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Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression First Edition Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1591027164
ISBN-10: 1591027160
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 513 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591027160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591027164
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.2 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: #2,218,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I applaud any literature that recognizes the struggles of women in the Muslim world, I had trouble with this book. I was excited about the title and reviews and book premise when I looked over the book. I ordered it and began to read, what I found disturbed me.

As an American Feminist who used to live in Saudi Arabia I can say without a doubt that the country's treatment of women is deplorable. That the religious police have way to much power and the separation and restrictions placed on women can be downright soul crushing at times. I fully believe this country and many others need change and that there are women and men working to make this happen.

However as a former resident of Saudi I also spotted the exaggerations and inaccuracies in this book. Starting with the declaration that all women are required to wear Niqab, this is simply not true. As an American I wore conservative loose clothing and occasionally an abbaya but I was not required to cover either my hair or face. Some Saudi women wore niqab, some covered even their eyes others were bare faced (though their hair was covered). Also the claims that women are relegated to poorer quality eating areas is also false. Women and families (this included young men and men married to the adult women with them) were required to sit in the "family" section, while single adult men were required to sit in the "mens" section. The family sections were significantly nicer than the "men's" section. I know because I peeked.

I recognize that the conditions described may be true in some areas of the country but they certainly are not universal or really even that common (I've been to several parts of the country and have friends in many others).
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Format: Hardcover
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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