Women in Islam (Part Two)

It follows that outright war against non-western cultures and religions is at the very heart of Western foreign relations as they currently stand. And a major instrument or tool which has been used by Western elites in this war over the course of the last few decades has been Muslim women. Another important dimension of this war against culture and religion was to make Israel look like a heavenly and idyllic place where life is all about roses and flowers. But based on the combination of written material, firsthand accounts of some scholars who have visited Israel, as well as some conversations which I have had over the years with some Jewish acquaintances and friends, the exact opposite is true. 

But to a certain extent, all women – whether Muslim or non-Muslim – have been victims of this vicious war due to the misinformation, misconceptions, and misperceptions which have been borne out of the war that has been emanating out of Western capitals against culture and religion over the course of the last few decades. In any war which has occurred through the course of human history, women, children, and the elderly have been the first to take the brunt of the war. Hence, given the “general brutality” shown towards women as a result of male-dominated politics and war throughout human history, Islam actually came about as a means to soften the general brutality. 

Thus, the condition and the overall welfare of women – as well as their instrumentalization in virtually any society – has to be seen within a broader security context that is defined largely by cultural and religious wars waged by the male gender. In turn, the condition of Muslim women – even down to its minutia involving education and veiling and so forth – has to be assessed and accounted for through a juxtaposition of their condition with a modern history defined and shaped in large part by Western colonialism and Western cultural hegemony. History is now transitioning from a centuries-long period defined by Western colonialism and cultural hegemony to one that is being shaped by cultural diffusion as a result of globalization and technology. And as we are seeing in the United States, this transition has now gone as far as impacting the condition of American women, as evinced by the nullification and reversal of Roe v. Wade and so forth.

History shows that women are largely bound and interlocked to the perpetuation and survival of a particular cultural and social identity or ‘sense of belonging.’ Autonomous and emancipated women are usually the exception to the rule rather than the norm in any society. Socioeconomic status also plays an important role in distinguishing the condition of one woman from that of another woman. In Iran, for instance, the status of women is “paradoxical” to borrow from one scholar. Essentially, there is a “pre-revolution” status and a “post-revolution” status to account for when assessing the status of women in Iran. The “pre-revolution” status, as one author argued, had the appearance of emancipation and freedom but the reality of a male-dominated and patriarchal system, whereas the “post-revolution” status has the appearance of religion and repression but the reality of advancements in women’s education and women’s welfare. Hence, as with any other issue, the issue of women’s rights also has to be assessed and viewed within a broader intellectual paradigm or structure based on an odd combination of complexity and paradox. 

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