FEMALE WARRIORS OF ALLAH: Women and the Islamic Revolution by Minou Reeves

FEMALE WARRIORS OF ALLAH: Women and the Islamic Revolution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, Iranian-born Reeves offers an incisive analysis of women's situation in Iran that reveals the Shiite mind-set: martyrdom as the backdrop and sole expression for women's liberation there. Reeves draws the whole of Islamic history and relates it to the condition of won men now, explaining why, despite the inherent equality of the sexes in original Islamic thought, women remain under the veils of society. She also shows how the Shiites, in fighting against the Sunnis (the elected Caliphs who had usurped the rule from Mohammed's bloodline), promulgated martyrdom to their progeny: When Mohammed's grandson Hussain rebelled, he purposefully sacrificed his life for the cause. And now, for the women of Iran, there is equality only in martyrdom. Despite the fact that women did attain rights of a Western sort under the regime of Reza Shah, only the educated women appreciated them; others saw them as threatening the power of Islam. As time went on, these rights became increasingly vapid while Islamic values were gradually buried under the chic Western clothes worn by Iranian women. To fight this Westernization, two factions of female warriors emerged: the Mujahidin, followers of the teachings of Ali Shariati, who called for a reform of Islam; and the Fundamentalists, who followed Khomeini. The Mujahidin, who practice equality and are Khomeini's staunchest opponents, unfortunately and unwittingly helped place him in power. They are, however, at one with him on the issue of the West as enemy, and are therefore still willing to die for the cause. Reeves lucidly explains some of the most confounding phenomena of our time: terrorism, martyrdom, female militancy, and hatred of the West. This book would make a great gift for our heads of state.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 1988
Publisher: Dutton