Monday, January 29, 2007

Islamic feminists on the move

Islamic feminism is a rising current of political activism in Europe, North Africa, and Asia, and a force for changing the image of Islam. Next weekend in Brussels sees the fifth meeting of some of its protagonists under the heading: "Towards an emerging Islamic feminist consciousness in Europe".


I support a lot of what these women are trying to achieve.

I think women have the right not to be mistreated. So I support the attempts to curb domestic violence, honour killings, female circumcision and all forms of bodily violence and killings.

I also support their desire to want to be equal under the law.

I think it's fine for individual women to want to go beyond the wife-and-mother identity. I think being a wife and a mother is great; but when you live to be 80, you have many roles. I think motherhood is essential to femininity. I don't think it's the only role or source of identity for women.

Where I part ways is their obvious socialist and post-modern leanings.

"Re-reading" a religion's Revelation is code for "let's re-interpret it in the light of post-modern ideas".

I would like to see Islam reformed, or the culture-- or whatever it takes to produce a less violent and a more egalitarian society.

But I have philosophical issues with the idea that you question Revelation.

Catholicism is a faith that has definite dogmas; but since we don't believe that we know ALL the truth, that our knowledge of doctrine develops (i.e. "doctrinal development), we can accommodate new ideas-- not rejection of old doctrines, but new ideas that are compatible with all know Catholic doctrines.

I don't know enough about Islam to say for certain that this kind of development is possible without resorting to a modernist philosophy. I have a hunch that this kind of development would go counter to their Revelation; and philosophically, I can't countenance that. If your God says X, then you adhere to a social movement that rejects X. It would be logically inconsistent.

I'm a bit stuck on this point. I'm not going to resolve the issue within myself. I don't feel I need to.

If Islam is to reform, it cannot do so based on a relativist worldview. It must do so by respecting the ability of reason to attain absolute truth.

If it does not, it will look like post-modern Christianity-- the kind that denies Jesus was Lord, or the Ten Commandments. Anything and everything will be up for rejection. I'm not keen on Islam losing adherents to post-modernity. Don't get me wrong-- I'm not keen on extremists, either. I think that if Islam is reformed with a philosophy of religion that denies Reason, Logic, absolute truth, and universals, much of the Muslim world will become a spiritual wasteland, like the West.Maybe they'd be less ignorant, but would they be more spiritually fulfilled?