Gender Identity in Islam

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Akin, Holly
Brown, Adrianna
Wallace, Chloe
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Middle Tennessee State University
James Cox has outlined the World’s Religion Paradigm as a Christian narrative in which westerners project their preconceived ideological beliefs onto other religions against the Christian framework (Robertson 2013). Through this context, it can be argued that the world’s religion paradigm is actually a religious description, or even perhaps a social perspective, that defines how people and their belief systems can interrelate to, or be oppositional from, one another. However, it appears that theories can be interchangeable, particularly in regards to women, because the Western and Christian bias assumes that all religions operate under common conditions or with similar purposes. The parallels may even go unnoticed to some because it does not fit their personal narrative of who they are and what their religion means to them. My intention is to guide the viewer through the World’s Religion Paradigm with gender identity within Islam as the point of reference. Additionally, I would like to establish the ways in which gender identity is fluid within religion itself because using differing theoretical frameworks from dissimilar religious traditions can still illustrate the same narrative. I plan to introduce an interview with the former Imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, as well as a booklet provided on the Islamic Center’s website, to further establish how women within that specific community have expectations of behavior placed upon them and a prescribed way of dress that reinforces societal roles through religious acculturation. Additionally, I will speak to the ways that social perspectives, not just religious ones, have a strong impact on women’s experiences: religious and otherwise.
gender identity, Islam