Your assignment is to create an annotated bibliography of 12 entries related to a topic on Islam. In order to successfully complete this assignment you must:Choose a topic on Islam that has interested you as you have worked through the course material. Before you start work on your bibliography, you must inform your tutor of what topic you are working on and give a short description of why it interests you.Choose four books, four journal articles, and four internet websites related to your topic using AUCAT, the Library journal databases, and the internet search engine of your choice.Create an annotated bibliography that includes all 12 sources. Your annotations cannot be longer than 150–200 words.You must use the Chicago Manual of Style “Notes and Bibliography Style” for the bibliography. If you use anything else, you will be graded down on your assignment.Your annotation should include:A summary of the topic(s) covered in the source and the main argument/thesis/position of the author.Your own assessment of how strong the author’s thesis and use of evidence is.A comparison and contrast of the sources you have cited in your bibliography. For what type of audience is this source intended? For example, is it more appropriate for scholars or is it aimed at a popular audience? Is it suitable for students who are in a first-year university class or is it suitable for upper undergraduates or just scholars who specialize in Islamic studies?
Your assignment is to create an annotated bibliography of 12 entries related to a topic on Islam. In order to successfully complete this assignment you must: Choose a topic on Islam that has intereste
Regarding the assignment, you are being asked to create an annotated bibliography, which is essentially a list of sources that you have consulted on a topic, along with a brief description of each source, called an annotation. As noted in the assignment description, your annotation needs to include a few key things – a summary of the thesis or main points made in the source, your assessment of whether it is a strong/good/useful source, the intended audience for the source (e.g. undergraduate students, upper level scholars, the general public, etc.), and how the source compares to others in your list (e.g. it makes a similar argument as another one, or speaks about the issue in a different country, etc.). For this assignment, you are being asked to look particularly at three types of sources – books, peer-reviewed/academic journal articles, and web sources. The first two can be found using the Athabasca Library system, and the web sources can be anything you find using a standard search engine like google.  Your assignment should be in Chicago notes/bibliography format. You can find more information about that here: https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html.
Your assignment is to create an annotated bibliography of 12 entries related to a topic on Islam. In order to successfully complete this assignment you must: Choose a topic on Islam that has intereste
ESSAY WOMEN AND ISLAMIST EXTREMISM: GENDER RIGHTS UNDER THE SHADOW OF JIHAD By Farahnaz Ispahani B y 2050 there will be 2.8 billion Muslims in the world, of whom almost half will be women. If women are integrated in efforts to confront violent extremist ideology, through equal opportunities and participation in social, political, and economic life, this demographic could positively alter the future of the Muslim world. Currently, traditional, conservative, and patriarchal societies in most Muslim-majority countries tend to ignore women ’s education, their participation in the workforce, and their rights. This enables Islamist groups, which reject the concept of women ’s rights being equal to men ’s rights, to target women as potential recruits for their extremist cause. Personal, cultural, and societal factors, along with the broader grievance culture amongst Muslim populations, have contributed to some women supporting and joining Islamist extremist groups. Women ’s participation in the workforce, in national parliaments, and even in schooling lags behind in countries geographically as far apart as Egypt and Indonesia, which share Islam as the religion of most of their population. Women ’s inclusion and status in Muslim-majority countries does not necessarily improve with enhancements in a country ’s economic standing. Gender inequality affects richer Muslim-majority countries as well as poorer ones (World Bank n.d.). Women ’s rights, already challenged by tradition and social conservatism, are coming under greater attack by radical Islamists who seek to reshape societies in the mold of how things stood in earlier centuries of what they deem to be pristine Islam. For decades Islamists and traditionalist Muslims have questioned the Western ideal of full and equal participation of women in public, especially political, life. According to the Islamist worldview, the