Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East (Paperback)
Now with a new Preface and Afterword by the author
Outstanding . . . Isobel Coleman] takes us into remote villages and urban bureaucracies to find the brave men and women working to create change in the Middle East. Los Angeles Times
In this timely and important book, Isobel Coleman shows how Muslim women and men across the Middle East are working within Islam to fight for women's rights in a growing movement of Islamic feminism. Journeying through Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Coleman introduces the reader to influential Islamic feminist thinkers and successful grassroots activists working to create economic, political, and educational opportunities for women. Their advocacy for women's rights based on more progressive interpretations of Islam are critical to bridging the conflict between those championing reform and those seeking to oppress women in the name of religious tradition. Socially, culturally, economically, and politically, the future of the region depends on finding ways to accommodate human rights, and in particular women's rights, with Islamic law. These reformers and thousands of others are the people leading the way forward.
Featuring new material that addresses how the Arab uprisings and other recent events have affected the social and political landscape of the region, Paradise Beneath Her Feet offers a message of hope: Change is coming to the Middle East and more often than not, it is being led by women.
Praise for Paradise Beneath Her Feet
Clearly written, deeply moving, and wonderfully enlightening. Reza Aslan, author of No god but God
An] engrossing portrait of real Muslim women that reveals how Islamic feminists . . . are working with and within the culture, rather than against it . . . to forge a legitimate Islamic alternative to the current repressive system. Coleman doesn t diminish the enormity of the struggle, but she argues convincingly that it might yet rewrite Islam's future. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A nuanced view of Islam's role in public life that is cautiously hopeful. The Economist
Eye-opening . . . Deeply religious, profoundly determined and modern in every way, these are twenty-first-century women bent on change. Hear them roar and see a future being born before our eyes. Booklist
About the Author
Isobel Coleman is a senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she also directs the council s Women and Foreign Policy program. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, USA Today, and The Christian Science Monitor. She is a frequent speaker at academic, business, and policy conferences and a guest commentator on networks including CNN, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and NPR. She lives in the New York area with her husband and children."
“Outstanding . . . [Isobel Coleman] takes us into remote villages and urban bureaucracies to find the brave men and women working to create change in the Middle East.”—Los Angeles Times
“[An] engrossing portrait of real Muslim women that reveals how Islamic feminists . . . are working with and within the culture, rather than against it . . . to forge ‘a legitimate Islamic alternative to the current repressive system.’ Coleman doesn’t diminish the enormity of the struggle, but she argues convincingly that it might yet rewrite Islam’s future.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A nuanced view of Islam’s role in public life that is cautiously hopeful.”—The Economist
“Eye-opening . . . Deeply religious, profoundly determined and modern in every way, these are twenty-first-century women bent on change. Hear them roar and see a future being born before our eyes.”—Booklist
"I would read anything by Isobel Coleman. No other writer I know sheds greater light into the social and political conflicts of the Greater Middle East with more insight and sensitivity. Far from a dry academic tome on the plight of women in this troubled region, Paradise Beneath Her Feet offers readers an immediate, unbiased account of the lives of real women who are challenging not only the unjust restrictions placed on them by their own societies, but also the tired stereotypes and empty generalizations placed on them by the West. This is a clearly written, deeply moving, and wonderfully enlightening book."—Reza Aslan, author of No God but God and How to Win A Cosmic War
"Isobel Coleman has written a profoundly important book that illustrates how and why women are at the core of human progress, especially in the 21st century. She traveled the Islamic world to capture first-hand the poignant stories of a new generation of leaders as they struggle to transform their societies. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the region." —Robin Wright, author of Dreams and Shadows The Future of the Middle East
"Women are on the front lines of our most critical human rights struggles today, particularly in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Isobel Coleman has written a deeply engaging book that shows how Muslim women—and men—across the greater Middle East are driving social justice by promoting cultural change from within their own societies. This is a must read for anyone who cares about truly sustainable development."—Angelina Jolie, UN Goodwill Ambassador and co-chair, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation