Tabassum Fahim Ruby, "Muslim Women's Rights: Contesting Liberal-Secular Sensibilities in Canada" (Routledge, 2019)


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Muslim Women’s Rights: Contesting Liberal-Secular Sensibilities in Canada (Routledge 2019) By Tabassum Fahim Ruby follows the legal debates and public discussions that surrounded the proposed shari‘ah tribunals in Canada from 2003 to 2006. In her close readings and discourse analysis of the public and media scrutiny that followed this discussion, Ruby found that these debates existed at the nexus of complex assumptions about human rights discourses, liberal-secular sensibilities, and law, which all hinged on narratives of western modernity and progress and were set against notions of Muslim women’s rights and agency, or lack thereof. By tracing discourses surrounding Islamic family law and practices of faith-based arbitration in Canada, the study problematizes conceptions of multiculturalism, secularism, and human rights discourses, while further contributing to discussion of contemporary Islam and gender by drawing on postcolonial, antiracist, and transnational feminist studies by focusing on Muslim women’s rights. This book will be of interest to scholars who think and write about women and gender in Islam, especially in Canada, the United States and western Europe, along with those who are interested in human rights and Islamic law. It will also be a great text to include in courses on Islam and gender, and contemporary Islam.

Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. Her research areas are on contemporary Sufism in North America and South Asia. She is the author of Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism (Bloomsury Press, 2018) and a co-author of Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2017). More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier.

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