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islam for today
a rather refreshing read,
Monireh Ghorji is a grandmother of six and great-grandmother of two with an appropriately wholesome face and gentle demeanor. She's also a mojtahedeh--the female equivalent of an ayatollah--and a feisty advocate of women's rights.

"God has talked to all human beings, not to a special gender," she said with a trace of disdain for anyone who might say otherwise. "So there's no question that women are equal to men. In fact, the Koran says in several places that women are actually more important because they have character and qualifications that men don't have."

For a country long deemed repressive to females, the most unexpected side of the Islamic Reformation is a spirited, even audacious, women's movement. A whole new breed of Muslim feminists has emerged over the past three years to challenge revolutionary dictates that stripped women of rights in the family, segregated classrooms, imposed strict dress codes and endangered their lives. During the revolution's early wave of retribution, the shah's female education minister was executed for "promoting prostitution" among girls.

A generation later, record numbers of women have joined society and politics, become engineers, doctors and lawyers, and even entered seminaries.

Iran now has a female vice president, Masoumeh Ebtekar. About 500 women ran for parliament this year, and more than 5,000 ran in municipal elections last year. Almost half the university student body and a third of the faculty are female.

Revolutionaries once invoked religion to justify their clampdown on society; today reformers cite Islam to justify new activism and participation. For women, Islam has offered a sort of security blanket. Tra ditional families trusted an Islamic system to protect their daughters, so millions of families sent their girls to schools and universities for the first time after the revolution. And once educated, tens of thousands of women have joined the work force as professionals.
islamfortoday has a lot of other interesting material, check it out.

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