Islamic Feminism

The next Inside Islam radio show will air Thursday, April 8th and will focus on Islamic feminism.  While many might consider Islam and feminism to be contradictory, there is a clear global movement that began in the 1990’s in which Muslim women are using Islamic discourse to argue for their rights, gender equality, and social justice.

Islamic feminists seek to transform patriarchal readings of the faith that they argue go against the real message of the Qur’an where there is a clear emphasis on gender equality based on the concept of human beings.  According to Margot Badran, Islamic feminism calls for more gender-sensitive re-readings of verses that are not present in the male interpretations. Continue reading

Alaa al-Aswany Interview on Here on Earth

Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders interviewed Alaa al-Aswany, also known as the Sinbad of literature, yesterday.

There aren’t a lot of famous writers who are also dentists. Alaa al Aswany is Egypt’s most famous living writer who happens to also work as a dentist by day in Cairo. He says being a dentist enables his writing: his patients open up to him, confess their troubles and reveal their inner lives. Al Aswany’s first novel, The Yacoubian Building, published in 2002, overnight became the bestselling novel in the Arab world, and was subsequently made into Egypt’s highest grossing film ever.

The only Arab-language novel to have created greater buzz and sell more copies is his second novel, Chicago, which has just been published in the US. Set on the campus of the University of Illinois Medical Center where he himself trained as a dentist, Chicago explores the interweaving lives of a group of Egyptian students and professors trying to find their bearings in post 9/11 America.

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Eboo Patel and The Interfaith Generation

Interfaith Youth Core (Flickr)Writer, scholar, and youth leader Eboo Patel is executive director of the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core and writes a blog for The Washington Post. Patel’s ongoing work with youth and study of religious divisions is rooted in his own struggle choosing between Indian, Muslim, and American identities and faith in a common “dream of pluralism.” In Acts of Faith, he defines pluralism as

a form of proactive cooperation that affirms the identity of the constituent communities while emphasizing that the wellbeing of each and all depends on the health of the whole. It is the belief that the common good is best served when each community has a chance to make its unique contribution.

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