One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Women’s Rights in Kuwait

It's been a busy month for the constitutional court in the tiny Gulf Arab nation of Kuwait. Earlier this week, Kuwait's highest court ruled that women now have the right to obtain a passport without the consent of their husbands and guardians. The ruling abrogated an article of a 1962 law that required women to gain their husband's signature on any passport application.The court, following complaints from thousands of women who have petitioned to change the law, finally ruled that the article … [Read more...]

Fatwa Frenzy: Skewing the Education Fatwa Issue

The right to an education is one of the most basic rights that any person can have. Yet this right is often denied to women, including many women in various Muslim societies. We have examples of women in the formative era of Islam who benefited from education and who were scholars in their own right. Still, the right to be educated is one that is fought for by Muslim women’s rights activists and a right recently reaffirmed by an Islamic scholar. Fatemeh linked to two stories about the fatwa i … [Read more...]

Nafsu buas: the politics of imagined lust in Malaysia

This post was written by Cycads and originally appeared on her blog.‘Animalistic lust’ (nafsu buas) is a common spice in Malay tales of adulterous wives, transgender paramours, and homosexual men and women. ‘Animalistic’ or ‘buas' here is a blanket term for all that is unbridled and transgressive. Though derived from the Arabic word to mean ’soul’, ‘nafsu‘ is often accompanied with pejorative connotations, and it is used a lot by the Malay media to demonise sexual minorities in Malaysia. Ofte … [Read more...]

Equal-opportunity domestic violence?

Like last week's article on Britain's apparent condemnation of the entire system of Islamic law, it was the ridiculous headline of this article that got me first. "Al-Azhar backs women's right to beat husbands"? Hardly. Scholars from al-Azhar University in Cairo have affirmed that a woman who is being abused has a right to fight back in self-defence against her husband's violence, which is, well, not exactly the same thing as having a right to beat her husband. What on earth was the person … [Read more...]