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Author Topic: Qur'an Empowers Indonesian Women  (Read 1285 times)

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Qur'an Empowers Indonesian Women
« on: October 29, 2008, 06:20:00 PM »
 :s:






My mother was the first woman judge in Indonesia. That was thanks to my father, who practiced the teaching of Qur’an," Lily said

In her classrooms, Lily Munir explains how the Noble Qur'an and Islam's teachings advocate women's empowerment.
"I tell my students: Don't just memorize. Let's discuss," Lily, director and founder of the Jakarta-based Center for Pesantrens (Islamic schools) and Democracy Studies, told the Christian Science Monitor on Tuesday, October 28.

Lily, a veteran rights activist, has long used Qur'an-inspired woman rights to challenge traditional views on gender in the world's most populous Muslim state.

Through her center, established 6 years ago, she teaches women and even children that the teachings of Islam are not only against the oppression of women but in fact they support women's rights and status in the society. 

   Status of Woman in Islam
"Our center started with issues relating to women," said Lily, who has long been active in women's organizations tied to Nahdlatul Ulama - the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia.

She is also organizing training sessions in about 10 districts of the East Java province to teach hundreds of teachers how to make women rights a part of their instruction.

Alongside issues of gender, Lily's organization also tackles the issue of female illiteracy in Indonesia, where 17 percent of women and girls can't read or write.

Stereotyped Pesantrens

Lily also fights to shatter a much-stereotyped image of pesantrens in Indonesia, where 85 percent of the 220 million population follow Islam.

She usually cites her own upbringing in a pesantren founded and run by her parents in East Java.

"My mother was the first woman judge in Indonesia. That was thanks to my father, who practiced the teaching of Qur’an: that men should…be empowering women."

There are some 14,000 Islamic boarding schools in Indonesia, filling the vacuum of state schools in the poorest, remotest parts of the South Asian archipelago nation.

More than three million students are registered in these pesantrens, which serve as centers for learning the Noble Qur'an along with math, computers, geography and English.

Lily affirms in her lectures that the vast majority of pesantrens are moderate and venerated.

Her center runs three pesantrens, in which instructors try to combine classic Islamic studies with seminars on women's health and rights.

"There's a very thoughtful and significant segment of the pesantrens that are completely against radicalism," says Ron Lukens-Bull, an assistant professor of anthropology at the US University of North Florida.

The American expert, who has written extensively about pesantrens, believes that through efforts like Lily's, pesantrens can be strengthened as an effective bulwark against radical views.

"She's doing things that are new and innovative.

"She's pushing the pesantren community further than the traditional perspective." 


http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1225200750510&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout
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