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Title: Personal status law reform in Egypt : women's rights : NGOs navigating between Islamic law and human rights
Author: Sharafeldin, Marwa
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the ways in which Islamic law and human rights interact within the work of women’s rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that advocate the reform of the Egyptian Personal Status Law (PSL) in the period between 2006 and 2010. The thesis shows the relevance of the human rights framework as well as the flexibility of Islamic legal discourse in the work of the NGOs. Drawing on both Islamic law and human rights enabled NGOs to develop a more gender-sensitive religious discourse, which supported their PSL reform demands. However the interaction between these two frameworks was largely affected by several important factors, which sometimes led NGOs to dilute some of their demands. These factors included the implications of the change in the form of Shari‘a as codified law under the modern nation-state; the Egyptian political context both internally and externally; the common local perception that human rights are a Western production and an extension of Western colonialism; the dominant religious but patriarchal discourse governing the PSL; the implications of activism through the NGO structure; and the personal religiosity of individual activists. The thesis explores NGOs’ PSL reform demands in depth bearing in mind these factors. It investigates NGOs’ discourse and shows its strengths and weaknesses. It shows that the interaction between Islamic law and human rights within NGOs’ work in this particular Egyptian context produced reform demands that were innovative and practically appealing on one hand, but epistemologically problematic in some instances, on another.
Supervisor: Pirie, Fernanda; Welchman, Lynn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Islam ; Human rights ; Socio-legal studies ; Civil society ; Family law ; Gender ; Women ; Law ; Islamic law ; women's rights ; personal status law