Muslim Women Reformers by Ida Lichter

Title: Muslim Women Reformers
Author:Ida Lichter
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Source: Lisa Roe, Online Publicist

Muslim Women Reformers by Ida Lichter
Lichter has written an informative book which can serve several purposes:

  • Educate the reader about how a country can allow religious law to override government law or politicize religion.
  • Provide a resource to readers of fiction and non-fiction books to read.  (Several of the profiled women are writers.)
  • Provide a resource of non-Western movies to watch. (Some of the profiled women are directors.)
  • It can be a dialogue starting point between women and men, Muslims and non-Muslims, or members of a political science class.

I was surprised by the similarities between the issues and the attempts to make them better.  For example, countries with high illiteracy rates focus on medical care/domestic violence services for women and teaching them how to read.  Countries with high literacy rates try to publicize women’s legal rights, teach job skills or how to open a business.  I knew standards weren’t the same for men and women in many of these countries but I was shocked to learn (a few countries in the book) nationality is another way in which men and women are treated differently. 

Men who marry foreigners or women of other religions are seen as spreading the faith so their children have all the rights that come with his nationality.  When women marry foreigners or outside their faith, the children don’t carry the nationality of their birthplace, can be kept from inheritances, and so on.  It sounds so… alien to me. 

Bahrain, Egypt, and Libya have been in the news recently and I can’t help but wonder how the work of these activists will adapt to the new changes.

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