role of women is clearly defi ned in the Qur’an and elaborated further in Hadith and tradition. This de finition rejects the notion that women have the right to an equal say in all matters that have an impact on their lives. In the initial phase of modernization of most Muslim-majority countries, there was great resistance by religiously conservative elements against giving women equal rights, with some clerics going to the extent of denying the right to women to sit in legislative bodies or to even vote. In recent years, a few political Islamist groups (such as the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world, Iran ’s revolutionary regime, and the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh and Pakistan) have embraced the idea of “democracy ”at least as a means of acquiring power through mobilization Farahnaz Ispahani is the author of the recently released book Purifying The Land of The Pure: Religious Minorities in Pakistan (Harper-Collins, India). In 2015, she was a Reagan-Fascell Scholar at the National Endowment for Democracy, in Washington, DC. Ispahani was a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center from 2013 to 2014. © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License ( http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ ), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. the review of faith & international affairs | 101 of popular support. The objective of acquiring such power for them, however, remains to establish an Islamic State. These groups seek women’s votes in elections but remain committed to rolling back women ’s rights upon seizing power. Women are not only part of Islamist groups that have embraced electoral politics, but also play a role in groups that have chosen the path of terrorism, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. There are also a number of women ’s Islamist social conservative movements that work with, but are not part of, the Islamist political groups. In a majority of Islamist and jihadi groups, women ’s roles were traditionally limited to the spread of propaganda and incitement of husbands and male relatives to jihad. In the last few years, the leadership has been responding to both the change in context as well as to Islamist women ’s requests to play a larger role in offensive combat. This is re flected in the fact that between 1985 and 2010, there were over 230 suicide bombing attacks by women belonging to Jihadi groups (Bloom 2011). There are many reasons why these groups use women operatives. Women provide structural support which varies from teaching their children how to be “defenders of the pure faith, ” maintaining the household for the fighters, encouraging other women to join them in their task, and, in the case of educated women, even translating extremist propaganda. When women participate in an act of violence, they provide an element of surprise. Experts say that female terrorists have a four times higher kill rate than their male counterparts (Bloom 2011). In “When Women Become Terrorists, ”Jane Huckerby (2015 ) points out the challenge of Islamist women ’s role in public life. About ISIS, she writes, “While the group oppresses many women, many also flock to its ranks. ”Almost 10 percent of ISIS recruits from Western countries are female, “often lured by their peers through social media and instant messaging. ”An estimated 63 of the 350 French nationals believed to be with the group are women, just under 20 percent. According to Huckerby, “despite stereotypes about their domesticity and passivity, women are drawn to groups like the Islamic State by many of the same forces as men: adventure, inequality, alienation, and the pull of the cause. ” The women of ISIS feel no compunction in violence against other women. The all-female Al- Khansa Brigade of ISIS enforces the group ’s morality codes for women, requiring modest dress and segregation of the sexes. They operate checkpoints and participate in home raids in addition to being recruiters, trainers of women suicide bombers, wives and homemakers, fund- raisers, and propagandists. Author Mia Bloom in her book Bombshell: Women and Terrorists puts forth the“Four R plus One ” framework to explain why women become terrorists. The four Rs are revenge, redemption, relationships, respect, plus rape —the death of a relative (revenge), relatives being involved with jihad (relationships), respect for female martyrs in patriarchal societies (respect), need to avenge a personal or familial shame (redemption), and sexual exploitation by jihadis (rape) (Bloom 2011 , 234). Other existing motivations include the perception of the Muslim community being under attack all over the world, the feeling of contributing to a cause, as well as personal incentives such as the allure of marriage and transition into adulthood. The feeling of community, sisterhood, and identity within the jihadi groups and larger