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130 œ JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EAST WOMEN'S STUDIES health policy in Iran. She gives a historical overview and discusses the existing policy and the Islamic ideology behind it. Underwood's account of the mosque movement is interesting. It shows how an Islamic institution that remained for centuries restricted only to prayers has been transformed by the people into one that serves community interests. Iran has always been in the news as a country under siege by Islamist revolutionaries . This article reveals another side of how the grassroots are served by the revolution in an important sector such as health. I could not but notice the cover of this book. It is the first time I've seen a book about Islam with pictures ofAfricans on its cover. Whatever interpretation may be given to this choice ofpictures, I think it is a successful choice that reveals the cosmopolitan face ofMuslims. Muslim Women in the United Kingdom and Beyond: Experiences and Images Haifaa Jawad and Tansin Benn, eds., 2003. Leiden, Boston: Brill. Pp.xxvi + 180. $96.00/cloth. Christine Fergus, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan Muslim Women in the United Kingdom and Beyond, edited by Haifaa Jawad and Tansin Benn, provides detailed snapshots of Muslim women living in various Western contexts, including both accounts of their everyday lives and analyses of contemporary Western images of Islam and Muslim women. The essays in this edited collection blend statistical research with Muslim women's lived experiences, which are brought to life through short narratives and quotes. The research represents a broad spectrum of experience, consistently reaffirming the heterogeneity of female practitioners of Islam in the West and dispelling many of the Western myths that surround them, including stereotypical portrayals ofMuslim women as veiled, oppressed, and passive victims ofboth their religion and their husbands. Although Muslim women in the West continue to face many challenges, including increased Islamophobia since 11 September 2001, the book does not fall into the trap of espousing an BOOK REVIEWS œ 131 entirely negative portrayal that paints Muslim women as a homogenous community caught in an inexorable web ofracial and religious discrimination . Rather, many positive experiences are highlighted, and the overall tone of the collection, which sets forth recommendations for positive change, is one ofencouragement. A central theme focuses on the religious prejudice experienced by Muslim women in the West and the various ways in which they respond to it. Several of the essays report instances of both explicit and implicit Islamophobia, with research suggesting that women who choose to dress "Islamically," in particular by donning some form of veiling, are more susceptible to discriminatory remarks, employment practices, and so forth. The essays also discuss the "double-bind" faced by many Muslim women in the West who have found themselves confronted with the dual responsibilities of both "perpetuating tradition and meeting the challenges of living in non-Muslim societies" (15). The book skillfully addresses Western perceptions of Islam and one ofthe most visible symbols of Islam in the West—the veiled Muslim woman. The reader is presented with thoughtful analysis regarding why these perceptions are often inaccurate and why the past few decades have witnessed the proliferation of portrayals of Islam as a threat to Western-style modernity. This issue is addressed in more detail through a fascinating study of"airport literature," or popular paperbacks sold in airports and other venues for the purpose of entertainment rather than education. The case study provides vivid examples of how stereotypical images ofMuslim women are perpetuated in the West through popular culture. Other topics covered in the collection include Muslim women in the American and Swedish contexts, converts to Islam (referred to as "new Muslims") in the United Kingdom, career guidance received by young Muslim women in England, and the experiences offemale Muslim teachers in England. The contents of the book are organized logically, and the style of the individual essays is consistent throughout. The preface and introductory chapter provide the reader with background information regarding the broad historical and cultural contexts of the collection's research on Muslim women in the West, laying a helpful foundation for the more focused and detailed chapters that follow. As for...


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pp. 130-132
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