An analysis of legal texts, marriage contracts, divorce registrations, court cases, and women's narratives points to a shift in women's access to dower property in Jabal Nablus, Palestine, between the 1930s and the 1980s. This shift is related to transformations in property relations and changing attitudes toward the meaning of gender. As husbands increasingly have come to be viewed as "providers," women have lost access to, and control over, dower property. At the same time, ambiguities and contradictions in the sources suggest that the trend toward conjugality and female dependency is neither complete nor a direct expression of women's greater subordination to men. Different categories of women take up different positions. Some women regard "giving up property" as an advantage.
Annelies Moors, Rajnaara C. Akhtar and Rebecca Probert
Annelies Moors, Martijn de Koning and Vanessa Vroon-Najem
From the mid-2000s, Dutch policy makers, the media, and others have started to define Muslim-only marriages as a problem. This contribution unpacks a recent hype, when a Dutch TV station broadcasted the conclusion of a polygamous marriage at a mosque, while simultaneously the largest right-wing political party presented an initiative to further criminalize Muslim-only marriages. In both the TV program and the policy initiative, the same feminist organization, Femmes for Freedom, was involved. Using liberal arguments such as freedom of partner choice to limit the freedom of a religious minority, interestingly, the dividing lines were neither between Muslims and non-Muslims, nor between more ‘mainstream’ and more ‘Salafi-oriented’ mosques. Arguing for the need to protect women, many supported the current Dutch law demanding that couples conclude a civil marriage prior to a religious marriage, as the former would protect women better, while others called for better educating Muslims about women’s rights in Islam. Whereas the voices of women in Muslim-only marriages were not heard, our research with converts entering into polygamous marriages indicates that they may opt for these marriages themselves with their main concerns centering on the equal treatment of wives and men’s openness about polygamy.
Postmodernism and the Arab-Islamic World
Edited by Inge E. Boer, Annelies Moors and Toine van Teffelen
The volume should therefore be of interest not only to those concerned with Middle Eastern studies but also to anyone wanting to keep abreast of the latest currents in critical and theoretical discourse.