community are a huge draw. For some female jihadists, Western feminism may be found unful filling or disappointing, and Jihadi groups provide an alternative of sorts, when personally chosen, as a path they interpret as a chosen way to avoid discrimination and abuse. These women see women ’s roles as complementary to men ’s, rather than equal. The growth in numbers of women living in the Western world who join these groups can be traced to factors such as grievances about Muslim-majority regions being under siege, belief that joining these groups gives them a goal in life and a way to contribute to a cause in which they believe deeply. There are also motivations like the desire to marry a true Muslim, bonds with other women who have joined these groups and are friends and provide sense of community, and fi nally a theological/doctrinal belief in an obligation to provide support for jihad. women and islamist extremism 102 | volume 14, number 2 (summer 2016) ISIS has succeeded in the recruitment of women because of underlying causes within Muslim communities both in the West and in Muslim-majority countries. Even in relatively tolerant Muslim societies, patriarchy and paternalism are widely embraced, leading women to accept gender roles assigned to them. Polls indicate, for example, that a majority of women in several Muslim-majority countries feel it is their duty to obey their husbands and that spousal abuse is acceptable because it is allowed in Islam (NPR 2015). Extremists take this “ submission to the will of God ”one step farther and convince women that engaging in acts of violence is also divinely ordained. In the West, Muslim diaspora communities from Paris to Toronto have seen an upsurge in anger and alienation from the broader community. One of the attackers linked to the November 2015 blasts in Paris was a woman, Hasna Aitboulahcen, as was one of the two San Bernardino attackers, Tashfeen Malik. Muslims, particularly youth and women, have felt ignored, hated, and apart from the larger society. Women, whether young girls or adults, feel that they are the easiest, most visible targets because of the hijab, and we have seen the backlash against it in places like France. Within schools in Western countries, Muslim teenagers, because of their religious demands, often feel or are made to feel different. Teenagers growing up in Muslim households —fasting for the month of Ramadan, wearing the hijab, not dating or being able to drink alcohol —start feeling like “outsiders. ” ISIS and other extremist recruiters often tap into such feelings of alienation, especially at impressionable ages. In Muslim-majority countries, other forces are at work: easily-understandable triggers like unemployment in Tunisia and unhappiness with the nascent democracy ’s inability to deliver, as well as forced secularity by dictatorial regimes. Today, Tunisian women and youth are the world ’s greatest exporters of ISIS recruits. More Tunisians join ISIS in terms of percentage than citizens of any other country (Byrne 2014). The recruitment tactics of the Islamic State have also been groundbreaking in social media. From Facebook pages to Twitter and Tumblr, the outreach has had an enormous impact on women all over the world —particularly in MENA and the West. Magazines, letters, and stories by women wanting to join active jihad and mothers ’proud remembrances of martyred sons have all been utilized in the Al-Qaeda af filiated al Shamikha and in Tayyabiat, which is linked to Hizb-u-Tahrir. The ISIS magazine Dabiqin a recent issue featured a message from the wife of the Paris supermarket gunman, advising women to study religion and support their jihadi husbands. This feeling of a community of believers, a group of acceptance, and a social experience is available in this online world of Jihadi women. Unlike Al Qaeda, ISIS, or Daesh do not just want to eliminate Western allies in the region and attack Western systems. They have already put down the foundations of a state alongside the old states. The imposition of Sharia has begun in the regions they control. A barbaric form of warfare and control which puts all women —especially women belonging to minority religious groups like Yazidis, Shias, and Christians —at greater risk of death or debasement. According to Ravina Shamdasani of the United Nations, “educated, professional women, particularly women who have run as candidates in elections for public of fice, seem to be particularly at risk ” un der ISIS rule. The revival of the slave trade of women from areas conquered by ISIS has increased the physically and sexually violent crimes against female children and women. The rise of ISIS has rolled back gains women made under secular governments like in Iraq and Syria (Shahabian and Sonenshine 2016). A similar fate awaits women and religious minorities in parts of other Muslim-majority countries that might fall under control of extremist groups. ISIS