The idea of "Islamic Feminism" seems to give a headache to many Muslims, and event I wasn't okay with it for a long, long time. I've been empowered, however, to start using the word feminism more proudly. (Hopefully, I don't need to explain why, but if I do, I'll define a feminist and explain why feminism lies in every single human (note: I said human. Human only.))
Anyway, so I was just introduced to this link by a friend. It's an old, old interview, but I thought I'd share it here. Seeing feminism used in the same sentence with Islam is always a pleasure, anyway.
k, so, it's an interview with three great ladies, one of whom I've never heard of before, and they discuss how "Islamic feminism" differs from "Western feminism," along with the issue of the veil (which is said to be symbolic; Leila Ahmed in the interview explains why) and other concerns that Muslim women face largely due to a highly patriarchal interpretation of Islam. These women are: the great Dr. Sardar Shaheen Ali (Professor of Law at University of Peshawar, Pakistan; visiting scholar at the University of Warwick Law School, United Kingdom; Author of Human Rights and International Law: Equal Before Allah, Unequal Before Man? Note: She's Pukhtun, AND I get to see her in a few months, ka khairee :D:D:D), the great Dr. Leila Ahmed (Professor of divinity at Harvard, Author of Women and Gender in Islam: The Historical Roots of a Modern Debate), and the great Dr. Nayereh Tohidi (Associate Professor of Women's Studies at California State University, Northridge; director of USCN's new Islamic Community Studies program; editor of Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity Within Unity).
I was told that Islamic feminism has been on the rise during the last couple of decades, but I believe it only now. We have hope as long as women like these continue speaking up. And if another woman disagrees with them, she needs to speak up as well (whether for herself or for other women).