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Between Feminism and Islam

Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco

2011
Author:

Zakia Salime

Between Feminism and Islam

How feminists and Islamists have constituted each other’s agendas in Morocco

Morocco has two major women’s movements: the Islamists who hold shari’a as the platform for building a culture of women’s rights, and the feminists who use the United Nations’ framework to amend shari’a law. Zakia Salime shows how the interactions of these movements over the past two decades have transformed the debates, the organization, and the strategies of each other.

Between Feminism and Islam challenges the common assumption in the media and the academy that Islamism and feminism are quintessentially opposed ideologies. Through a careful sociological and ethnographic account of Moroccan feminist and Islamist women’s organizations, Zakia Salime shows how the two have transformed each other through decades of activism, debate, and engagement. This is an indispensable book for sociologists of gender, religion, politics, feminism, the Middle East, and Islam.

Saba Mahmood, author of Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject

There are two major women’s movements in Morocco: the Islamists who hold shari’a as the platform for building a culture of women’s rights, and the feminists who use the United Nations’ framework to amend shari’a law. Between Feminism and Islam shows how the interactions of these movements over the past two decades have transformed the debates, the organization, and the strategies of each other.

In Between Feminism and Islam, Zakia Salime looks at three key movement moments: the 1992 feminist One Million Signature Campaign, the 2000 Islamist mass rally opposing the reform of family law, and the 2003 Casablanca attacks by a group of Islamist radicals. At the core of these moments are disputes over legitimacy, national identity, gender representations, and political negotiations for shaping state gender policies. Located at the intersection of feminism and Islam, these conflicts have led to the Islamization of feminists on the one hand and the feminization of Islamists on the other.

Documenting the synergistic relationship between these movements, Salime reveals how the boundaries of feminism and Islamism have been radically reconfigured. She offers a new conceptual framework for studying social movements, one that allows us to understand how Islamic feminism is influencing global debates on human rights.

Between Feminism and Islam

Zakia Salime is assistant professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University.

Between Feminism and Islam

Between Feminism and Islam challenges the common assumption in the media and the academy that Islamism and feminism are quintessentially opposed ideologies. Through a careful sociological and ethnographic account of Moroccan feminist and Islamist women’s organizations, Zakia Salime shows how the two have transformed each other through decades of activism, debate, and engagement. This is an indispensable book for sociologists of gender, religion, politics, feminism, the Middle East, and Islam.

Saba Mahmood, author of Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject

This balanced and informative analysis of the decades long entanglements between secular feminists and Islamist women activists in Morocco is a radical departure from conventional understandings of a polarized political scene. Salime reveals how political actors have responded to and learned from each other, changing strategies, ideologies, and visions, putting the debates and practices of women activists in dynamic historical time and changing world contexts, including the war on terror.

Lila Abu-Lughod, author of Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East

The book is a wonderful study of religion, politics, feminism and the Middle East.

Amos Lassen

Salime’s examination is an irrefutably timely contribution to the study of social movements in North Africa and constitutes a crucial rupture in less discerning discussions of both feminist and Islamist social movements in the region. Contemporary fears about the cooptation of popular movements to the service of supposedly draconian Islamist-inspired social policy ought to be somewhat assuaged by Salime’s analysis. Her conceptualization of “movement moments” offers scholars a useful way to analyze movement histories, encounters, and exchanges. The salient position gender occupies in dialogues regarding nation-state citizenship, processes of democratization, and modernity continues to constitute a fruitful site to undertake this significant work.

Mobilization

[Between Feminism and Islam] will make a lasting impact on the way that gender equality in Morocco is studied, because it challenges conventional ways of interpreting and understanding the relationship between the liberal feminist and Islamist movements.

The Cantaloupe Tales blog

A thoughtful and detailed sociological analysis of two decades of women’s activism in Morocco, this book is an engaging work of scholarship, particularly useful for those studying social movements, gender politics, feminism, Islam, and the Middle East.

Anthropos

Zakia Salime’s Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law
in Morocco
makes a particularly valuable intervention in the study of social
movements.

Feminist Formations

Between Feminism and Islam

Contents

Introduction: Struggles over Political Power: Entangled Feminist and Islamist Movements
1. Gender and the Nation State: Family Law, Scholars, Activists, and Dissidents
2. Feminization of the Islamist Movements: The One Million Signature Campaign
3. Reversing the Feminist Gains: The Islamist Mass Rally of 2000
4. Feminism and Islamism Redefined: In Light of the 2003 Terror Attack on Casablanca
5. Subversive Veiling: Beyond the Binary of the Secular and the Religious

Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

Between Feminism and Islam

UMP blog - Libya's declared adherence to Sharia law: What does it mean?

Should the West worry about Mustapha Abdul-Jalil’s declaration that Libya shall embrace Sharia law?

As a feminist scholar who has also written on feminist debates about women’s rights in the Islamic Sharia, I am feeling very disturbed by both his statement and the alarming messages that follow in Western media.

Read the full article.