Islamist Lawfare – Women and Sexual Morality

Islamists make family law and gender-related criminal law cornerstones of their political projects. The growing emergence of Islamism in the greater Middle East has forced the debate for women’s citizenship rights within an Islamic frame. Key struggles include divorce, inheritance and custody for children, domestic violence, underage marriage, adultery and rape. When secular arguments are banned, women activists see both opportunities and constraints in legal mobilization within Islam. Described as Islamists’ unwanted child, Islamic feminists are challenging the Islamists’ patriarchal interpretations of Islamic law, but often at great personal risk. This roundtable discusses the materialization (or lack thereof), failure, successes and perils of Islamic feminism as a lawfare strategy based on ongoing work in Afghanistan and Sudan.

Liv Tønnessen (CMI)
Torunn Wimpelmann (CMI)
Samia al-Nagar, Sudan (Sudan)