The Politics of Neo-liberalism, Sexuality and Islam
- The Moderate Muslim and the “Liberal Bargain”
- The Role of the Native Informant: Irshad Manji and Ayaan Hirsi
- Reclaiming the Muslim Woman’s Narrative
- Conclusion: An Ethics of Post-colonial Difference
The image of a veiled woman captioned ‘’Face of Islam’’ appears in juxtaposition to the photos of the crumbling twin towers of the World Trade Center. Featured in the New York Times photo essay of the year 2001, similar images often repeated in the media link the oppression of Muslim women to terrorist violence. They also point to the gender politics of the war on terror and the ways Muslim women’s sexuality has been manipulated to reinforce a clash of civilizations with Islam versus the West. Recent rhetoric in the U.S. and Europe surrounding notions of patriotism, liberalism, secularism, and freedom have been couched in the discourse of sexual rights. Whether it is the right to manifest one’s sexual identity or to take off the veil and assert one’s right as a woman “to bare one’s arms,” the role of Muslim agency in this discourse is circumscribed by social forces that discipline even as they liberate. Global freedom as a savior of liberalism, defined within the context of the war on terror, has been defined as sexual freedom. Women’s bodies in particular have become the site of “symbolic confrontations between a re-essentialized understanding of religious and cultural difference and the force of state power, whether in their civic-republican, liberal-democratic or multicultural form.”
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