Family Law Reform and the Feminist Debate: Actually-Existing Islamic Feminism in the Maghreb and Malaysia
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AbstractFor an increasing number of Muslim women and women’s rights activists, the stark disparity between the principles of justice and equality guaranteed by international and domestic legal norms on the one hand, and the oppressive environment of their homes that is legitimated by repressive family laws on the other, has acted as the catalyst for a unified call for reform. In the Maghreb, an influential Islamic feminist movement has successfully lobbied for family law reform, and this movement’s positivist framework has recently been adopted as the model for Malaysia’s increasingly vociferous demands for gender equality. Although secular feminists in the West frequently criticize the aims of this Islamic feminism as an oxymoronic anti-feminism, the Maghreby movement serves as proof that only an Islamic feminist reform model can serve as a pragmatic challenge to discriminatory laws.