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“Authentic Sharia” as Cause and Cure for Women’s Human Rights Violations in Northern Nigeria

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By analysing the proposals contained in the report, “Promoting Women’s Rights Through Sharia in Northern Nigeria,” which was published by the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria in 2005, this paper explores the complexities and consequences of a rights strategy grounded in “an authentic understanding of Sharia.” The paper argues that this strategy may further constrain the discourses of debate for Muslim women in northern Nigeria. It also discusses how the strategy privatizes responsibility for poverty eradication, and how it ignores competing languages of social change, including Nigerian and international women’s rights.


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