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THE RIGHTS OF MUSLIM WOMEN: A Comment on Irene Oh's The Rights of God

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This review of Irene Oh's The Rights of God focuses on women's rights in Islamic theory and practice. Oh suggests that religious establishments, and the texts they disseminate, often press believers to recognize and reject social problems, such as racial and gender discrimination. Islamic scholars and texts have played a more ambiguous role in efforts to recognize women's rights within Muslim states. Modernist intellectuals have used Islamic texts to support the advancement of women's rights, but members of the more conservative religious establishment have typically curbed or rejected these efforts. Muslim women themselves have established various responses to the question of Islam's compatibility with women's rights. While some embrace the value and compatibility of both, others reject the propriety of either Western conceptions of rights, or the Islamic tradition, as harmful for women. Muslim reformers and feminists have much to learn from comparative studies with other faith communities that have undergone similar struggles and transformations.

Keywords: Islam; feminism; human rights; shari‘a; women's rights

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of International Relations, Mount Holyoke College

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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