Guide to Islam puts women’s rights front and centre
Jess McCabe // 28 February 2008
Turkish scholars are putting together a modern guide to Islam, which will “make it much more difficult to justify extreme, misogynistic and violent interpretations of Islam”, the Times reports.
Although there are few details, this looks like another interesting project. The newspaper quotes professor Mehmet Gormez, vice-president of religious affairs and senior Hadith lecturer at Ankara University:
“We want to bring out the positive side of Islam — that promotes personal honour, human rights, justice, morality, women’s rights, respect for the other,” he said. He added that nobody should expect revolutionary new thinking on the issue of women covering their hair in the Muslim manner, for instance. “This is an academic study — one thing you will not see is an attempt to make Islam look cute for the Western world.”
Gormez puts this into context by added that “reinterpretation is actually part of the basic fabric of Islam”. The Times doesn’t include many examples, but there is one regarding women:
While many sections — including some on women — have yet to be finalised, the more than 10,000 Hadith selected are expected to include sayings showing that religious conversion was tolerated and that its punishment was an irrelevant political sanction. Another Hadith prohibiting women from travelling for more than three days without their husbands, for instance, would be included but with the context that this referred to travelling in caravans of camels or donkeys and was more of a security issue for the time. “Clearly that would not apply to modern travel,” Dr Unal said.
Photo by Ingsoc, shared under a Creative Commons license