To start with … I am a Muslim woman in the Middle East of Western Origin. I do not feel oppressed or backward. Many of my fellow female citizens here hold, just like I do, a Master’s Degree from a Western University. We are free to work and choose for ourselves. We are given special rights based on religious values, and respected based on our conduct.
However, as everywhere in the world, our male fellow members of society or traditions or obsolete attitudes or people fearing for the loss of their status quo deny us our rights and often prevent us from getting them. If we wait for these people to change their attitudes, respect our rights and hope for their final understanding, then we will probably continue to wait till the end of time.
It is up to us, the women, to change and keep fighting for the implementation of our rights. This can only happen with knowledge and development. If (some of us) believe their religion (and in my case this is Islam) to have provided women with all the necessary rights, then we must uncover the malpractice of society that denies us these rights. We must continue to gain knowledge to be able to defend ourselves on the basis of our divine rights.
I think we should start with a strong argument, not to be discouraged by blind and stubborn individuals or groups. And most of all, we should not judge the truth according to the people, but the people according to the truth. Just because someone belongs to a certain religion, that does not mean this person knows it all or is right. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but there are wrong opinions and interpretations. It is not enough to say that someone is wrong, we must prove it on the basis of the same religion this person believes in.
It is ironic that the latest world events caused many discussions about Islam, often resulting in widespread better information about this religion and thus other people supporting it, because they are now able to distinguish the religion from the doings of its followers.
Islamic history bears witness of many strong female dominant personalities, who had a great influence on Islamic society. We need to spread their stories and their message …. But more about that another time. Till then.