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Richard Piran McClary.

Women, Islam, and the Twenty-first Century

Alberto Tiburcio. Lorenzo Kamel. Simon O'Meara.


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Kendra Marston. Stefano Baschiera , Miriam De Rosa. Joshua Gedacht , R. Michael Feener. Mary Hammond , Jonathan Rose. This website uses cookies to provide all of its features. For more information, see our Cookie Policy. Edinburgh University Press Books. My Account Log In. This is mostly due to pressure from the surge of Islamic revivalism and from the opposition parties who seek to reinvent the nation according to Islamic norms and ideals. The Islamic resurgence in Malaysia is often known as Dakwah movements which are perceived in opposition to the political, social and economic supremacy of the West and it also defines boundaries between what is traditional and what is western.

Religious Organizations have been gaining approval nationwide, and the impact is particularly evident at a sociopolitical level. The Islamic revival in Malaysia has been defined by what is known as the dakwah movement, which is often perceived in opposition to the economic, political, and social supremacy of their Western counterparts Nagata, ; Narli, Dakwah movement was, for Malay women, a "re-education or re-socialization process, whereby women can be rescued from the throes of Westernization which has permeated Malay culture" Nagata, The phenomenon has also been defined as a symbol of the difference between the traditional and the Western.

The dakwah movement in Malaysia is also perceived as "women's subjection to male authority and women's domestic roles as wife and mother as symbol of religious nationalism for Malays" Othman, Women, as the bearers of cultural values and traditions, are important symbols in the politics of Islamic revivalism and Islamic state policy.

Dakwah advocates claim that good Muslim women should educate others about Islam, be involved in child-rearing, and create a positive social consciousness. As such, the veil became an important symbol in the efforts of the Malay female community in establishing their Muslim identity, and the act of unveiling became associated with the West.

This is why a majority of working professional women still wear the veil, as visible declarations of their commitment to Islam. The government in Malaysia has been appropriating these movements, with the overall intention at reforming the image of Islam in accordance with their own plans for modernization. These policies were known as the 'adaptive upgrading' of Islam in correspondence with their plans for modernization, in which the government attempted to encourage a more moderate approach to Islam through educational and legislative arrangements.

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In addition to this, the Mahathir administration, especially in the s, institutionalized a more "corporate" approach to Islam, in an attempt to neutralize the dakwah movement and its influence on politics and religion. In doing so, the government aimed to use radical movements such as these in their bid for modernization and to answer criticism faced by their capitalist economic policies.

This was also a way of expediting existing Islamization policies in parallel with the burgeoning modernization of everyday life and the increasingly materialistic nature of contemporary culture. The government of the day also relied heavily on the leadership of the Muslim Youth Movement ABIM and the Institute for Islamic Understanding IKIM , both of which were organizations which they had appropriated, in order to strike a balance between secularization and Islamization.

The government's aim throughout all these efforts was to channel the strengths of dakwah into politically-beneficial activities, as they still had to maintain a secular nation. Islamization also fulfilled their economic development objectives. On the political front, the state had managed to divide these rogue Islamist organizations and appropriate them for their own agendas. The emergence of a politicized Islam has posed a challenge to civil society groups determined to uphold democracy, human rights, and women's rights.

Women groups in many Muslim countries are at the frontline in challenging the religious establishment and their justification of the subordination of women and the discrimination against them, all in the name of religion Muslim women in modern and industrial Muslim nations such as Malaysia are at odds with the patriarchal construct of the so-called "ideal" Muslim woman as subservient and submissive. Progressive Muslim women, for the most part, do not believe that Islam promotes any injustice and mistreatment towards them.

SIS exists as a group of professional women claims to promote women's rights within the framework of Islam. The mission of SIS is to promote an awareness of the true principles of Islamic equality, justice, freedom and dignity within a democratic state. SIS believes that Islam does not endorse the oppression of women and that Islam has been misinterpreted in justifying the cultural practices that make women inferior and subordinate to men.

Neopatriarchy, Islam and female labour force participation: A reconsideration | Emerald Insight

This has been made possible because men have had exercise control over the interpretation of the Holy text. SIS also. Their ultimate aim is to create workable formulas in their daily battles against oppressive rules. They adopt two main strategies to approach Muslim women's rights in an Islamic context: the first is based on interpretations of the Qur'an, which includes placing certain verses in a cultural and historical context and understanding the general message of the text.

The second is based on perceptions of the early history of Islam, specifically during the time of the Prophet. Both these approaches are evident in the efforts and ideology of Sisters-in-Islam in reinterpreting and re-reading the Qur'an.

Women, Islam and the State

In their efforts to reinterpret the Qur'an, they seek to uncover an Islam which is more appreciative of women's value; they tend to use Qur'anic verses supportive of women in defending women's rights. When groups like Sisters-in-Islam discuss Islam, their credentials and authority to discuss such matters has come under scrutiny.

In their quest for Islamic reforms, SIS has been criticized that its agendas are a product of a Western tradition, which is not transferable to Islam. Islamic activists undermine the authority of these organizations to even discuss religious issues. As such, the problem of the authority to speak on Islam is a bone of contention in modern-day Malaysia. The established tradition is that only the Ulema may engage public discourse regarding Islam. Four political configurations are compared: nationalism under colonial rule in the s, the formation of the national state in the s, the consolidation of the state in the s, and the state challenged by feminism and Islamic fundamentalism in the s.

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