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Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya

Leadership, Representation, and Social Change

Ousseina D. Alidou

Publication Year: 2013

In education, journalism, legislative politics, social justice, health, law, and other arenas, Muslim women across Kenya are emerging as leaders in local, national, and international contexts, advancing reforms through their activism. Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya draws on extensive interviews with six such women, revealing how their religious and moral beliefs shape reform movements that bridge ethnic divides and foster alliances in service of creating a just, multicultural, multiethnic, and multireligious democratic citizenship.
            Mwalim Azara Mudira opened a school of theology for Muslim women. Nazlin Omar Rajput of The Nur magazine was a pioneer in reporting on HIV/AIDS in the Muslim community. Amina Abubakar, host of a women's radio show, has publicly addressed the sensitive subject of sexual crimes against Muslim women. Two women who are members of parliament are creating new socioeconomic and political opportunities for girls and women, within a framework that still embraces traditional values of marriage and motherhood.
            Examining the interplay of gender, agency, and autonomy, Ousseina D. Alidou shows how these Muslim women have effected change in the home, the school, the mosque, the media, and more—and she illuminates their determination as actors to challenge the oppressive influences of male-dominated power structures. In looking at differences as opportunities rather than obstacles, these women reflect a new sensibility among Muslim women and an effort to redefine the meaning of women's citizenship within their own community of faith and within the nation.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-x

List of Illustrations

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pp. xi-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xviii

My deepest gratitude goes to all the Muslim women in Kenya in Mombasa and Nairobi ( Jami’a Mosque, Pumwani, Pangani, Parklands) and other Kenyan women and men who welcomed me and contributed to the research that led to the writing of this book. The research for this book began as a humble question as to whether there was a Muslim women’s rights movement in Kenya, ...

Abbreviations

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pp. xix-xx

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Introduction

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pp. 3-32

Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya: Leadership, Representation, and Social Change examines the ways in which Kenya Muslim women leaders have been using the space opened up by the democratization momentum that began in the 1990s to bring about important transformations in critical domains of society while also reclaiming their citizenship rights within their communities of faith, ...

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Chapter 1: Bi Swafiya Muhashamy-Said: A Pioneer in Reforming Chuo (Madrasa) Nursery Curriculum in Kenya and Beyond

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pp. 33-60

Having been subject to British colonialism for decades, the East African countries, including Kenya, all inherited the educational system that maintains a distinction between schools designed for religious training and those for the material world. But under the impact of globalization, Muslim women educationists in this region are rethinking the question of modernity ...

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Chapter 2: The Ma’had Tradition of Mwalim Azara Mudira: Creating a Woman’s Space for Islamic Education in Kenya

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pp. 61-83

This chapter looks at the pioneering work of Mwalim Azara Mudira, who set a precedent by opening a modern boarding school for advanced Islamic theological training of young Muslim women in Pangani, Nairobi, in the face of opposition from conservative Muslim walimu and the skepticism of many members of the wider Kenya Muslim community. ...

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Chapter 3: Muslim Women Legislators in Minority Status: Contributions to Representative Politics

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pp. 84-115

Until 2012, the Kenyan legislative body, known as the Parliament or National Assembly, had a total of 210 electoral seats that accommodated the elected representatives of the people from 210 constituencies in the country that had been established by the Electoral Commission. Furthermore, it provided for an additional twelve seats for nominated MPs. ...

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Chapter 4: Judge Abida Ali-Aroni: First Muslim Woman Justice of the Kenya High Court

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pp. 116-144

The increase in the proportion of Muslim women in the Tenth Parliament was partly a product of the gains from civic and political struggles for constitutional reform in Kenya. As Willy Mutunga (1999) demonstrates in his insightful study, these struggles go back to the final years of Daniel arap Moi’s presidency, ...

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Chapter 5: Muslim Women and the Use of New Media: Inscribing Their Voices in Rights Discourse

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pp. 145-170

The proliferation of private media broadcasting stations, private newspapers, and magazines resulting from democratization processes in most African countries has created an outlet for the many voices in various national constituencies and has also allowed for ideologically divergent affirmations in Muslim polities. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 171-180

In this book I offer an examination of the significant ways Kenya Muslim women sociopolitical leaders such as the ones discussed here have been using the space opened up by the 1990s democratization to bring about transformative changes in critical domains of society while also reclaiming their citizenship rights within their communities of faith ...

Glossary

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pp. 181-182

Notes

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pp. 183-186

References

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pp. 187-204

Index

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pp. 205-226

Women in Africa and the Diaspora Series

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p. 248-248


E-ISBN-13: 9780299294632
E-ISBN-10: 0299294633
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299294649
Print-ISBN-10: 0299294641

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 41 b/w illus., 6 tables
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Women in Africa and the Diaspora