Islamic Terror: Conscious and Unconscious Motives

By Avner Falk | Go to book overview

The Abuse of Women and Children in
Muslim Society

Do Muslim mothers provide their children with psychological security and “object constancy”? Can they do it? Do they have those inner qualities and forces themselves? While modern scholars emphasize the wide variety of roles and relations enjoyed by women in “modern” Muslim society, the situation in reality is quite complicated and not quite so rosy. Thus, the venerable Encyclopaedia Britannica says,

For [Muslim] women, modernization is especially problematic. Urged on the one
hand to be liberated from Islām and thereby become modern, they are told by others
to be liberated from being Western through being self-consciously Muslim. There is
little information on the situation of ordinary women in premodern Islāmdom, but
evidence from the modern period underscores the enormous variety of settings in
which Muslim women live and work, as well as the inability of the stereotype of
meek, submissive, veiled passivity to reflect the quality of their lives
. As always,
Muslim women live in cities, towns, villages, and among migratory pastoral tribes;
some work outside the home, some inside, some not at all; some wear concealing
clothing in public, most do not; for some, movement outside the home is restricted,
for most not; and, for many, public modesty is common, as it is for many Muslim
men. For many [Muslim women], the private home and the public bath continue
to be the centres of social interaction; for others, the world of employment and city
life is an option. As always, few live in polygamous families. Strict adherence to the
Sharī’ah’s provision for women to hold their property in their own right has
produced Muslim women of great wealth, in the past as well as today. Clearly,

-144-

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