Emancipation” from the Post-Graduate Seminar “Perception of Gender Differences within Religious Symbol-Systems”, Julius-Maximillian-University, Wuerzburg, 19.01.2006.
The public debate over women’s role in Islam tends in the West to centre round the issue of the head-scarf, seen as symbolizing women’s inferiority, yet not all practising Muslim women wear the scarf and not all of them are of the opinion that this is undispensable. In fact it is Islamic marriage law which cements women’s inferior legal status as divinely ordained.
The events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent reactions have moved the Islamic faith – and especially Islamic extremism into the public limelight and made it an on-going topic of discussion. While the opinions of politically active Muslims (Islamists) or extremists have increasingly become media topics, liberal Muslims are presented in much less detail. Islamic feminism may be considered one form of liberal Islam. It is characterized by the following aspects:
When Islam is the subject, the topic „Women in Islam“ is also frequently discussed. This is not merely the result of controversial books on Islam (like Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses) or of the problems associated with a “parallel society”, or of the visible external differences between Muslim and non-Muslim women. The reports from human rights organizations on the situation of women in Islamic countries and the autobiographical accounts of Muslim women also fuel the debate about the acculturation of Muslim women in Western culture, under the rubric of “Women’s Rights in Islam“, for example.
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