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Should we fight for women's rights through Shariah?

Calls for a “return to Shariah” has prompted some organisations to develop more palatable ways to package women’s rights using Shariah law. Nussbaum rightly stated that human rights has to be vernacularized. But I have seen how this has resulted in a seemingly innocuous but insincere effort to tick off a checklist of verses from the Quran and Traditions of the Prophet.

Recitation alone is not sufficient to engage communities and courts to address concerns around women’s freedoms. It speaks to what should change without addressing why people should change. And if seen to originate from the west, it can be counterproductive.

Further, the "tick off the checklist" approach is still a positivist approach to law (albeit, this time, a more palatable one). We are still telling people what to do. Not a bad thing. But depends on who's doing it.



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