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Annelies Moors

Abstract

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.

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Annelies Moors, Rajnaara C. Akhtar and Rebecca Probert

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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.

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Changing Stories

Postmodernism and the Arab-Islamic World

Edited by Inge E. Boer, Annelies Moors and Toine van Teffelen

In Changing Stories: Postmodernism and the Arab-Islamic World some recent ideas current in postmodernist theoretical discourse are critically investigated and pragmatically applied to concrete issues relating to the contemporary Arab-Islamic world. In particular Jean-François Lyotard's distinction between grand narratives (or master stories) and small stories (or local narratives) is taken by the authors as a starting-point and point of reference and in various ways they address the legitimacy and applicability of this distinction. After a general introduction nine separate articles deal with the predicament of Palestinian women in the occupied territories, Dutch development-aid discourse in Gaza and the West Bank, Islamism and modernism in Tunisia, modernist and postmodernist political discourse in Egypt, feminism in Egypt and, as a travelling theory, in the Arab world as a whole, juridical and educational attitudes towards Turkish and Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands, and the concept of the Islamic city.
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.