Revolutionary Justice: Semantic Ambiguity, Sharia, and the Rise of Muslim Women in Politics
Mentor:Dana Simmons, Professor, UC Riverside Honors College
How has the rise of Algerian feminist organizations providing legalistic workshops to women impacted the statistics of female involvement in politics and policy-making? The purpose of my research is to examine the resulting gender-role implications of intersecting colonial French “Family Law” and the traditional patriarchy of Berber society in 19th century Algeria as well as to demonstrate the current revolution of Islamic feminism and legal reformation. French law and Berber patriarchy aligned in such a way that women were prevented from accessing the political process until the intercession of Algerian feminist organizations in the late 1900’s.My actual research shows that the current work of Algerian feminist groups has resulted in higher rates of education and alternate interpretations of Sharia, empowering women in the political arena. My data and current research, ranging from personal interviews I conducted, statistics collected on voting polls that I acquired from Algerian legal organizations, and questionnaires from Algerian female leaders, show women have achieved high political offices from Prime Ministers to Presidential candidates with a statistically high percentage of the majority vote and are increasing their political involvement as a result of increased literacy and usage of true unbiased Islamic law. My research will include statistical data collected by the feminist organizations that involved themselves in providing workshops on examining Islamic texts, as well as interviews and case studies of women that had fallen in between the jurisprudence of Islamic and French law. My intention is to demonstrate Sharia law as misinterpreted in today's media and even fought against, which in turn has reaffirmed patriarchal views by avoiding open conversation rather than addressing the problem and educating men and women on Islamic law.