HAS SUCCEEDED IN THE RECRUITMENT OF WOMENBECAUSE OF UNDERLYING CAUSES WITHIN MUSLIM COMMUNITIES BOTH IN THE WEST AND IN MUSLIM- MAJORITY COUNTRIES farahnaz ispahani the review of faith & international affairs | 103 TheUnitedStatesneedsacomprehensive policy to deal with these developments in Muslim societies and beyond. Former Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine acknowledged in a February 2016 op-ed article in The Hill , co-written with Leon Shahabian, that the United States has still not comprehensively de fined “ Countering Violent Extremism ”or “Counter- Extremism. ”The next president of the United States must de fine both the problem and its solution in clear terms. As Sonenshine points out, several government agencies currently deal with countering violent extremism, often working in a vacuum and with different institutional agendas. Moreover, violent extremism in the Muslim world cannot be dealt with without addressing the broader issues of religious freedom and women ’s rights. Strategic considerations have lead U.S. policy to ignore marginalization of religious minorities in Muslim countries and to accept limitations on women as cultural or traditional. A more robust linking of U.S. foreign assistance and arms sales with policies on women ’s rights and religious freedom could force governments in Muslim countries to tackle these issues. The problem stems from the gender gap in the Muslim world, with low levels of literacy and low levels of labor force participation by women in all spheres of life. It also stems back to the traditional Muslim societies that have resisted what they see as Western human rights including rights for women. Instead of military dictators, orthodox ulema, and jihadis defi ning what are women’s rights, women should have the right to do so. It is here that the foreign policy of the United States can be proactive by placing women at the heart of its policies. This includes more aid for women ’s education and scholarships for women students to study both in their countries and in the U.S. Support from the United States, both monetary as well as symbolic, for women activists in majority-Muslim countries will be further boosted if a global network of such activists is created and sustained. If the president takes the lead, policy confusion can be replaced with a comprehensive strategy that rebuts the culture of Muslim grievance —a grievance culture which enables extremists to recruit and operate. Instead of interacting just with clerics in token gestures, the United States must embrace Muslim modernizers including human rights activists, scholars, and writers. Moreover, U.S. of ficials must stop assuming that modernist Muslim women are somehow unrepresentative. Despite oppression and persecution, they remain as much part of Muslim societies as conservative women. Women must, in particular, be the cornerstone of the anti-extremist effort. There are many positive historical and modern day examples of women and Muslims that can be used to show positive role models. It is imperative to make a distinction between Islam and its extremist distortions. It must be understood, moreover, that the consequences of inattention to combating extremist Islamist ideology would not be different from the results of ignoring the rise of totalitarianism in Europe before the World War II. v References Bloom, Mia. 2011.Bombshell: Women and Terrorists . London: Hurst. Byrne, Eileen. 2014.“Tunisia Becomes Breeding Ground for Islamist Fighters. ”The Guardian , Douar Hicher, October 13. http://www. theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/13/tunisia-breeding-ground-islamic-state- fighters . Huckerby, Jane. 2015.“When Women Become Terrorists. ”New York Times , January 21.http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/opinion/ when-women-become-terrorists.html?_r=0 . NPR (National Public Radio). 2015.“Alarming Number Of Women Think Spousal Abuse Is Sometimes OK. ”NPR , March 18. http://www. npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/03/18/392860281/alarming-number-of-wo men-think-spousal-abuse-is-sometimes-ok . Shahabian, Leon, and Tara Sonenshine. 2016.“What ’s at Stake for APPLE –and America. ”The Hill , February 22. http://thehill.com/ blogs/pundits-blog/homeland-security/270226-whats-at-stake-for-apple-and -america . World Bank. n.d. “Development Indicators Data for Muslim-Majority Countries. ”http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS/ countries/PK?display=default . http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15570274.2016.1184445 women and islamist extremism 104 | volume 14, number 2 (summer 2016) Copyright ofReview ofFaith &International Affairsisthe property ofRoutledge andits content maynotbecopied oremailed tomultiple sitesorposted toalistserv without the copyright holder’sexpresswrittenpermission. However,usersmayprint, download, oremail articles forindividual use.
