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Women, Cosmopolitanism and Islamic Education

On the Virtues of Engagement and Belonging

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Nuraan Davids

Contemporary impressions of Islām – especially in the post-9/11 world – are creating daunting challenges for Muslims everywhere. Muslim women, because of their specific mode of attire, seem to be at the forefront of the growing skepticism surrounding Islamic education. Ironically, it would appear that the same detailed attention devoted by Islamic scholars to the conduct of Muslim women now surfaces in contemporary debates, focusing on the exclusionary practices they remain subjected to in their communities. Yet because these debates seldom move beyond continued diatribes against Muslim women’s subjugation to entrenched societal norms of male chauvinism, little is known about what has given shape to their identity and sense of belonging. This book attempts to further the debate in two ways: Firstly, it offers an insight into how some Muslim women engage with one another and with society more generally, and how their practices reflect the plurality of interpretations constitutive of Islam both within and outside the spheres of cosmopolitanism. Secondly, it offers the opportunity to consider how a renewed Islamic education informed by the principles of democratic citizenship education can begin to reshape multifarious forms of engagement by, with and among Muslim women.

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