Between Orientalism and Fundamentalism: Women in Islam

Between Orientalism and Fundamentalism: Women in Islam

The article titled “Between orientalism and fundamentalism:….” provides critical insights into Muslim women feminism. The article asserts that Muslim feminists and activists encounter difficulties due to hardline views from Western society that regards them as oppressed, backward, and in need of liberation (Zine, 2006). A key point to note is that since September 11 attacks, the Muslim community has been on the spotlight as autocratic and lacking the ascriptions of modern states. The major points of contention revolve around divergent political, religious, social, and economic ideologies between Muslims and the Western society. The article highlights interesting points to note concerning the United States’ war on terror, and the Muslim jihad pitting the “infidel” Western world. Both wars are motivated partially by deep religious ideologies – the West justifies its incursions on the need for justice, while to the Muslims is a war against the “infidels”, or those who do not acknowledge Allah.

The article by Chishti (n.d) examines the challenges that Muslim women face on day-to-day basis and especially in their interaction with individuals from Western societies. Specifically, the author, a veiled Muslim highlights the challenges that Muslim women face at the international women’s movement, where surprisingly, Muslim women ought to feel welcome and at “home”. Chishti (n.d) asserts that Muslim feminists from third world nations are shunned from making a mark to the global feminist advocacy. She argues that even the current international forums still shun minority women. Like other veiled Muslim women, Chishti (n.d) discounts the all too common perception of an oppressed, backward, and uncultured Muslim woman. Wagner, Sen, Permanadeli, & Howarth, (2012), who asserts that the Muslim woman has enormous challenges to confront, notably racial discrimination, Islamophobia, and the patriarchal nature of society, echo Chishti’s views.


Women in Islam


Chishti, M. (n.d). The international women’s movement and the politics of participation for          Muslim women. The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 19(4): 81-86.

Wagner, W., Sen, R., Permanadeli, R., & Howarth, C. S. (2012). The veil and Muslim women’s  identity: cultural pressures and resistance to stereotyping. Culture & Psychology, 18(4):      521-541.

Zine, J. (2006). Between orientalism and fundamentalism: the politics of Muslim women’s           feminist engagement. Muslim World Journal of Human Rights, 3(1): 1-24.