In Search of Islamic Feminism: One Woman's Global Journey

Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, Author
Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, Author Doubleday Books $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-385-47518-1
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-385-48858-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-23124-5
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Fernea's impressionistic, overly optimistic report on what she sees as an emerging Islamic feminist movement and consciousness is based on her two-year journey (1994-1996) through Uzbekistan, Morocco, Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Palestinian settlements. She found that Islamic feminists employ strategies that often differ from the confrontational approach of their counterparts in the West, building instead on indigenous traditions. For example, in Turkey, the kabul, an at-home day for women, is now used for grass-roots networking and attracting voters to women's causes. Other substantive advances seem promising, as in Egypt, where medical, governmental and human rights groups have joined forces in a campaign to eradicate female circumcision, or in Iraq, where support for maternity leave, child care and universal literacy leads the author to guarded praise for Saddam Hussein's pro-women policies. Nevertheless, readers who wonder whether ""Islamic feminism"" is an oxymoron may not be dissuaded by this overlong travelogue. Fernea (Guests of the Sheik) also includes an interesting chapter on American Muslim women's drive for economic and legal egalitarianism. (Jan.)
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