The role of Muslim women in the Islamic world has led to much discussion and assumptions; unfortunately the discussion is often a negative one. The most common perceptions are of that women living under the oppressive dictatorships of their husbands and fathers, forced into marriage, and of course suffocated under the veil.
The focus of the media on Muslim women around the world is concentrated on the ones wearing hijab, being treated as second rate citizens, or worst of all, falling a victim to horrific human rights violations. These situations definitely deserve attention and (in many cases) an appropriate serving of justice, firstly because its an area in which there are many misconceptions by non-Muslims which need to be corrected and secondly some Muslims treat women unjustly in the name of Islam when in fact their actions are often a result of cultural or tribal customs and not Islam.
Misconceptions about the treatment of Muslim women come from two sources; from Muslims who may justify their oppression and mistreatment of women on the basis of Islam, and some non-Muslims who have an agenda to take the Islamic teachings and view it as backward and oppressive.
The treatment of women in some Muslim countries like Afghanistan has been used to present of Muslim women being abused and then blame the shar’iah texts. An example for that is the murder of a girl from Afghanistan in the United Kingdom by her father and uncle for the sake of ‘honor’. Even though these actions are not from Islam, the western media have linked this crime to Islam.
The role of Muslim woman is clearly defined in Islam. Her primary role is the upbringing of her children and being a dutiful wife. However the women’s role of being a mother and a wife are not her only roles. Islam also permits the woman to exercise the vote, engage in politics, to take up employment and even run her own business.
A great example is...