Cornell University

Foundations of Muslim Extremism and The Marginalization and Violence Against Women

Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 10:30am to 11:30am

Boyce Thompson Institute, Auditorium

In this presentation I argue that Muslim women issues are symptoms of the widespread crisis in understanding Islam. I also argue that these issues, being the consequences of extremism on all fronts, are the active drive to understand the foundations of Muslim extremism. To better understand this crisis, we need a radical shift in discourse to be able to analyze the mind-set of these extremist Muslims, the majority of whom are males. They may claim to adhere to Islam, yet they are violating the basic principle of Islam by coercing people to follow their own rules under threat of force or rape. They call for the rule of shari’a, but the meaning of “shari’a” has been largely abused for many centuries. Their behavior is mainly based on few Islamic texts that are either taken out of context or fabricated to justify their violent acts. 

For example, Muslim extremists use some of the reported narratives (Hadith) on the authority of the Prophet Muhammad (also known as his tradition or sunnah) to enforce social structure that negatively affect Muslim women, like issues of modesty, leadership, and testimony. This abuse of the reported narratives, I argue, is the main cause of the crisis in understanding Islam because some of these narratives are not corroborated by the Qur`an. Muslim women, therefore, need to rethink the Hadith because it is still being used as a source for applying the Qur`an, or as the primary source before the Qur`an, even when the contents of some narratives are not corroborated by the Qur`an. Hadith narratives must be carefully evaluated and should not replace Qur`anic guidance, the only divine and binding text of Islam.

Come anytime after 10am for refreshments.

Event Type



CAPE: Cornell Association of Professors Emeriti

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Cindy-Anne Robinsonn

Contact Phone



Nimat Barazangi

Speaker Affiliation

Research Fellow

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