KeywordsEgyptian Islamasists; Ezzat; gender and Islam; Islam and modernity
Religion; BL1; Islamic Studies
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AbstractThis paper attempts to review some of the arguments that lie beneath the gender discourse of Egyptian Islamists and argues that, contrary to common perceptions, and in spite of their fundamentalist understanding of Islam, modernity is influencing Islamist discourses on gender. Egyptian Heba Raouf Ezzat’s gender discourse, for example, is indebted to new feminist critiques of the Islamic tradition. The Islamist discourse on gender becomes, therefore, a modern construct that tries to bridge the gap between tradition and modernity and to reconcile two sets of principles: the traditional and patriarchal religious conception of women’s nature, role, and rights, and the new modern understanding of Muslim women’s social and political roles. In what follows, we will present Ezzat’s criticism of feminism and her own Islamic feminist project, which is best illustrated with her own understanding of Islamic methods of reformation in Islam and of religious interpretations, and her understanding of a non-binary gendered space.