Islamic Feminism

Women in Islamic faith have been the oppressed and ignored for the majority of the past centuries. The attitudes towards women in Islamic countries have been negative and scornful to say the least. In recent news, a documentary has been released regarding “violence against Muslim women including genital mutilation and honor killings”. According to this film, four girls are circumcised every 60 seconds…and 13 females are murdered every day in the name of honor”. So why is this happening? Why are women “brutalized and abused” and oppressed by Islamic society so much? Women are “not on the agenda now”, as ruled recently in Pakistan, under the Council of Islamic Ideology, that according the sharia law, “rape victims can’t use DNA evidence alone to prove their case; instead they have to rely on the evidence of four witnesses”. Islamic faith is regressing for women, treating them as lesser beings and Patriarchal structures have misinterpreted the Quran, for “the main message of the Quran is about Islamic justice…about human rights…” and due to men being in charge of interpretation, that meaning has been lost along the way to the present age. And Muslim women are not the only ones suffering from this. Girls and teenagers are victims of acid-burnings and casual occurrences of rape and murder as well. An example of this is Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head for attempting to pursue an education. She exemplifies Islamic feminism, showing that women can still follow the faith but have a voice and be treated as human beings, which opposes the current Islamic train of thought today. She is fighting back against the ideology that declares a woman’s existence weak and “un-Islamic”. What’s really interesting is that the current feminist wave in America and other developing nations has not really touched upon this new sharia law, nor have they voiced their support for women against honor killings and female genital mutilation. It is women like Malala who have understood that while feminism is becoming a world wide phenomenon, she must take the first step in applying it to the Islamic faith.
-Lananh Nguyen
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