Your assignment is to create an annotated bibliography of 12 entries related to a topic on Islam. In order to successfully complete this assignment you must: Choose a topic on Islam that has intereste
Viewpoint Dialogue to Bridge the Gap: The Challenges of Women in Islam Ambassador Sallama Shaker, PhD Visiting Professor of Islamic and Middle East Studies at Yale University I t is such a pleasure to be with all of you in this inspirational setting. Special thanks to the President of the Policy Studies Organization, Dr. Paul Rich, and to Professor Mohammed Aman for availing me of this opportunity to dialogue and exchange ideas with all of you on challenges facing women in Arab and Muslim societies and what I describe as the magic touch of the three “E”s of empowerment: Education, Equality, and Economic Enabling. In the early fourth century B.C., the great philosopher Plato concluded that “education could cultivate good qualities in individuals.” In 1798, a scholar known as Condorcet wroteThe Progress and the Human Mind, in which he proposed that women should be declared eligible for elections in the growing body of self-governing systems to ensure fair, democratic practice. In the early years of Islam, a female Muslim scholar known as al-Shifa used to teach reading and writing to Muslim men and women. Moreover, Amara Bintal- Rahman was known as the best narrator of Islamic jurisprudence. Following the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632 A.D., she ran a school where she taught men and women about Islamic laws. This should not come as a surprise to any of us, since as early as 610 A.D., when theQur‘anwas revealed to Prophet Muhammad, the first message f rom the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet was “read,” and when the Prophet asked the Angel how can he read when he was illiterate, the Angel replied that he should read in the name of the Lord who…creates humankind f rom a clot. The Angel said that the Lord was most generous, taught by the pen, and taught man what he did not know. This was the first revelation that sends a clear message to all believers. It is the miracle of education. In fact, the meaning of the wordQur‘anmeans “recitation or reading.” If we analyze the Qur‘anic verse, it is clear that reading and writing are the progressive mechanisms to build a civilized community without differentiating between men or women. Both women and men are addressed on equal basis as clearly emphasized: “If any do deeds of righteousness, be male or female, and have faith, they will enter heaven, and no injustice will be done to them” (Qur‘an4:124). Hence, it was not a surprise that in early Islam, women were active political participants in casting their votes, known asbai‘ahas clearly mentioned in theQur‘an This article is an edited version of a paper presented at the Middle East Dialogue 2012 Conference in Washington, DC, on February 24, 2012. bs_bs_banner Digest of Middle East Studies—Volume 21, Number 2—Pages 293–299 © 2012 Policy Studies Organization. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (60:12): “O Prophet! Whenever believing women come unto Thee to pledge their allegiance to Thee…then accept their pledge of allegiance.” In fact, sometimes there is a need to remind many Muslims of the role of Aisha, the Prophet’s wife in religious and political affairs, because she is the only woman transmitter of more than 2,210 Hadith—statements f rom the Prophet to the believers. After the death of the Prophet, she served to settle many points of disagreement among the Muslim com- munity. In fact, Islamic history emphasizes that there were at least 2,500 women jurists, market inspectors, managers of Islamic endowments, and teachers of jurispru- dence. There were women warriors as well. This is just to mention some of the forgotten roles of women who struggled since the early period of Islam to spread God’s word. So, why has the compassionate message of Islam been distorted, and how can we reconfigure it? If we agree that women’s empowerment as defined by United Nations Educa- tion, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other organizations is a multidimensional process of achieving basic capabilities; legal rights; and the partici- pation in key social, economic, political, and cultural domains, then we can agree that education is the main bridge to reach this goal for both women and men (UNDP, 2006). Hence, it was only natural that during the nineteenth century, when enlight- ened theologians and Muslim scholars were analyzing the problems in their societies and searching for means to advancing their people, the prominent Muslim Egyptian scholar, Rriffaa al-Tahtawi wrote his famous book,Guidance to Teaching Boys and Girls in 1872, which led to the establishment of the first state girls’ primary school in Egypt in 1873. The narratives of Muslim scholars, such as Rashid Reda (1865–1905) and Muhammad Abdu (1849–1905), together with Taha Hussein in the 1940s, as well as Rachid Ganouchi in the 1960s and 1970s, were