Religion v. Girls’ Education

The following is an excerpt from Religion Dispatches , an online daily magazine for intelligent analysis of religion and public life.

A recent headline in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Muslim Women May Defy Fathers’ Wishes and Go to University, Legal Authority Rules” pointed to a Lebanon fatwa (defined as similar to a court ruling). The ruling was quoted as follows:

“If a father wanted to prevent his daughter from seeking an education and she wanted otherwise, then she is not obliged to obey his wishes in this matter… because obeying the father is an obligation but only under the condition that no harm comes of it to the child,” according to Mr. Gomaa’s reasoning, which is derived from Islamic jurisprudence.

“The harm that befalls a girl for not receiving an education is clear and known. If she abandons her college education, then she will miss a great deal of enlightenment about her religion and about everyday knowledge,” the reasoning continued. “She will have a limited awareness of the world around her as compared to … her educated counterparts in society.”

Of course, not all Muslims agree with this ruling, including the unnamed author of a Web site entitled Read Islamic Books where shariah is marshaled to argue against sending daughters to college. And, as I was reminded, reading comments on that same Chronicle article, nor do all the non-Muslim religious people in the United States (or elsewhere) believe their daughters should be exposed to college or university education; some Americans, it turns out… READ MORE :

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