Islamic feminists key to anti-terrorism

// 19 July 2005

Further to Louise’s post below about the London bombings, on Friday last week Johann Hari took an interesting perspective on this in The Independent, in a comment piece called “The best way to undermine the jihadists is to trigger a rebellion of Muslim women“.

In it, he argues that the key to stopping terrorism is to undermine the ideology behind it, and he explains: “one of the central tenets of this ideology is the inherent inferiority and weakness of women.”

He goes on: “The best way to undermine the confidence and beliefs of jihadists is to trigger a rebellion of Muslim women, their mothers and sisters and daughters. Where Muslim women are free to fight back against jihadists, they are already showing incredible tenacity and intellectual force. … Muslim women are offering the most effective critiques of Islamism.”

“The jihadists themselves know that Islamic feminism is the greatest threat to their future – that’s why, in Iraq, the “resistance” has been systematically hunting down and killing the leaders of Muslim women’s rights organisations. No ideology can survive on terrorising half the population indefinitely. When it comes, the Islamic Reformation will be drenched in oestrogen.”

But, he cautions that the process of undermining an ideology “is a glacially slow, slow fight.” Unfortunately, we feminists can testify to that, being in the Third Wave of feminist activism and still with unfinished business. Nevertheless, if you think about how much dramatic change there has been within living memory due to Western feminism, perhaps there is reason to be hopeful that similar progress can be made in the Islamic world.

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