by Jenna McDaniel
Those who persist in analyzing Feminism through a Western lens often consider the Muslim faith and feminist values incompatible. Much anti-feminist sentiment regarding Islam has focused unreasonably on the custom of veiling. The women of the Muslim faith have struggled for years with stereotypes around the veil, which in the eyes of outsiders signify oppression and subjugation to patriarchal regimes. Many non-Muslims who don’t understand the veil’s cultural and religious significance believe that wearing the veil oppresses women.
As Feminism seeks to expand its outreach and context globally, it should refrain from setting boundaries on who is or isn’t permitted to join the movement. Islam began over 1, 400 years ago and its deep roots begin with the faith’s foundational text, the Q’uran. The Q’uran emphasizes that women are fully human and equal to their male counterparts. Islamic feminism isn’t born from Muslim cultures; rather, it is a branch of feminism that syncs with Islamic theology with the Q’uran as its foundational core. Rachelle Fawcett, author of The Reality And Future Of Islamic Feminism, explains:
“Often, women’s issues are trivialized into whether or not to wear the veil or shake hands with men outside their family, and while larger issues, such as domestic violence are being strongly addressed, the central issue of what “equality” means and how it is expressed go largely ignored. For example, domestic violence is wrong because it creates pain and suffering and is unjust, but the central belief of a man’s right to rule over his wife is not always part of the discussion.”
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