Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

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Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

Post  guest... on Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:12 pm

“This book seeks answers to the questions that presented themselves to me with such force after 9/11 when popular concern about Muslim women’s rights took off. As an anthropologist who had spent decades living in communities in the Middle East, I was uncomfortable with disjunction between the lives and experiences of Muslim women I had known and the popular media representations I encountered in the Western public sphere, the politically motivated justifications for military intervention on behalf of Muslim women that became common sense, and even the well-meaning humanitarian and rights work intended to relieve global women’s suffering. What worldly effects were these concerns having on different women? And how might we take responsibility for distant women’s circumstances and possibilities in what is clearly an interconnected global world, instead of viewing them as victims of alien cultures? This book is about the ethics and politics of the global circulation of discourses on Muslim women’s rights.”


Frequent reports of honor killings, disfigurement, and sensational abuse have given rise to a consensus in the West, a message propagated by human rights groups and the media: Muslim women need to be rescued. Lila Abu-Lughod boldly challenges this conclusion. An anthropologist who has been writing about Arab women for thirty years, she delves into the predicaments of Muslim women today, questioning whether generalizations about Islamic culture can explain the hardships these women face and asking what motivates particular individuals and institutions to promote their rights.

In recent years Abu-Lughod has struggled to reconcile the popular image of women victimized by Islam with the complex women she has known through her research in various communities in the Muslim world. Here, she renders that divide vivid by presenting detailed vignettes of the lives of ordinary Muslim women, and showing that the problem of gender inequality cannot be laid at the feet of religion alone. Poverty and authoritarianism—conditions not unique to the Islamic world, and produced out of global interconnections that implicate the West—are often more decisive. The standard Western vocabulary of oppression, choice, and freedom is too blunt to describe these women’s lives.

Do Muslim Women Need Saving? is an indictment of a mindset that has justified all manner of foreign interference, including military invasion, in the name of rescuing women from Islam—as well as a moving portrait of women’s actual experiences, and of the contingencies with which they live.

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674725164

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Re: Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

Post  Bert Assirati on Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:21 pm

Foreign interference....???

Perhaps Muslims should leave their barbaric faith at customs when moving to a new country.

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