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A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence
Category->Muslim Center->Al Quran & Books
A  Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence

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By Leila Ahmed. A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America.

 

In Cairo in the 1940s, Leila Ahmed was raised by a generation of women who never dressed in the veils and headscarves their mothers and grandmothers had worn. To them, these coverings seemed irrelevant to both modern life and Islamic piety. Today, however, the majority of Muslim women throughout the Islamic world again wear the veil. Why, Ahmed asks, did this change take root so swiftly, and what does this shift mean for women, Islam, and the West?

 

When she began her study, Ahmed assumed that the veil's return indicated a backward step for Muslim women worldwide. What she discovered, however, in the stories of British colonial officials, young Muslim feminists, Arab nationalists, pious Islamic daughters, American Muslim immigrants, violent jihadists, and peaceful Islamic activists, confounded her expectations. Ahmed observed that Islamism, with its commitments to activism in the service of the poor and in pursuit of social justice, is the strain of Islam most easily and naturally merging with western democracies' own tradition of activism in the cause of justice and social change.

 

It is often Islamists, even more than secular Muslims, who are at the forefront of such contemporary activist struggles as civil rights and women's rights. Ahmed's surprising conclusions represent a near reversal of her thinking on this topic. Richly insightful, intricately drawn, and passionately argued, this absorbing story of the veil's resurgence, from Egypt through Saudi Arabia and into the West, suggests a dramatically new portrait of contemporary Islam. Yale University Press (2012), English, 360 pages

"A Quiet Revolution is an exceptional study of women in Islam. Their story is a remarkable one, and Leila Ahmed tells it with grace and understanding." (Joseph Preville, Time Out) "...an acute study of how issues of political power and empire interact with women's own claims to autonomy within families and communities." (Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian) "clear and compelling" (Rachel Aspden, The Observer)"

About the Author
Leila Ahmed was the first professor of Women's Studies in Religion at Harvard University and is now the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity at the university's Divinity School. She is the author of Women and Gender in Islam and A Border Passage: From Cairo to America - A Woman's Journey.
 

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