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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an insight into the key themes discussed in the book. Women in predominantly Muslim societies have been the subject of images and generalisations, romantic Orientalist tales and feminist expos, Muslim reformers and apologetic tracts. After a long history of feminist struggle, women in Egypt have been most successful in advancing their human rights in the public domain. This book focuses on the area of rights most greatly affected by the Islamic Sharia, namely personal status law in one Muslim-majority country, Egypt. It examines whether the provisions of this body of positive, man-made law is compatible with Egypts international obligations under treaty law and customary international law establishing standards for the protection of women, and addresses ways in which the law can, and has been reformed, without prejudice to its religious nature.

Keywords: Islamic Sharia; Muslim reformers; Muslim societies; Muslim women



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