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Islam and Feminism - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Islam and Feminism Feminism is comprised of ideologies and movements for economic, political and social equality for women and, from this abstract definition, three components can be derived from the concept of feminism. Being a movement, it implies groups that work towards accomplishing specific objectives; the objectives, by virtue of their political and social nature, mean that the groups must engage laws, governments and social beliefs and practices; and, the achievement of the objectives must be facilitated by sufficient access to information that will enable feminists arrive at responsible choices…
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Islam and Feminism
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"Islam and Feminism"

Download file to see previous pages Viewed as a Western ideology, feminism has both differences and similarities between Middle Eastern Muslim feminists and Western feminists, as well as third-wave feminism. Feminism is largely triggered by cultural and traditional factors and may not be fully compatible with Islam, and many groups are split as to whether Muslim feminists are trying to achieve human rights or their feminist rights like Western women. This paper will research and discuss these aspects of feminism by analyzing Duygu Asena, who was a Turkish Muslim feminist, hence the thesis: Feminism is a Western ideology and it is not compatible with Islam. Even though there is a group that understands and advocates the rights of Muslim women, there is another that hates feminism as an ideology of the Western world that is only concerned with female superiority. It is worth noting that feminism, in the sense of a Universalist faith, gained momentum in the 19th century, with the concept emerging from the Western world. It has links with the French Revolution, during which women wanted to be considered as having the full status of citizens. In the Middle East and Muslim world in general, feminist movements appeared as women acquired literacy. Asena become an iconic as well as controversial figure in Turkey following her calls to women to escape from oppression, which she likened to a vicious circle. She urged women to fight for their equal rights with men and seek employment as a step towards freedom (Alemdar 1). In Turkey, being a predominantly Islamic nation, this was perceived by most, particularly the authorities, as a contradiction. Her role in feminism may generally have taken a diversion from what feminism in the Middle East has been focusing on. Feminism in the Middle East has basically had an emphasis on women’s role in Islam, targeting full equality in both private and public life for all Muslim faithful irrespective of gender. The rights they advocate for are founded on Islamic law, also known as Sharia. Feminist ideologies in the Middle East are inspired mainly by faith. Although Islamic feminists in the Middle East are fierce advocates for legislative interpretations and reforms that represent contemporary understanding of gender equality, they also embrace their Islamic faith strongly. However, more recently, Middle East Islamic feminists are also applying secular ideologies in their discourses, albeit strategically, having acknowledged the role played by Islamic feminism as an integral part of the feminist movement globally. This aspect creates the underlying similarity between the ideologies of the Middle East feminism and Western feminism movements. Feminism may be viewed as a global trend, but its uniqueness to every culture must also be appreciated. Western feminist’s ideologies are fundamentally different from those of the Middle East, and indeed most other parts of the world, because of the values on which the movements are formed. Being secular, most of the Western feminist ideologies stem from Western thoughts, principles and traditions. Western attitudes, which are mostly Christian and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Beyond what might be propagated in mainstream media, the mainstream Islamic religion does promote equality for all Muslim people, regardless of their gender or social background. It can be said, however, that modern day (or secular) feminist movements have attempted to move the people of the Islamic faith towards a different view of women’s rights more in line with European thought (Abou El Fadl, 2007).
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