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Asra Nomani: The Paradox of Women in Islam

Tuesday, 07 March, 2017

The Paradox of Women in Islam
In this presentation, journalist, author, and speaker Asra Nomani - who was born into a conservative Muslim family from India - chronicles the struggle Muslim women face in reclaiming the rights women were granted at Islam's birth in the seventh century, which have since been erased by centuries of man-made rules and tribal traditions masqueraded as divine law.
To many, the Islamic feminist movement is filled with "the bad girls of Islam." But Nomani argues that their efforts are not anti-Islamic - rather, they use the fundamentals of Islamic thinking (the Koran; the Sunnah, or traditions and sayings of the prophet Muhammad; and Ijtihad, or independent reasoning) to challenge the ways in which Islam has been distorted by Sharia rulings issued by ultraconservative men. From the mosque to the bedroom, Muslim women have begun to challenge customs that deny them their basic rights, in such areas as gender segregation, mandatory veiling, forced early marriages, clitorectomies, polygamy, death for sex outside of marriage, domestic violence, and strict domestic roles. Nomani shares her personal story of empowerment, in which she walked through the front door of her mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia, in 2003, and gathered up the strength to go into the main hall reserved for men only.
The struggle, she asserts, is to move Islam forward by reaching back to its progressive past. The effort, she says, is nothing short of a revolution.
For more information about Asra Nomani, please visit
This event is designated as a Beckers Seminar through the Chancellors Honors Program and is free and open to the public. For more information or to arrange disability accommodations, please contact the Center for Student Engagement at (865) 974-5455.




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Shannon Herron

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