“They have never even done yoga,” said Zainah Anwar, a founder of a Malaysian women’s rights group called Sisters in Islam.
Anwar argues that the edict, issued late last year by the National Fatwa Council of Malaysia, is pure patriarchy. Islam, she says, is only a cover.
It was frustrations like those that drew several hundred Muslim women to a conference in this Muslim-majority country over the weekend. Their mission was to come up with ways to demand equal rights for women. And their tools, however unlikely, were the tenets of Islam itself.
“Secular feminism has fulfilled its historical role, but it has nothing more to give us,” said Ziba Mir-Hosseini, an Iranian anthropologist who has been helping to formulate some of the arguments. “The challenge we face now is theological.”………….