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Claremont McKenna College

Publication Date

Fall 2023

Program Name

Jordan: Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East


The goal of this qualitative research is to procure a definition of Arab Feminism from the religious and cultural beliefs of Jordanian Muslim women while also highlighting the feminist roots of Islam. The hijab is the perfect symbol to analyze Arab feminism under and discuss the difference between religion and culture.

This paper first dives into the history of the Jordanian women’s movement and the origins of today's activism. This hinges on the work of Rana Husseini, who has the only in-depth account of the Jordanian women’s movement. This history allows the reader to better understand the current conditions of women in Jordan and the role Muslim women have played in the political history of the movement. Then, the definition of Arab feminism based on the opinions of Muslim women in Jordan is provided. Under this definition, the Qur’an is described as a feminist text. Furthermore, this definition exposes the weakness and Orientalist foundations of mainstream Western feminism.

The opinions of Jordanian, Muslim women are further unfurled to uncover the religious or cultural reasons why women wear the hijab. This dichotomy of culture and religion is further discussed to highlight the dangers of conflating religion and culture/Bid3a (misrepresenting Islam). Bid3a is the root of oppressive cultural practices that are falsely justified as being religious.


Feminist Philosophy | Islamic Studies | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Sociology of Religion | Women's Studies


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