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Islamic Women’s Revolt

There is some agreement among my friends that one of the problems with our understanding of the Qur’an and Hadith is that all the interpreters for the past fourteen centuries have been men.

Another problem in Arab societies is arrogance of power, cruelty for its own sake. Call this the pharaonic mindset, displayed in abundance by our friend Hosni Mubarak.

So will Nadia Yessine save Islam from macho intepretations, and be the political messiah of the Arab world?

    It’s time to wean women away from the “barbus” [bearded men]. We’re urging the sisters—that’s what we call ourselves here—to reread the Qur’an with fresh eyes, to give it a subversive reading. In that way, they will call into question the mistaken and macho visions they’ve been implanted with. We’re forming spiritual beings who, tomorrow, will become the engines of social action.

This quote is from Quand le Maroc sera Islamiste (When Morocco Becomes Islamist) an adventurous work whose spare black, green and red cover reminds me of a militant tract from a generation ago, perhaps The Society of the Spectacle or The Anarchist Cookbook.

Comments

Comment from Youssef {BO18}
Time: March 2, 2007, 06:04

I hope an english translation comes out . If not, I will read it anyhow, because the book turned into some kind of buzzword.

But another booktip, this none about islamism, feminism and politics. “Politics of piety” by Saba Mahmood , the quote in your post coudl’ve been easy found in this book.
A very thorough examination of feminism among egyptian female islamists and how it collides and works along with secular-liberal feminism.

Comment from Jill
Time: March 2, 2007, 07:00

Eatbees – have you read or seen “Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an” by Asma Barlas? Also really excellent reading on the subject.

I too hope an English translation comes out, but will read the French, albeit slowly, anyway.

Comment from Youssef {BO18}
Time: March 2, 2007, 08:08

Oh, after 3 ahwas and having re-read my comments, I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t comment before my first coffee and cigarette.

None=one
Coudl’ve=could have

Comment from Jill
Time: March 2, 2007, 08:38

First coffee and cigarette – daroray! SO important.

Comment from eatbees
Time: March 2, 2007, 13:41

Jill, thanks for the recomendation. I don’t know the book and will check it out. (My mother is particularly intersted in this subject for some reason, though she’s not religious in any way.)

It seems like there is no shortage of feminist writers on Islam and Islamic culture — Kenza has also recommended some — though I suppose what is unique about Nadia Yessine is that she comes from deep within the heart of an actual Islamist movement. Some would say her use of feminism is manipulative, but it is sincere — and I can’t help getting a kick out of her wiseass proclamations on nearly any subject.

Youssef, as long as it’s just a couple of typos that I missed myself (I haven’t had my coffee yet either) — as long as there’s nothing in the ideas expressed that you want to flush down the memory hole — I would say don’t sweat it. Though I suppose it’s like going to meet friends with your hair all funny and not realizing it until you see yourself in the window just a few steps away from the rendezvous….

Comment from Youssef {BO18}
Time: March 2, 2007, 18:37

I have to say that I have a “weak spot” “for Nadia Yassine (how evil her movement may be)

You can’t deny that she’s original, vocal and very media-savvy. Something thats quite unique in the political world of Morocco.
And she looks like my mother! (I find that intimidating actually)

@ Eatbees
Well I myself get distracted by typos very quickly. I’m a perfectionist ( most of the time)

Comment from Azegzaw (bouba)
Time: March 3, 2007, 03:33

@yossef you got a point, Nadia is more than a regular islamist. She carries a version that is more appealing to feminist thought of modern morocco… and talks about it is french and through the internet. she is one of the most francophone people in her movement.

@Eatbees, I like Jill’s book recommendation. I read a few chapters and found it a better way of shaking patriarchy. actually as Housin Marwa( libanan) says it would have meant nothing if it came 100 years later. Arabs of Arabia would have already done it. he means things islam rushed. Arabs in time have always thought within Patriarchy and it was impossible to create a text that could challenge the ways Mekka aristocracy thought. Although historical narratives showed it was socially challenging and it was a revolution. I would contextually agree but as it all spread,
Women’s status was repressed a little more as is the case of almaghreb for instance.
Alafif Lakhdar (see memri.com), a Tunisian professor living in France (!), talked long time ago about the “Aicha Complex” , his book -though small- was banned in morocco. He says during the Jamal (camel) battle. Aicha against Ali, she stood back on a camel while her army faced Ali’s. all Muslims. To push her army to engage more she tore her dress. Chest area. her breasts showed. Soldiers were ashamed. She was the prophets wife, one who was promised heaven. They could not believe it. now for Lakhdar there is this story somewhere in the arab psyche. Even if it is absent from the standard
This remained a whole in history of islam. Lakhdar knew how to dig it out and study it. patriarchy breathes monotheism like History breads men’s lies.
I agree with the re-reading the Koran from this perspective but it is always going to be from inside the text and inside he Arabic language. most interpretations work from the authorized version that Imam Othman died for.
I wonder if Nadia knows where is the Amazigh ( Berber) translation of the 9th C. and why did it take Jouhadi 12 years to get his book published.( translation of meanings of the holly Koran, in Tamazight).
(please excuse typos it is 3:30, no coffee left)

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