also written to advance society. All emphasized the importance of education, science, and technology, and the dire need to educate men and women on equal footing, while they were calling for an Islamic awakening of pride in Islamic heritage. They did not reject the West; however, Muslim scholars did not encourage blind emulation of Western customs; instead, they called for a critical examination of Western sources of strength, particularly sciences, mathematics, and technology, f rom which the Muslim world could benefit. The call was for progressive thinking and building educated communities throughout the Muslim world in compliance with theQur‘an. Enlightened Muslim leaders in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were able to make marked difference in their societies by declaring education as a universal right for all citizens, and here we are in 2012, after all these centuries, still dwelling on the unresolved issues of gender equality, and women as agents of social change in Muslim societies. I would like to share with you some reflections on major issues that seem to be “hot-button issues” of universal importance—particularly at a time when we are all living through the social media revolution. How is the history of many countries in the Arab world being re-written after January 2011 by brave men and women? The Digest of Middle East Studies Viewpoint: Dialogue to Bridge the Gap… 294 main question is, when both men and women challenge their regimes, asking for dignity, social justice, and f reedom, how much will be achieved that will advance their causes as equal citizens in their countries? Dear colleagues, in our dialogue, we need to stop for a moment and ask ourselves the following questions: 1. How can we sustain a dialogue between the West and the East, and bridge the gap by understanding the common value system that can unite us to reach out to each other? We need to talk as equal partners. 2. Why is education the “magic bullet”? 3. Why is Islam stereotyped as a religion that oppresses women? 4. What seems to be more problematic: defining the empowerment of women or understanding the causal roots for misrepresenting Islam, and bridging the gap between the cultures of the world? 5. How can we, together as conscientiousscholars, change the negative images and bring about a better understanding of the human aspects of Islam? 6. While we need to look into each country on its own premise in the transition and reform periods, the citizens of Tunisia and Egypt made a statement when they chose Muslim conservative regimes, hoping for more accountability and transparency. My dear colleagues, I do understand the immense challenges that face any policy maker or decision maker to build a dialogue where there would be clear goals and achievable results. Thus, I am proposing a dialogue that can open opportunities for Western societies to understand the challenges facing women in many Arab and Muslim societies without falling into the myth of the superiority of Western femi- nism’s definition of equality. We need to base our interactive dialogue on the fact that women in America and women in Egypt, as early as 1919, were exchanging ideas on the suff rage movement and national women’s liberation causes, taking into consideration the cultural and societal nuances. Women fought to f ree themselves f rom the shackles of misinterpreting religions and living in patriarchal domains. It took time to change mindsets, but by 1956, the constitution in Egypt endorsed women’s rights, and more clauses were added in the constitutions of 1971 and 1979, acknowledging women’s rights to equal political participation. Moreover, Article 40 of the Constitution reads “. . . citizens are equal before the law. Citizens have equal rights and duties without distinction regardless of their sex, origin, language, religion or belief.” As for education and working, articles 13 and 18 in the 1971 constitution guarantee f ree education and right to work without discrimination between male and female. All of these clauses are but reflection on many Qur‘anic verses such as verse (33:35): Fall 2012 Shaker 295 For Muslim men and women. For believing men and women. For honest men and women. For men and women, who are patient and constant, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast and deny themselves. For men and women who guard their chastity, for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise—for them God has prepared forgiveness and great reward. The message is clear, as both genders are being addressed equally to remind them of their social responsibilities; and the verse is clear that the most honored is the most righteous, without discriminating between males or females. Here, let us look together at John Esposito’s narrative,The Islamic Threat, Myth or Reality? published in 1992, where he underscores that “a fuller appreciation of the Islamic past can provide the understanding and methodology for Islamic responses to the challenges of modernity to draw and