Whose liberation?

“One of the most elusive tasks I have faced at conferences has been a definition of ‘Muslim women’ from which I could lay out the terms of their suffering and, in a true pompous academic fashion, advance some proposals for their liberation. The moment the term ‘Muslim women’ is deconstructed, my argument reaches an impasse. On the other hand, incorporating it into any diatribe against misogyny, oppression and persecution threatens to reduce my argument to one where Islam is the sole culprit. More importantly, the conflation between women and Islam inadvertently lumps together close to 1 billion women from around the globe, a homogenising equation which overlooks many other contextual variables that have shaped the plight of these women.”

Salam Al-Mahadin at Comment is Free, 26 December 2007