Chapter 42 & Chapter 45 Yujiao Huang

I posted this memo early before on my personal blog, I now post it on the main blog again because I realize that it is more convinient for people to leave comment.

In chapter 42; Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims, Charles Kurzman speaks about how Islamists have turned into a modern society by setting modern goals and following moder methods.

In traditional Muslims, people preserve their traditional values. During the Iran and Iraq war from 1980-1988, under the law of Islam religion, all amusement such as drinking, partying, and videoing were banned. If someone violated the religious law, he or she would get inhumane punishment like whipping, torturing and even killing. However, in nowadays, the expansion of modern western civilization has influenced many Islamists to change their old ways of thinking and to adapt modern norms, share modern values such as human rights and rule of law. Lots of Islamists have graduated from educated schools and organized themselves along modern lines using advanced technologies. They attempt to abandon outdated religious practices, and are hostile to monarchies such as the Saudi dynasty in favor of democracy. According to Kurzman, both liberals and radicals give a new shape to tradition in modern molds. They believe that there are many ways of being modern.

Islamists share significant values with western modernity. Bin Laden, for example, “combined traditional grievance with contemporary demands such as economic development, human right and national self-determination.” Islamist states follow the path of modern Western states. The Islamic republican of Iran, embraces global norms by writing a new constitution and approve full adult suffrage.

Kurzaman also revealed the fundamental difference between Khomeini’s Iran and Taliban’s Afghanistan. Although Western bias lumps them in the same category, they have very distinctive view toward gender role. Iran is a modern state while the Taliban in Afghanistan was not. For example, many Iranian women have good educational level. They entered the labor force and active in many segments of public life including as parliamentary representatives. The Taliban girls are prohibited from attending schools, and women are banned from working at most jobs.

Both ideologically and in practice, Islamists have adopted modern ideas, forms, and methods, but one of the modern Western norms they reject is the separation of church and state. Like the Mafioso and other illegal networks, Islamists organize around informal personal ties.

Finally, Kurzman concludes that the war on terrorism has not generated the massive negative reaction among Muslims that some observers expected, only 15 percent of respondents considered the September 11 attacks to be morally justified. Muslim populations show that when free elections are held, Islamists rarely fare well. When given a choice, Muslims like in Iran choose liberal forms. And Islamists will success by following their promises to follow democratic norms.

Chapter 45 Obedience versus Autonomy: Women in fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan

In chapter 45, “Obedience versus Autonomy: Women in fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan”, Haeri explores the relationships between women and fundamentalism in the Islamic world– in Iran and Pakistan. She addressed the problems associated with perspectives taken on women and fundamentalism in the Muslim world. She also focused on the life experiences of some Iranian and Pakistani women to bring out the tension between women’s obedience and their desire for autonomy. States and fundamentalists tend to control women’s bodies, limit their movements, and prevent them from participating in public or political activity.

In Islamic law, the structure of a marriage contract obliges women to be obedient to their husband. They accept the dual relationship in a marriage where in an ideological scheme, they are considered as a person and a sexual and reproductive object as well. This reminds me of the life of Indian women that I discussed on my paper early before. Like the women in India, women in the Islamic world have to be submissive to their men on every daily basis. They even need to ask for their husbands’ permission to leave the house. A woman has no voice in the household and must obey her men and “submit herself for whatever pleasure he wants”.

Iran and Pakistan are the places where fundamentalism is active, but Pakistani fundamentalist’ interpretation of the role and status of women, marriage and family law is more limited. For instance, during the revolution of Iran, fundamentalists encouraged women to participate in overthrowing Prophet Government. Therefore, the middle class Iranian women now tend to interpret Islamic law in the way that empower women role domestically and socially.

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3 Responses to “Chapter 42 & Chapter 45 Yujiao Huang”

  1. Prof. Hala says:

    Impressive, comprehensive memo, as usual, Christie. Great work. You manage to hone in on just about all the key points in the articles. I especially like the way you’ve drawn analogies between terrorist networks and organized crime and between gender roles in some Islamic and Indian communities. You bring a genuine “sociological imagination” to your analysis!

  2. natashag22 says:

    It was good to see chapter 42 being summarized with no bias. The student used words such as “old ways of thinking” and “modern western” ways of thinking without giving emphasis to which was the more correct way. After such a great summary it would have been nice to see some of the student’s opinion.

  3. ndrumgo says:

    Great posting. I like the fact that you was truthful with what you believe without being bias. I also like how you went into details between the Islamic and Indians. “Like the women in India, women in the Islamic world have to be submissive to their men on every daily basis”, do you think this will every change?