develop a viable political, legal and economic model of society in light of the Qur‘anic principles and values” (p. 134). Moreover, the promi- nent Muslim scholar Muhammad el-Ghazali Harb (1981) stated in many of his books in the 1980s that Islamic ideals are evolving, not static; that every period in history has given a different analysis of Islamic theory and practice. So what went wrong in some Muslim societies? Is it because of the patriarchal attitudes, or the lack of education or misinterpreting and decontextualizing some of the Qur‘anic texts and the lack of proper understanding of many verses, and some- times manipulating religious authority? If one of God’s name in theQur‘anis “justice,” how can women be ill-treated under the name of Islam? It seems that women’s issues are caught up in the political-cultural battleground and male- dominated interpretation of theQur‘an. Let me share with you a telling experience. When I was traveling with the current grand imam of Egypt, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyeb, to participate at the first conference on “interfaith dialogue” in 2004, I remember how he explained how many verses in theQur‘anwere revealed in context, which is described asasbab al-nezool(occasions of revelation), which we need to remember, when some verses are misinterpreted in patriarchal societies. He empha- sized that the most central value in theQur‘anis justice and that God condemns transgression and oppression. So the magic word is “education, education, education” that can empower women and men and avail both of equal opportunities in life and eventually alleviate poverty and many other ills of society. There is a famous saying f rom the first woman educator in Egypt, Nabawiya Mussa, who said in 1902 “the eyes are of little use if the mind is blind.” Many of the rights that women in Egypt have today are largely due to her struggle, and that of the leader of the women’s liberation movement in 1919, Hoda Sha‘arawi. Egyptian women have struggled throughout the twentieth century to establish their presence as full-fledged partners with men in the public sphere. Their presence outside the domestic sphere was a result off ree education and economic necessity. Consequently, post-revolutionary Egypt will need to recognize the gains women have achieved through their own genuine efforts since 1919; there is no way in Digest of Middle East Studies Viewpoint: Dialogue to Bridge the Gap… 296 which the clock can be turned back. When looking at the snapshots of the Tahrir Square Revolution of 2011, and the Jasemine Tunisian Revolution of 2011, one can see that women protestors were defying the Western stereotypical image of passive Arab women. Women in Egypt were organizing and strategizing on Facebook, and bloggers like Leila Mortada took momentous risks to keep the world informed on the situation in Tahrir Square. Women in Yemen were camping and protesting in Sanaa and Taaz, defying the tradition and the regime. No wonder that Tawakul Karman received the Nobel Peace Prize, the highest recognition not only for Yemeni women but also for all Arab women. But the story does not stop there. As these uprisings are changing the discourse of history, men seem to be eclipsing women as “partners in transition” in countries whose revolutionaries—men and women—cre- ated the slogans “dignity and social justice.” Some analysts argue that after the dust settles, gender equality will be among the priority issues on the agendas of women’s organizations in Egypt, and Tunisia who have a long history in challenging gov- ernments for women’s rights as part and parcel of the Islamic code of justice, and societal progress where women are and will always be “partners for sustainable change.” Women activists in the “Arab Awakening” have defied the traditional sup- position by many analysts that women in Arab societies are submissive and not interested in political activities. While women took to the streets f rom all social classes, others who represent the computer generation created their blogs in defiance of the corrupt regimes. Dear f riends, while there are many concerns about women’s rights in post- revolutionary Tunisia and Egypt, it is important to deliberate on how to transform religious progressive thought and proper interpretation of theQur‘anto men and women in their own cultural setting, and to reach grassroots participants through education to change mindsets and advance women’s causes. Here, I would like to share with you theAzhar Reform Bulletinof June 2011, which lays out the guidelines for the new constitution in Egypt. It can be a pragmatic f ramework for advancing the proper understanding of citizenship and human rights, and the need to establish a modern democratic state based on a constitution that guarantees citizens equal rights. The document highlights education and scientific research as a high priority and stresses eliminating poverty and illiteracy to achieve development and social justice. The reform bulletin has 11 points