Now with a new Preface and Afterword by the author
“Outstanding . . . [Isobel Coleman] takes us into remote villages and urban bureaucracies to find the brave men and women working to create change in the Middle East.”— Los Angeles Times
In this timely and important book, Isobel Coleman shows how Muslim women and men across the Middle East are working within Islam to fight for women’s rights in a growing movement of Islamic feminism. Journeying through Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Coleman introduces the reader to influential Islamic feminist thinkers and successful grassroots activists working to create economic, political, and educational opportunities for women. Their advocacy for women’s rights based on more progressive interpretations of Islam are critical to bridging the conflict between those championing reform and those seeking to oppress women in the name of religious tradition. Socially, culturally, economically, and politically, the future of the region depends on finding ways to accommodate human rights, and in particular women’s rights, with Islamic law. These reformers—and thousands of others—are the people leading the way forward.
Featuring new material that addresses how the Arab uprisings and other recent events have affected the social and political landscape of the region, Paradise Beneath Her Feet offers a message of hope: Change is coming to the Middle East—and more often than not, it is being led by women.
Praise for Paradise Beneath Her Feet
“Clearly written, deeply moving, and wonderfully enlightening.”—Reza Aslan, author of No god but God
“[An] engrossing portrait of real Muslim women that reveals how Islamic feminists . . . are working with and within the culture, rather than against it . . . to forge ‘a legitimate Islamic alternative to the current repressive system.’ Coleman doesn’t diminish the enormity of the struggle, but she argues convincingly that it might yet rewrite Islam’s future.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A nuanced view of Islam’s role in public life that is cautiously hopeful.”— The Economist
“Eye-opening . . . Deeply religious, profoundly determined and modern in every way, these are twenty-first-century women bent on change. Hear them roar and see a future being born before our eyes.”— Booklist
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|Title of eBook: Paradise Beneath Her Feet|
|Release Date: 04-27-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House|
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Paradise Beneath Her Feet
WHY WOMEN MATTER
The Payoff from Women's Rights
A mother is a school. Empower her and
you empower a great nation. --Hafez Ibrahim, Egyptian poet (1872-1932)
Across the dusty Mogadishu courtyard, the Somali women shouted instructions to each other as they cooked, adding their voices to the already considerable din--dogs barking, babies crying, the occasional staccato of distant machine-gun fire. The temperature hovered around a hundred degrees, and although a tattered tarp provided some meager cover from the searing sun, it also trapped the scalding heat from the kitchen fires. Orange flames licked the bottom of the giant makeshift pots provided by the Red Cross--fifty-gallon drums cut in half, with handles welded onto the sides for maneuvering. The women used long poles, like broomsticks, to stir the mush inside, a bland but nutritious concoction of rice, beans, and oil. Sweat poured down their faces. The smell of perspiration, food, and woodsmoke was pungent.
Outside the burned-out building, a guard stood by the doorway. The drooping flags of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent stirred occasionally in the faint breeze off the Indian Ocean. By late afternoon, a line of people began to form, and soon it was hundreds deep--mothers with babies on their backs, gaunt-faced children waiting listlessly by their parents' sides, a few young men chewing khat leaves, a natural stimulant that suppresses hunger but also makes them high. When the guard blew his whistle, the line moved slowly forward, flip-flops shuffling in the dust. The poorest were barefoot. The guard made the young men leave their Kalashnikovs at the door.
Inside the courtyard, the volunteer "kitchen mamas" ...