Oppression of women: Blame cultures, not Islam

Dear Reader,

In researching “The Jewel of Medina,” I was surprised to find that the Prophet Muhammad was quite progressive when it came to women’s rights.

During Muhammad’s time as leader of the new Islamic community in Medina, women fought alongside men in wars, prayed alongside men in the mosque, and served among the Prophet’s inner circle of Companions. Muhammad listened to his wives and encouraged them to speak their minds, despite the criticism of his male followers. And he gave women rights they had never possessed before, including the right to inherit property. That’s something women didn’t have in the United States until the turn of the 20th century!

In spite of my findings, however, many persist in believing what they want to believe about Islam, including its inherent oppression of women. Today’s story on Women’s eNews, however, supports my claim. Titled “Muslim Feminists Confront a World of Obstacles,” the story covers the International Congress on Islamic Feminism in Barcelona, Spain, and quotes Muslim women from all over the world about the important issue of women’s rights within Islam. Here’s the link:


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