Melbourne University Press
Publication Date – 1st May 2017
I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, This book was written to quash to (un)truisms about Muslim women: the first, that women are always oppressed by their religion; and, secondly, that women’s liberation can only come through the rejection of Islam. The writer, a western convert to the faith, speaks of people’s reactions to her research, outlining how they would inevitably think that, when she told them that she would be researching women and Islam, she would be talking of victimisation and oppression. They would assume that any activism would take the shape of a rejection of Islam. In the face of this, the author has interviewed Muslim women from; Australia, North America, and Egypt who fight oppression from the inside of their faith, using Islam and Islamic scriptures as a tool in their struggle.
Her interviewees speak of; their relationship to their religion, use of Islamic scripture within their fight for equality, the attitudes of other Muslims, their treatment at the hands of Islamic leaders, their feeling towards the west, their attitudes concerning feminism, and how modern day western thought and apprehensions about Islam affect their lives. These interviews give a challenging, but inspirational, view of the lives of those women fighting to gain a footing in their faith, showing that women can, and have, played a role in Islam, challenging, both; the western ideas concerning their faith and the believes, of some of the adherents of Islam, concerning the role of women. This is an academic work but is accessible to an interested non-academic reader. The writing is clear and there is an absence of academic lingo. If you have an interest in; Islam, faith, gender, activism, scripture, colonialism and/or feminism, you should read this text.