Negotiating Rights Through Transnational Puritan Networks: Religious Discourses; Cyber Technology and Pakistani Women
Ahmad, Ishtiaq, POLITICS OF RELIGION IN SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA, Singapore: Routledge, pp. 242-260 (ISBN 978-0-415-60227-3), 2011
14 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 20, 2011
Women’s rights in Pakistan continue to be debated in the current political climate in Pakistan, after the state approval for Nizam-i-Adl. The question of women’s rights needs to be examined in the context of their class, ethnic and rural/urban location. The emerging themes range from victim hood; subjectivity; subordination; patriarchal culture; prevailing religious discourses and discriminatory nature of family laws. This paper would discuss the current situation, within the context of existing legal frameworks defining and redefining their public/private role. This paper argues that women are actively involved in the networks of puritans – for the purpose of this paper I intend to use the term “transnational puritan networks” since the emerging scenario links the local and global networks. These women are active agents of puritanical version of Islam; assuming new roles through these religious paradigms, not mere conformists of a l religious view but are interpreters of puritanical religious discourses. These women reinterpreting puritan’s agendas and are instrumental in dissemination of a particular view, forging alliance through new technologies – E-learning; Audio material and internet classes for religious education. This paper attempts to explore the lives of Pakistani women, analysing the role of religious associations and networks to negotiate private and public space through religious performance and participation in Tableeghi Jamat & Al-Huda. The paper relies heavily on numerous formal and informal discussions with women exploring their experiences largely ignored in mainstream debates.
Keywords: Pakistan, Cyber Networks, New Media, Islamists
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