Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1441244
 


 



Seeking Recognition: Women's Struggle for Full Citizenship in the Community of Religious Worship


Pnina Lahav


Boston University - School of Law


GENDERING RELIGION AND POLITICS: UNTANGLING MODERNITIES, pp. 125-152, Hanna Herzog and Ann Braude, eds., Palgrave Macmillan, July 2009
Boston University School of Law Working Paper No. 09-33

Abstract:     
In March, 2005, a feminist Muslim scholar, Dr. Amina Wadud, led a group of men and women in public prayer in New York City. Dr. Wadud has enthusiastic followers, but many Muslim scholars reacted to her move with hostility, describing religious prayers led by a woman as lawless and heretical. Since 1988, a group of orthodox Jewish women have been holding 'Tefillah Groups,' claiming that women too may be active participants in the formal ritual of Jewish public prayer. Their act has also triggered considerable hostility and controversy in the Jewish world.

This paper explores the similarities and differences between the Muslim and Jewish frameworks, in an effort to understand better the reasons motivating educated feminists to push the legal frontiers of religious worship and the reasons motivating state apparatuses to resist such moves. It then argues that in the United States, constitutional culture and scholarship has influenced religious women in their quest to better understand their religious law and open it to principles of gender equality.

The paper further explores the affinity between the right to petition the government for redress of grievances and the right to assemble (first amendment to the United States Constitution) as secular rights, and the right of women under Islam and Jewish Law to petition (pray) in assembly in their religious communities. It argues that the concept of full and active citizenship in the community connects the three legal systems, the mature US commitment in the first amendment and the fledgling, exploratory commitment in Islam and Jewish Law.

Keywords: feminism, comparative law, law and social movements, religion and feminism, First Amendment, similarities and differences between Muslim and Jewish religious frameworks, religious women, women's citizenship in the community of religious worship

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Accepted Paper Series


Not Available For Download

Date posted: July 31, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Lahav, Pnina, Seeking Recognition: Women's Struggle for Full Citizenship in the Community of Religious Worship. GENDERING RELIGION AND POLITICS: UNTANGLING MODERNITIES, pp. 125-152, Hanna Herzog and Ann Braude, eds., Palgrave Macmillan, July 2009; Boston University School of Law Working Paper No. 09-33. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1441244

Contact Information

Pnina Lahav (Contact Author)
Boston University - School of Law ( email )
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-2820 (Phone)
617-353-3077 (Fax)
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