Interreligious dialogue is all-too-often dominated by religiously authorized patriarchal spokesmen in Southwest Asia. Furthermore, feminists and liberals thinking and doing interreligious dialogue in the academic sphere are marginalized, especially those who forge an arena of religious/interreligious practice or construct a scholarly discourse on religions and interreligious dialogue. This reality is connected to the male and patriarchal domination of religious leadership, despite the emergence/re-emergence of women and feminist preachers, teachers and interpreters of religious texts in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Our paper first introduces two definitions of gender and authority; it then presents a few of the many aspects of our journey with thinking/doing interreligious dialogue, and addresses issues of gender and religious authority in Islam and Christianity; it also calls for a shift from complementarianism to egalitarianism, and presents the results of a survey with university students in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates that helped us assess the possibility of implementing this shift; and in conclusion, it identifies few ideas as food for thought to face some of the challenges to rethinking/doing interreligious dialogue in particular, and the gender-religious authority relation more broadly, such as:
Read the full paper by Dr. Pamela Chrabieh and Dr. Nadia Wardeh in "Middle Eastern Women: the Intersection of Law, Culture and Religion", edited by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, 2020.
We are pleased to announce the publication of an edited book by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb - member of Telos' Editorial Board - on Women's rights and situations in the Middle East, with amazing contributions by several authors, including other members of the Editorial Board: Dr. Pamela Chrabieh and Dr. Anne Emile Zaki.
This book investigates the role that intersectionality of law, culture and religion plays in hindering movement towards equal rights for women. The majority of the papers highlights the challenges faced by women in traditional patriarchal societies. These challenges span from economic limitations to legal systems, and from lack of representation in the media to religiously inspired inequality. The papers included in this book are eye-opening in reporting the situation of women in diverse Middle Eastern countries and what they have in common, but also the differences between contexts, countries and denominations. Together, they construct an interdisciplinary vision of women’s lives in the Middle East. The papers show that the context is by no means static but is fluid and dynamic. There are setbacks but also breakthroughs. While one can see a polarization between conservative powers that seek to maintain the status quo on the one hand and progressive forces demanding change on the other, the direction for the future is clearly in favor of the latter. The hope is that this volume will contribute to this process.
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