B1 Intermediate US 103743 Folder Collection
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In recent months, a number of groups have promoted misconceptions about Muslim beliefs.
In particular, broad generalizations about the treatment of women in the Muslim world
have been widely used to paint Islam as brutal or inhumane.
But for many of the world’s one and a half billion Muslim men and women, this does not ring true.
So, what does the Western world often get wrong about women in Islam?
To start, public debate in the west often characterizes women in Islam as subordinate to men
and in some ways, inferior as a result of Islamic scripture.
Men having multiple wives, women being forced to wear facial coverings, and not allowed to leave the home are often
used as examples of such oppression. Many believe that Islam’s holy book, the Quran,
dictates these rules, and is thus inseparable from the values of Islam.
But this is not quite true. While there are, in fact, Quranic verses which say that men
are “in charge” of women, the Quran also stresses fairness and justice towards women.
For example, although polygamy is often justified by a passage in the Quran, that same passage
says, “if you fear that you will not be able to maintain justice between your wives,
then marry only one.” Values concerning the respect of women in the Quran are often
overlooked in interpretation and practice.
Moreover, the overwhelming majority of “rules” found in Muslim majority countries which are
oppressive to women do not have a direct basis in the Quran.
Instead, they are the result of rulings by Muslim jurists since the 10th century, long after the death of the prophet
Muhammad, and the writing of the Quran. A closer look at the inequality women face in
certain countries shows that it is not Islam, or Islamic teaching which promote oppression,
but oppressive governments using religion to maintain control over their people.
One frequent example is Saudi Arabia, where women suffer from some of the worst inequality in the world.
Their prohibition from driving, or leaving the home without a chaperone, comes
up again and again in the media. But Saudi Arabian oppression extends to many other groups,
including minorities, and even other sects of Islam.
And those rules against women driving aren’t found in any other country.
In other words, oppression in Saudi Arabia is largely a problem with Saudi Arabia, not with Islam.
Meanwhile, Muslim women in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia see considerably greater
freedom, and higher rates of education, while keeping within Muslim tradition.
In Indonesia, women have a roughly 90% literacy rate, as compared to Pakistan where the rate is closer to 40%
These more liberal countries are marked by greater democracy, and a blend of cultural influences from other religions.
For Muslim women living outside of politically unstable monarchies and theocracies, life is considerably better.
And while passages within the Quran do place women in a somewhat deferential role to men,
that is arguably also the case in all three Abrahamic religions, including Christianity and Judaism.
And in all cases, the real issue is governments and movements that build control around religion.
It is important to understand that the repression
of women is not simply a factor of extremest Islam, but of extremism as a whole.
But women are fighting back, both against repressive governments and Western misunderstanding.
Check out this video by Seeker Stories
to learn about how women in France are taking back the veil.
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What The West Gets Wrong About Muslim Women

103743 Folder Collection
gotony5614.me97 published on March 1, 2016    Dennis Wang translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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