MUSLIM WOMEN REFORMERS: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression
By Ida Lichter
Prometheus Books | ISBN-13: 978-1591027164
513 pages | Hardcover
In a world where the strident demands of Islamic extremists capture the media’s attention, the courageous protests of Muslim reformers barely receive any notice. These include a surprising number of women who are prepared to challenge institutionalized persecution, risking derision, arrest, physical harm, and even death.
In this inspiring compilation of Muslim women’s stories from around the world, the voices of these long-oppressed women ring loud and clear as they question ideology and culture, patriarchal and religious beliefs, and demand the social and political rights women lack in many Muslim countries. The reformers speak out with passion, humanity, and sometimes humor in these compact and often poignant biographies, bringing alive the harsh realities for women in many parts of the world.
By surveying a wide range of Muslim reformers, not only in the Middle East but also in Europe and North America, Lichter uncovers some significant emerging trends. For example, she notes that the majority of Muslim feminists would like to see reform contained within Islam. Many criticize their patriarchal culture for suppressing egalitarian views that they believe the Koran expresses and so they advocate a reinterpretation of the holy text. Some demand changes to discriminatory Sharia-based laws. Others campaign openly for political and educational reforms.
Complete with a glossary and a list of helpful Web sites, this vibrant anthology makes use of reliable translations from original languages to demonstrate the groundswell of grassroots change that promises eventually to bring even the most conservative sectors of Islam into the twenty-first century.
Based on wide research and an expansive definition of reform that includes everyone from soft Islamists to ex-Muslims, Ida Lichter compellingly tells the stories of over one hundred women, organizations, and even a few men who in some way dissent from the conventional Muslim understanding of the role of the female. By bringing together this large and diverse group, the author succeeds in her important goal of amplifying the voices of dissident Muslims on whose slender shoulders hangs so much.
-DANIEL PIPES, Director, Middle East Forum
Ida Lichter provides a comprehensive and original view of the struggle that Muslim women are putting up to obtain equal and natural rights in the face of traditional exclusion. It is a report from the front line, so to speak. In their day-to-day courage and commitment, these women are contemporary suffragettes and the outcome of their struggle is certain to determine the future of the Muslim world.
-DAVID PRYCE-JONES Senior Editor of National Review and Author of The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs
Ida Lichter, is a clinical and research psychiatrist and contributor to The Huffington Post. Living in London for over 12 years focused her interest on the large Muslim populations in the UK and Europe and brought her closer to the eye of the storm in the Middle East. She lives in Sydney, Australia.
To request a review copy for coverage on your online outlet, please email me at onlinepublicist [AT] gmail [DOT] com. Do not forget to include your URL and use 'REFORMERS' as the subject of the email. I have several copies available for international shipping.
vvb32, Women's Tales, January 15, 2011
Big Ideas on ABC Radio National, September 30, 2010
The Diplomat, June 21, 2010
The Diplomat, June 22, 2010
Blogger's Unite!: The Huffington Post, October 8, 2010
Campaigning must continue to end stoning: The Australian, August 13, 2010
Afghan Women's Movements Deserve More From the West, The Huffington Post, August 3, 2010
The Veil: Woman's Right or Millstone?: The Australian, July 09, 2010
At Home With Books: "Over and over again in this book I was impressed with how it is much easier to lose your freedoms than to gain them back." "This book would be an excellent first source for anyone wanting to know more about Muslim women activists."
Author Exposure: "Lichter addresses various issues by specific geographic regions. This is a great way to approach a compilation like this one. Sectioning information in this way, allows the reader to take a more concentrated look into not only the stories, but also the cultural, historical, and current climate of each specific region."
KellyVision: "The women in this book are heroes. (And there’s even a chapter on what men are doing to help.) I like to think that I’d have the courage to do what they’re doing, if our situations were reversed, but I don’t know."
One Day at a Time: "I'm grateful to Ida Lichter for sharing this information with us."
Helen's Book Blog: "...the research is impressive with detailed stories, quotes from letters, laws, and books in addition to awards won, legal cases fought, and personal stories that will break your heart."
Booksie's Blog: "This book is recommended reading for all those interested in human rights, and especially those focused on womens' rights."
Caribou's Mom: "One of the things that stands out in this comprehensive book is the complexity of the issue and the very individual approaches of women reformers."
Proud Book Nerd: "What makes this book amazing – in addition to the amount of information covered – is how eye-opening it is."
That's What She Read: "If we are to help our sisters in their fight, the first step is understanding what they face. In her comprehensive presentation of Muslim Women Reformers, Ms. Lichter does just that."
Savvy Working Gal: "In my opinion, true reform will not occur without the assistance of global human rights groups. It is important for westerners to know of these Muslim women reformers and help spread their message."
One Librarian's Book Reviews: "Entirely inspiring, this book can be used for research on Muslim women reformers, organizations, and the countries they come from."
Unabridged Chick: "For those who are afraid to jump in, browse the table of contents for a recognizable name. (For example, Iran's Azar Nafisi, author of the immensely popular Reading Lolita in Tehran, is one of the women featured.)"
Suko's Notebook: "Brave and outspoken, these women reformers and activists share an ongoing quest for more rights, equality, and education for women. It was an eye-opening book for me, definitely worth reading."