Mai Ghoussoub observed in 1987 : “Some of the most outstanding contemporary feminists, daunted by the scale of the tasks before them and the isolation in which they stand, have changed their tone recently” (1987 : 17). Critical feminism seeks refuge in the holy text. This trend can be called neo-feminism. The explicit feminist terminology is still apparent, but the sharp edge of iconoclasm is blunted. This neo-feminism, like earlier Islamic reformism, contends that traditions are layers of societal experiences accumulated under specific circumstances obscuring the true meaning and spirit of Islam. The argument is based on an ideological assumption that there are two different Islams : the good Islam, as reflected in the lay Muslim’s understanding of ethical and egalitarian messages of the Quran, and the bad Islam of shari‘a as interpreted by the ulema. That ideological assumption is itself a result of refurbishing a pre-modern paradigm with the trappings of modernity. Thus, the neo-feminist discourse converges with the Islamic reformists’ attempt to construct a new Islam outside its historical framework and free from its traditional confines of shari‘a. This insertion of feminist consciousness into the mind-set of a revealed religion has further embellished and mystified the past. The most potentially iconoclastic discourse, secular feminism, is harnessed to the worn-down wheels of Islamic reformism.
– Egalitarian Islam and Misogynist Islamic Tradition : A Critique of the Feminist Reinterpretation of Islamic History and Heritage by Reza Afshari
I came across this article just now. Thoughts? This could generate some excellent discussion, don’t you think?!