Inheritance Rights in Islam: Islamic Policies in Muslim and Secular States, Legal Systems and Media

During the past week, inheritance according to the precepts of Shari’ah was a hot topic around the world, from Australia and Pakistan to Tunisia and Malaysia. An overview of the system is available in this article, although, as always, there is much diversity both in specific understandings of inheritance laws and in broader understandings of what “Shari’ah” is.  A few days ago, Jamila Hussain wrote an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, discussing issues of equity vs. equality in inherit … [Read more...]

The Fourth Annual International Congress On Islamic Feminism

In late October, this year’s Fourth Annual International Congress on Islamic Feminism was held in Madrid, Spain. The conference encompassed Islamic feminism in Palestine, America, Malaysia, Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan, inviting speakers from various backgrounds to explain what it means to be an Islamic feminist and how this role has manifested itself in various cultural and national settings to bring about a positive change for Muslim women.Among the participants were Zahira Kamal, former M … [Read more...]

Malaysia’s Newest Cane Campaign

In Malaysia, where we are swamped with mixed messages from religious authorities and pop song lyrics, those of us lucky enough to find love are bound to run into trouble. Just a week short of Valentine's day, three women and three men were caned under Shariah law for committing “illicit sex.” This marks the materialization of a long threat to punish Muslim Malaysians for moral crimes – prior to this, no one had been caned for unlawful sexual behavior. Curiously, the public was informed more than … [Read more...]

Female Muftis Aren’t Making Headlines. What a Surprise.

This was written by Sara Elghobashy and originally published at the elan blog.Whenever a story breaks that Muslim women are suffering somewhere in the world, the press foams at the mouth. Headlines with the words “unveiled” or “veiled” pop up everywhere and the world goes on to sing the song of “Muslim women are oppressed. Someone save them from their religion!” Yet, when news emerges that Muslim women are gaining some footing, there isn’t a peep about it in Western news outlets.This is exact … [Read more...]

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...]

Sisterhood of the Hot Pants: the Media’s Coverage of Lubna al-Hussein

Lubna al-Hussein’s recent trial for wearing pants has received a lot of attention in the media. Most of the attention has been focused on the “backwardness” of indecency law that apparently prevents women in Sudan from wearing pants in public. The law itself doesn’t actually describe what is “indecent” but it seems to be understood that the indecent clothing in this case was al-Hussein’s pants.This story did not initially spark much interest on my part, not because I don’t find the idea of fl … [Read more...]

Judgment Day: Muslim Women Earn Judge Appointments in West Bank

Two women, Khuloud Faqih and Asmahan Wuheidi,  have become judges in Islamic courts in the West Bank. This is such a great milestone, not only for Palestinian women, but for Muslim women, too. We often have our ability to be judges questioned because we're seen as too emotional and irrational to be judges. This bias was evidenced by a quote in the Associated Press article, from a woman no less: "I'd like to see her, but I think that men do this job better, they are less emotional," said Eziyeh Yo … [Read more...]