At the centre of the debate is: what is the best way to bring gender equality and rights to Muslim women? Is it at all possible? Should it be a faith-based solution or a secular one?
Sheema Khan’s article speaks to Egyptian women’s current situation under the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence, and focuses on the Brotherhood’s latest pre-marital seminars, where women are reassured of their “proper” role as men’s followers. Khan argues that the image of women as a passive observer and follower of male authorities is a myth. In her view, Muslims can find plenty of examples in Islam’s history that advocate for women’s emancipation and gender equality.
On the other hand, Christopher Majka disagrees with this view. A research associate at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Majka draws his conclusion from his observations of Muslim women in Iran during the 70s. These experiences enable him to conclude that a faith-based approach to achieving women’s equality is not viable in modern society. For him, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other documents like it, should be the basis of modern civil society, and should then be able to provide women with an equal untouchable status that does not rely on theological interpretations. [Read more...]