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Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression [Hardcover]

by Ida Lichter
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 26, 2009 1591027160 978-1591027164
In a world where the strident demands of Islamic extremists capture the media’s attention, the courageous protests of Muslim reformers barely receive any notice. These include a surprising number of women who are prepared to challenge institutionalized persecution, risking derision, arrest, physical harm, and even death.

In this inspiring compilation of Muslim women’s stories from around the world, the voices of these long-oppressed women ring loud and clear as they question ideology and culture, patriarchal and religious beliefs, and demand the social and political rights women lack in many Muslim countries. The reformers speak out with passion, humanity, and sometimes humor in these compact and often poignant biographies, bringing alive the harsh realities for women in many parts of the world.

By surveying a wide range of Muslim reformers, not only in the Middle East but also in Europe and North America, author Ida Lichter uncovers some significant emerging trends. For example, she notes that the majority of Muslim feminists would like to see reform contained within Islam. Many criticize their patriarchal culture for suppressing egalitarian views that they believe the Koran expresses and so they advocate a reinterpretation of the holy text. Some demand changes to discriminatory Sharia-based laws. Others campaign openly for political and educational reforms.

Complete with a glossary and a list of helpful Web sites, this vibrant anthology makes use of reliable translations from original languages to demonstrate the groundswell of grassroots change that promises eventually to bring even the most conservative sectors of Islam into the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ida Lichter, MD, is a psychiatrist who lives in Sydney, Australia.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 513 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591027160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591027164
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,562,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ida Lichter, MD (Surry Hills, NSW, Australia), is a psychiatrist who has been an honorary research assistant for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insightful Portrait of Woman's Rights February 20, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dr. Ida Lichter's book Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression is an extraodinary portrait of Muslim women around the globe and their courageous and chilling experiences. Writing with powerful elegance, she provides each story with a powerful and thought-provoking message. Capturing the heroic actions of each of the women profiled with an in-depth analysis of their day-to-day challenges, Dr. Lichter gives voice to their spirit with sensitivity, compassion and insight.
Take, for instance, Barakzai from Afghanistan who successfully campaigned for a seat in Parliament. Or Yanar Mohammed who cofounded the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq and has contributed to speaking up for women's rights and equality. Rania Al-Baz in Saudi Arabia worked to bring national attention to battered Saudi women after her own husband beat her unconscious following an argument. Each of the stories contained in this book provide insight into a better understanding of their world.
I loved this authentic and scholarly book. Each struggle captivated, intrigued, horrified, amazed and ultimately gave me a sense of hope for equal rights for all women. Dr. Lichter humanized their struggles with frankness and dignity. This is a must read for everyone who is interested in human rights, particularly those women who risked their own lives to speak out for freedom, justice and equality.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative and highly readable July 3, 2011
When I first browsed through the book, all I saw was too much information. Just from the index I could tell that there were too many countries and too many reformers from each country. I thought it would be an overload and I would finish the book without knowledge about anything in particular.

But how wrong I was. After reading the book I can still say it has lot of information but everything is so nicely structured that I could go read it in sections without getting overwhelmed. It was definitely not an overload and I could tell how important it was to include as many reformers as possible. I would feel bad if even a single among them was excluded and I feel there was still room for more.

Every countries section begins with a brief but concise history of the reformation with how the countries past and present has affected the position of the women for better or for worse. Under each country we have the information on different women reformers and the work they have done and are still doing for the betterment of women. It also lists the awards won and books written if any and the various organizations that are working towards a single goal-the betterment of women.

I found Muslim Women Reformers an awesome resource on the work done by women from different Muslim countries. Although every country has it's own laws, one thing remains common-the exploitation of Muslim women in the name of Islam. The problem is combining religion and politics and hence the misinterpretation of religion to achieve the political goals. Since most of these politicians are men, they use Islam as a way to keep women out from what they consider their territory. But women are learning to interpret Islam the correct way which is helping in fighting with these fundamentalists.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Subject June 5, 2011
In Muslim Women Reformers, Ida Lichter does an exhaustive survey of the state of Muslim womens' rights in countries around the world and profiles women and organizations in each country working on the issues. While there is some degree of suppression of womens' rights in each country as compared to Western countries, there are differences with some countries completely restrictive while some have started work on the issues.

The book covers the mid-Eastern countries that the reader would expect, but also covers Muslim women's rights and struggles in African countries as well as countries such as the United States and Canada. The range of issues is wide. Women are often considered legally half the worth of a man. Honor killings are tolerated in some countries. Education is a major issue in all the countries, as the reformers realise that without an educated female population, it is unlikely that reform will occur. Female circumsion is very common in some Muslim countries, less so in others. In some countries, focus has been concentrated on items as seemingly prosaic as a woman's right to drive a car. While this is a commonplace right in Western societies, it is not as accepted in many countries. There are issues with driving uncovered; taking a driver's license picture, and the ability to travel without male supervision.

The women who have been highlighted are heroes. They have given up employment, been imprisoned, forced to live in secretcy, and even tortued. Yet, they continue the fight, and slowly, slowly they are making changes. Some are adamently opposed to Islam. Others are devout Muslims who believe that the religion has been misinterpreted by male clerics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves the absolute highest recommendation October 16, 2009
Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression is a scholarly yet heart-rending anthology of portraits of Muslim women who dare to speak out against discrimination and violence perpetrated against women in Islamic communities in nations all over the globe, from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, and many more - even some Muslim communities in more western or modern nations such as France or Egypt. "Background" sections briefly summarize the severity of each nation's local religious policies where women are concerned; in extreme cases are incidents of "honor killings", where women are murdered by male relatives - allegedly for bringing dishonor to the family, but in practice often for the slightest ill rumor, or even as a cold-blooded means to steal an inheritance. The women who dare to speak out and take action in "Muslim Women Reformers" risk slander, attack, or even murder for daring to take a stand; yet even as they struggle against an entrenched, misogynist, theocratic power base, they hold out hope for a better tomorrow. Muslim Women Reformers deserves the absolute highest recommendation, and a place on both public and college library women's studies shelves.
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