Islam and Gender

Article excerpt

ISLAM AND GENDER The Religious Debate in Contemporary Iran By Ziba Mir-Hosseini published by IB TAURIS ISBN 1 85043 268 6 price 35.00 [pounds sterling] hardback ISBN 1 85043 269 4 price 12.95 [pounds sterling] paperback

On 18 February, Iranians turned out to cast their ballots in a general election that was widely seen as crucial in deciding the future political and social direction of the country. Reformists who support President Mohammed Khatami are trying to wrest control of parliament from the conservatives. This election may have been the defining moment in the battle over how far the Islamic Constitution allows for change; the results will have a profound effect on what kind of country Iran will be for years to come and have repercussions for the future of political Islam around the Muslim world.

One of the major issues of these elections has been how can justice for women be achieved in an Islamic society? Through a series of lively interviews with clerics in the Iranian religious centre of Qom, Ziba Mir-Hosseini explores the issue of gender in the context of Islamic jurisprudence and examines how clerics today perpetuate and modify their notions of gender and women's rights. …