In "Paradise Beneath Her Feet," Isobel Coleman shows how Muslim women and men are fighting back with progressive interpretations of Islam to support women's rights in a growing movement of Islamic feminism. Dr. Coleman argues that these efforts are critical to bridging the conflict between those championing reform and those seeking to oppress women in the name of religious tradition.
CFR's Isobel Coleman discusses the growing movement of Islamic feminism in light of her new book, Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.
Efforts to provide the world's women with economic and political power are more than just a worthy moral crusade: they represent perhaps the best strategy for pursuing development and stability across the globe.
Seyran Ates, a practicing Muslim, charges that Germany has been downplaying human rights--and women's rights in particular--in an effort to remain politically correct with respect to religious practices.
Following the 2009 disputed Iran presidential election, CFR's Isobel Coleman, a leading expert on women's issues, says that if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory stands, "you'll see a much more restricted Iran." This will "fall heavily on women, but it won't stop them," she says.
In February, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Isobel Coleman met with business leaders, academics, journalists, and civic activists in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Among Wittes and Coleman's key findings are that many Saudis welcomed the emergence of a more open atmosphere, pointing to King Abdullah's ascension to the throne, dynamism in neighboring Gulf states, and a new "post-post-9/11" environment as key catalysts for the change. Yet, there was frustration at the unpredictability and arbitrariness of the newly expanded social and political space. The next U.S. administration may have a new, but narrow, window of opportunity to reintroduce itself to Saudi Arabia. Many Saudis argued for the creation of a deeper, multi-dimensional relationship between both countries that engages civil society, not just the government and business sectors.
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The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.