that embraces democracy based on f ree and direct voting to achieve the Islamic concept ofshura, which includes pluralism, rotation of power, accountability, fighting corruption and achieving transparency, respect of the three Abrahamic religions, and underlining the idea that there is no theocracy in Islam. TheAzhar Reform Bulletinof June 2011 emphasizes quality education, f reedom of thinking, and full respect of human rights and the rights of women and children. Among the major highlights of the document is full respect of counter opinions and the need to dialogue. The reform bulletin emphasizes mutual respect between citizens based on equality in terms of rights and duties. Fall 2012 Shaker 297 The Qur‘anic message is inspirational as indicated in verse (49:13) “O human- kind, we created you f rom a male and a female, and then rendered you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other. Truly, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the most righteous.” Another dimension for today’s discussion isthe growing literature on what is known as “Islamic women’s activism,” which addresses larger issues about women’s role, f rom being knowledgeable in religion toplaying an active level in analysis and interpreting. While facing many local and global challenges, women are moving beyond patriarchal protection and are forming what is becoming known as an “Islamic galaxy” of knowledge through the Internet, which Asma Barlas (2005) describes as “globalizing equality.” In her chapter, “Globalizing Equality: Muslim Women, Theology, and Feminism,” the scholar argues the need to ensure equality for women, wherever they live, by establishing a project that enable women’s access to education, jobs, or information technologies, as well as enables Muslims to under- stand the equal rights of women in theQur‘anand the social justice for all human beings in the totality of their existence across the public–private continuum. Barlas argues against a simplistic view of information technology as the agent of democracy in Muslim societies. Whether we agree with this argument or refute it, the most important change in our twenty-first century dialogue is understanding the complex nature of the societies we are addressing in light of the season’s changes in the Arab world; and the social network and mass media impact; and how to use technology to help women and men overcome the disease of ignorance and illiteracy. As we look at the impact of all these worldwide changes, we need to highlight education, reaching the rural areas and raising public awareness to the importance of educating girls and boys as national causes adopted and owned by each person inthe community. When you educate a girl, then you have educated a village. Indeed, as much as transnational feminism matters, because of its significance in raising global awareness of what is happening in many Muslim societies, such as “sisters in Islam” of Malaysia, yet change in conservative societies needs to happen f rom within because of cultural sensitivities. Also, Western feminist dialogue may not always match or fit with Muslim societies. As much as dialogue is needed, it has to match the religious and cultural ideals of different societies, with an understanding of the importance of the heritage and pride of Muslim women and men. The question is how to transform religious progressive thoughts and proper interpretation of theQur‘anto the masses. The prominent Egyptian poet, Hafez Ibrahim, wrote in the 1940s that a mother is a school, an institution; empower her, and you empower a great nation. Then the riddle is solved. What is needed is quality education that can empower and f ree the spirit. It is not the constitutions that f ree people, but it is the spirit of the awakening and f reedom and dignity within the young women and men that will rekindle the light to achieve national goals of f reedom on equal footing. After all, let us all remember the words of my inspirational mentor, Digest of Middle East Studies Viewpoint: Dialogue to Bridge the Gap… 298 Helen Keller, “It is only through experiences of living and suffering and crossing the path of education can the soul be strengthened and success be achieved.” References Al-Azhar Reform Bulletin. (2011, June). Cairo, Egypt. Al-Ghazali Harb, M. (1981).Istiqlal al-mar’ah fil Islam (Independence of women in Islam). Cairo, Egypt. Barlas, A. (2005). Globalizing equality: Muslim women, theology, and feminism. In F. Nouraie- Simone (Ed.),On shifting ground: Muslim women in the global era(pp. 91–110). New York: Feminist Press & City University of New York. Esposito, J. (1992).The Islamic threat, myth or reality?New York: Oxford University Press. United Nations Development Program (UNDP). (2006).Arab human development report: Towards the rise of women in the Arab world. Geneva: UNDP. Fall 2012 Shaker 299 Copyright of DOMES: Digest of Middle East Studies is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.




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