Nothing Sacred: Women Respond to Religious Fundamentalism and Terror

Overview

Long before the Bush administration had heard of the Taliban and their scorched earth policy toward women, feminists were alert to the threat to women's freedom posed by religious fundamentalism, in Afghanistan and throughout the world. Nothing Sacred is a unique collection of feminist writings from America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia on religious fundamentalism and women's oppression—before and after September 11. Is secularism a necessary condition for women's liberation? How has religious fundamentalism...

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Overview

Long before the Bush administration had heard of the Taliban and their scorched earth policy toward women, feminists were alert to the threat to women's freedom posed by religious fundamentalism, in Afghanistan and throughout the world. Nothing Sacred is a unique collection of feminist writings from America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia on religious fundamentalism and women's oppression—before and after September 11. Is secularism a necessary condition for women's liberation? How has religious fundamentalism contributed to discrimination—and violence—against women, both in Muslim countries and the West? Contributors reflect on the rise and fall of the Taliban and the contentious debate among feminists about the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Nothing Sacred also confronts and challenges the simplistic "clash-of-civilizations" thesis advanced by Samuel Huntington and his disciples, developing a more nuanced and compelling analysis of the culture war that continues to pit religious conservatives against advocates of women's empowerment and human rights not only in Afghanistan but everywhere. The volume includes a variety of perspectives and views, and ultimately advances a new, internationalist feminism. Contributors include Arundhati Roy, Barbara Ehrenreich, Karen Armstrong, Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler, Susan Sontag, Ellen Willis, and Laura Flanders.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The "opposite of fundamentalism is feminism," concludes journalist Katha Pollitt in her introduction to this dense and provocative anthology of women's responses to the global rise of religious extremism. To understand what fundamentalism is about, why (or so the authors argue) it targets women and why, again according to the authors, enlightened people of all persuasions, religious or secular, must work to defeat it is the mission of the more than 30 entries (many reprinted from the Nation) in this volume. A variety of academic, activist and religious feminists, such as Barbara Ehrenreich, Eve Ensler, Karen Armstrong and Arundhati Roy, agree that fundamentalism is about social power and control, not about returning to religious "fundamentals." Thus, the rise of fundamentalism is traced to discontent with and disruptions caused by modernization and globalization. Several writers trace these dynamics in Afghanistan, Algeria, India, the Gaza Strip-even the rise of the Christian Right in modern America. Most religions-featured here are Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism-have extremist wings characterized by misogynistic theory and practices. Feminist responses have been varied, but follow two major paths: either rejection of the religion in favor of a more secular culture, or a reclaiming of the right to interpret the religion in more female-supportive ways. The book's final section explores the meaning of what the authors see as the real global struggle: not East vs. West or tradition vs. modernity, but secular, enlightened society vs. fundamentalist theocracy. A compendium of energizing political discourse, this anthology is a substantial contribution to an alternative view of the war on terror. (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560254508
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Series: Nation Books
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Table of Contents

Editor's Note
Introduction
The War on Women 3
Fundamentalism 11
World Culture War 23
The Burden of Eve: Religious Fundamentalism and Women in Israel 31
The War Against Feminism in the Name of the Almighty: Making Sense of Gender and Muslim Fundamentalism 45
"A Disease Masquerading as a Cure": Women and Fundamentalism in Algeria. An Interview with Mahfoud Bennoune 75
The Two Faces of Iran: Woman's Activism, the Reform Movement and the Islamic Republic 91
Gender and Literacy in Islam 105
Missing in Action 121
Muslim Women and Fundamentalism 141
A Culture of One's Own: Learning from Women Living Under Muslim Laws 149
Understanding the Other Sister: The Case of Arab Feminism 165
Fascism's Firm Footprint in India 179
Gujarat's Gendered Violence 185
Hindu Women's Activism in India and the Questions It Raises 189
An Interview with Taslima Nasrin 209
Religion, Culture, and Sex Equality: India and the United States 215
Unholy Alliance and Giving the Vatican the Boot 245
Christian Wahhabists 255
Fundamentalism and the Family: Gender, Culture, and the American Pro-Family Movement 259
The Pro-Life Gospel 281
The Church's Tug of War 309
What Women Want 319
Behind the Burqa 325
After the Taliban 329
An Uneasy Peace 333
Returning from Kabul 343
Women for Afghan Women: Building Community Across Difference 347
Phantom Towers: Feminist Reflections on the Battle Between Global Capitalism and Fundamentalist Terrorism 357
Bringing the Holy War Home 373
Why Gender Matters in Understanding September 11: Women, Militarism, and Violence 379
Whose Fundamentalism? 393
Unholy Wars 397
Women's Human Rights and Security in the Age of Terror 413
About the Contributors 421
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