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This timely collection of essays explores what is meant by the term 'Islamic feminism,' a phrase used to define a world-wide contemporary movement of scholars and activists engaged in effecting a reconciliation between the terms 'Islam' and 'feminism' by advocating a normative gender equality within an explicitly Islamic discursive framework. Broadly speaking, this group of scholars is developing a feminist re-interpretive schema of scriptural sources and is heralding such developments as having the capacity to effect radical change in the reconfiguration of gendered social and political rights as well as in Islamic law, or Shari'a. Such debates are taking place both amongst diasporic Muslim communities in the 'West' as well as in the Muslim world, primarily in the domains of law, culture and religion. Consequently, this collection adopts a multi-disciplinary approach and includes contributors from the areas of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Women's Studies, political science, anthropology and sociology, as well as law.
Many of the contributors are leading internationally-known scholars in this field - from Africa, Europe and North America - as well as newer scholars exploring issues often outside the purview of mainstream Islam such as Sufi Islam. The contributors engage with pressing and diverse issues including the often problematic relationship between two legal cultures: Shari'a, and secular state legal systems; the connection between Shari'a provisions on women's rights and human rights norms; the nature of authority and who possesses the right to interpret scriptural sources in Islam; and the question of whether Islamic feminism provides an indigenous alternative to secular or 'Western' feminism - and if so, whether 'feminism' is the appropriate term.