Saturday, October 26, 2019

Women in Islam Essay -- Religion, Islamic Culture

Since the September Eleventh attacks by Islamic extremists at the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, Islamic culture has come under scrutiny by Americans more so than at any other period in the history of the ancient religion. One area that is often criticized by the American main stream media is the role of women in Islamic culture; it is almost common knowledge now that Islam subjugates women to a degree not seen since the Medieval Ages, and is backwards in all aspects of gender relations. Like many stereotypes, this one is overblown, exaggerated, and often completely incorrect. Women have been a fundamental part of Islamic culture since the founding of the Muslim faith. Women have had tremendous influence in all areas of Islamic culture including education, politics, economic concerns, and religious interpretation; by examining each of these four areas, it become clear that women have tremendous opportunities within mainstream Islam. Of course, cer tain hardline regimes like the one currently holding power in Iran will always oppress women, as well as gays and other minorities. It is important to not focus on the few areas where Islamic culture is practiced and women are subjugated, but to look at the broader Islamic culture where women are a critical component. After being thrust into the American conscience by the September Eleventh attacks, Islamic culture and Afghanistan became synonymous in the minds of most American citizens. The active attempts to limit women from receiving education in that nation were all too real, and very tragic. However, in many other Islamic cultures, women have significant and positive influence on the education system, both today and in the past. The achiev... ... States one of the most popular religions, Catholicism, still does not permit women to serve in the priest capacity. Some issues will take many centuries to change, and just like in Catholicism, this Islamic barrier will take time to break down. In conclusion, the body of evidence suggests that fears regarding the limitations placed on women by Islamic culture are exaggerated in most areas. Women have reached the highest political posts, most influential jobs in business, and obtained teaching posts at prestigious universities in almost every country with a significant Islamic culture. Some of the most tolerant cultures have even begun allowing female imams to lead prayer and teach other Muslims. While Islamic culture has plenty of work to do regarding the status of women, it must be recognized that a healthy portion of the criticism is unwarranted.

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