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Feminism Exposed: understanding Islam and feminism

Have you wondered if Islam and feminism are compatible?
Would you like to understand what feminism really is?
Do you agree with the feminist slogans you hear, but you don’t agree with everything they say?
Are you concerned that your daughter is adopting feminist ideas?
In this episode, you will find the answers you have been looking for, inshallah.
Here’s a breakdown of the episode:
1. Liberal origins of feminism explained.
2. What happened during first wave feminism, second wave feminism and third wave feminism.
3. What are the predominant feminist ideas in 2020.
4. Excerpts from PUBLIC DEBATE: IS IT WRONG NOT TO IDENTIFY AS FEMINIST? – Muslim speaker Zara Faris.

Zara Faris: Islam and Feminism expert

Zara Faris graduated in Arabic & Islamic Studies from SOAS University (School of Oriental and African Studies). She has lived for a year in Egypt studying the Arabic language. She is now a researcher, writer, and international speaker for the Muslim Debate Initiative (MDI). She is of Kurdish/Pakistani origin.

In the UK, Zara has delivered lectures at universities around the country (including SOAS, LSE, KCL, and UCL) on Women in Islam, Justice for Women and Men, Feminism, Reformation and Revival, and Muslims in the West. She has also convened courses for As-Suffa Institute and Al-Balagh Academy.

 She has had regular TV and radio media appearances, including on the Islam Channel and BBC Radio.

 Zara has debated Islam and feminism with former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, journalist Julie Bindel, academic Ziba Mir-Hosseini, and Marina Mahathir (daughter of the former Malaysian Prime Minister).

She is currently writing her first book, “Women’s Rights Without Feminism”. For more information about her work regarding Islam and feminism visit www.zarafaris.com

Watch the full debate here 

“The full video of my debate with two feminist activists – a barrister and magazine editor who argued that everyone should identify as feminist – is now up!

The debate motion “Is it wrong not to identify as feminist?” was decided by audience voting before and after (where the winner is the side that manages to change the most minds). Alhamdulillah, as the opposition, we successfully defeated the motion by  gaining an extra 30% of the total audience over to our side.

Since it was a university, one might assume that the audience would be more inclined to left-wing views and therefore more likely to identify as feminist. However, whilst they seemed to subscribe to secular liberal values, most of the students did not identify as feminist. This echoes what studies have shown – that only 7% of women in the UK actually identify as feminists, even though majorities of men and women report belief in gender equality.

What is interesting to note is that most non-Muslims in the secular west have never really identified as feminists, begging the question: why are there certain Muslims who are itching to use and spread the “feminist” label? As a colleague of mine said, if you are going to insist on imitating the West, as least be up to date.

The only successful part of this imitation is that feminists in the Muslim world are having just as much difficulty persuading people to call themselves feminists as their counter-parts in the West.

Overall, it was a great debate with a lot of points made, not just by the panellists but the audience too.” Zara Faris


Those arguing it is wrong not to identify as feminist:
Emily Zinkin (Writer and Editor for the F-word blog)
Julian Norman (Human Rights and Immigration Barrister)

Those arguing it is morally ok not to identify as feminist:
Natasha Devon MBE (Writer and Activist)
Zara Faris (Writer and Speaker on Women in Islam)


You can listen to all the previous episodes of a Muslim Mom podcast here. Please share, subscribe and send your feedback to info@farhatamin.com


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  • […] Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. Although thought of as liberating by many Muslim girls, it is a big factor in causing them to slowly compromise or abandon some of the core Islamic values that you spent so many years nurturing in them. If we’re going to talk about feminism, and its relationship to Islam, we can’t do so without first recognising that feminism is an offshoot of the bigger challenge facing Muslims: Secular Liberalism. Our Islamic faith itself is under attack. Below I will be exploring some key reasons to explain, why are our daughters becoming Muslim feminists? […]

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