Women and Islam

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Women in Islam

Religious institution has a profound impact on any and every society. Social norms, mores, and expectations are mostly defined by our belief systems, even if we ourselves don’t practice a religion. Government too is always based on common agreement upon what is right and wrong, and who is to rule. A society can experience violent opposition and revolutions because of radical religious groups. There’s no doubt about it. In any society, small or large, primitive or modern, religious institution plays a leading role. Islam is no exception. This paper will explore three critical aspects of Islamic society. The first is Democracy. Just how incompatible is an Islamic society with democracy? Secondly, how are women treated by Islamic society? Are they treated as equal to men, and why? Lastly, is Islam conducive to human rights? Is this reflected by Islamic governments? All of these questions and more will be considered in the following.

It’s definitely not the first time it’s been asked. Can Democracy really function in an Islamic society? Some say yes, some say no. But the answer doesn’t seem to be quite so black and white. The Muslim countries in the world today are all different, and all have or have had different relationships with democracy. In order to better understand the answer to this question, we must look at some of the factors that influence the relationship between Islam and Democracy. According to Daniel E. Price, there are seven major categories of influences on the relationship between Islam and Democracy. These are historical influences, regime strength, regime strategy for dealing with political Islam, Islamic political groups, modernization/economics/demographics, politicized sectarian, ethnic, linguistic, or class cleavages, and minority religious groups.

In history, there have been several notable aspects of society that have influence on Muslim countries. Colonialism has obviously induced a sort of backfiring from Radical Islam, and it is for this reason that most Muslim Countries that have had a history of Colonialism have a stronger presence of Radical Islam. These countries include Algeria, Syria, and Egypt. There is a stronger lingering hostility toward ideas attributed to the West (liberalism and democracy) and Westernized classes because of their association with the former colonial overlords. (Price, ...

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...rn ideology. There is nothing in the Qur’an or Sharia that actually directly confirms that these three aspects of Islamic society are exactly as we in the West perceive. The problem is that the way that Muslims interpret their scriptures is contrary and even offensive to the West and its common ideologies. Lastly, the criticism and influence from the West toward Islamic culture, in addition to historical colonialization, only intensifies their rejection of the West and its criticism, and actually seems to make the problems concerning Democracy, women, and human rights even worse.


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