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A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America Paperback – June 5, 2012


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A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America + Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate + Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 5.6.2012 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300181434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300181432
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A Quiet Revolution is an exceptional study of women in Islam. Their story is a remarkable one, and Leila Ahmed tells it with grace and understanding." (Joseph Preville, Time Out) "...an acute study of how issues of political power and empire interact with women's own claims to autonomy within families and communities." (Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian) "clear and compelling" (Rachel Aspden, The Observer)"

About the Author

Leila Ahmed was the first professor of Women's Studies in Religion at Harvard University and is now the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity at the university's Divinity School. She is the author of Women and Gender in Islam and A Border Passage: From Cairo to America - A Woman's Journey.

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Customer Reviews

Anyone can pick up the book and read it.
Katerina Lucas
It was interesting in reading the history of the Brotherhood and its influence on US Muslim organizations like the Muslim Student Association and ISNA.
Mayflower Girl
While the title's subject was intriguing, the scope of the book is actually (and pleasantly) much broader.
Laura

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Laura on July 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up by chance at my local bookstore. While the title's subject was intriguing, the scope of the book is actually (and pleasantly) much broader. The book covers basic Egyptian history starting around the British occupation to the present, the various political and religious movements on the scene (particularly the Muslim Brotherhood), and the influence of Saudi Arabia and the West. These factors serve as context for the unveiling and veiling trends. The book also addresses women in Islam more generally, Muslim associations in America, and American Muslims that are advancing gender equality. The writing style is excellent, making the book an engrossing and easy read. While I would recommend the book as a well-argued thesis for the veil's resurgence, as Ahmed admits, individual women's reasons for wearing the veil vary. So if you are wondering why Muslim women you know are wearing the veil, I would suggest asking them!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By LJK on July 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This valuable book is far broader than its title suggests. I recommend it highly for anyone who is interested in women in Islam or Islamism, and is willing to read a well-written scholarly book.

Ahmed grew up in Egypt and now teaches at the Harvard Divinity School, and she started with the question of why more women are wearing hijab now than a generation ago, in the United States and around the world. Answering this question led her not only to exploring the multiple reasons individual women offer for wearing and not wearing different forms of veils, but also to writing an extremely helpful history of Islamism in Egypt, where the Islamic Brotherhood was founded in the 1920s, and the United States, where Islamism-influenced women are now at the forefront of challenging gender hierarchies and misogyny. Islamism, according to Ahmed, defines the quest for social justice as near the core of Islam and Muslim practice. Traditional forms of Islam, in contrast, tend to have a more personal, spiritual, and ethical focus. Because Islamism urges its members towards organization and activism, and because of financial support from Saudi Arabia, Islamism has grown rapidly and is increasingly able to define itself as "true" Islam. Islamism has changed the symbolic meaning of hijab, and for many Islamist women, wearing hijab now signifies their commitment to social justice. In the 1970s the leadership of the Islamic Brotherhood repudiated violence as a means for achieving their goals, but not all Islamists agreed with them and some broke away to create militant groups, which are a small minority but more likely to make the news than the peaceful Islamist mainstream. Most American Muslim institutions have Islamist roots, but most American Muslims are not Islamist.
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Format: Paperback
I was really pleasantly surprised by Dr. Ahmed's book, "A Quiet Revolution." It really is much more than a history of hijab's resurgence in Egypt (as well as the Muslim community at large). It gives an extremely detailed and accurate history of the Muslim Brotherhood, which to my surprise, is often as it was characterized to me by my Egyptian husband--a mainly charitable organization which did renounce violence years ago. (It's the splinter groups which tend to be responsible for the violence.) Really important reading with the upcoming elections in Egypt.

It's important to note that the Muslim Brotherhood is also a group whose leaders were exiled...and who often went to Saudi and the other Gulf countries where they were influenced by the more strict Wahabi-brand of Islam which they then brought back to Egypt (and as well as the US).

The first part of the book was truly fascinating. The US actually supported the MB and increased religious-focus of Egyptians because they didn't want Egypt to "go the other way" and become Socialist/Communist. The Muslim Brotherhood had a long term goal in mind...looking at 13 year increments...and they never wanted to impose anything on society. Rather, their goal was to gradually educate society so that they would see things the way the Muslim Brotherhood did--and follow their Brand of Islam. Their focus was often on charity projects--hospitals, schools, day cares--providing services that were better than could be had from the government/private sector. Brilliant.

That's something which disturbs many Muslims as it has become the dominant form of Islam practiced/preached--mainly due to Saudi money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katerina Lucas on December 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who would like to watch Leila Ahmed talk about her book followed by other renown scholars on Islam and feminism please see here: [...]
I bought this book and read within two days. Afterwards, I lend it to other friends all of whom are scholars of religion or are otherwise linked to the topics connected to religion and culture. Everyone liked it and thought that Ahmed presents an intriguing argument.

Anyone can pick up the book and read it. Not just academics. Though the author does not shy away from the depth of academic thought.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nachi on March 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this book was going to concentrate more on the hijab subject, but what it mainly talks about is the history of Egypt's colonization and the Muslim brotherhood. I feel that it barely talks about the hijab revolution as it says. I am happy to be able to understand more about Egypts developement, but don't think this book has the correct name.
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