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Women, Islam, and Resistance in the Arab World

Maria Holt and Haifaa Jawad
Women, Islam, and Resistance in the Arab World
ISBN: 978-1-58826-925-6
ISBN: 978-1-62637-658-8
2013/211 pages/LC: 2013014679
"Challenges essentialist views of Muslim women as powerless victims by highlighting their agency."—Maria Carter Hallward, Left History

"A richly nuanced analysis of the complex ways in which Muslim women have drawn strength from their religion in resisting inequality and violence, whether generated from within their own community or from the outside."—Michaelle Browers, Middle East Journal

"Reveals a nuanced view of women's own sense of their position within the community, their relationship to males, and their role in opposing external repression."—Choice


How are women in the Arab world negotiating the male-dominated character of Islamist movements? Is their participation in the Islamic political project—including violent resistance against foreign invasion and occupation—the result of coercion, or of choice? Questioning assumptions about female powerlessness in Muslim societies, Maria Holt and Haifaa Jawad explore the resistance struggles taking place in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and elsewhere in the Middle East from the perspectives of the women involved.

The authors make extensive use of vivid personal testimonies as they examine the influence of such factors as religion, patriarchy, and traditional practices in determining women’s modes of participation in conflicts. In the process, they add to our knowledge not only of how women are affected by political violence, but also of how their involvement is beginning to change the rules that govern their societies.


Maria Holt is reader in the Department of Political Science at the University of Westminster, London. Haifaa Jawad is senior lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Birmingham.


  • Women and Islamism in the Arab World.
  • Islamic Discourses on Women and Violence.
  • Expressions of Resistance: Women and the Arab Spring.
  • Islam and Revolution: Shiite Women in Lebanon.
  • Islam and Resistance: Iraqi Women.
  • The Violence of Occupation: Palestinian Women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • The Way Forward.