Muslim Women Online
Faith and Identity in Virtual Space
By Anna Piela
Routledge – 2011 – 168 pages
Series: Islamic Studies Series
While issues surrounding Muslim women are common in the international media, the voices of Muslim women themselves are largely absent from media coverage and despite the rapidly increasing presence of Muslim women in online groups and discussions, it is still a relatively unexplored topic.This book examines Muslim women in transnational online groups, and their views on education, culture, marriage, sexuality, work, dress-code, race, class and sisterhood.
Looking at both egalitarian and traditionalist Muslim women's views, the author considers their interpretations of Islam and identifies a new category of holists who focus on developing the Islamic sisterhood. Drawing on detailed analysis of online transcripts, she highlights women's rhetorical techniques and the thorough knowledge of Islamic sources which they use to justify their points in online discussions. She details how in the online context, as opposed to offline interactions, Muslim women are much more willing to cross boundaries between traditionalist and egalitarian interpretations of Islam and women's Islamic rights and responsibilities and to develop collaborative interpretations with supporters of different views.
Shedding light on a candid and forthright global community, this book is an important contribution to the debate on women in Islam, and as such will be of interest to scholars and students of Islamic studies, gender studies, media studies and the Middle East.
Introduction 1. Islamic Feminisms? 2. Participants’ Methodologies of Engaging with Islamic Sources 3. Marriage, Sexuality and Polygamy 4. Employment and Mobility 5. Sisterhood. Conclusions
Anna Piela has a PhD in Women’s Studies from the University of York. Her research focuses on interpretations of Islamic texts produced by Muslim women in online spaces, and she has published articles in the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs and CyberOrient.