After years of Taliban oppression, Afghan women finally have a fighting chance at equal rights, thanks in part to progressively-minded Muslim men.
Through organizations such as the Afghan Women Judges Association and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, hundreds of fathers and brothers are ignoring extremists’ threats and working to end violence against their mothers and sisters. They risk their lives to train judges and lawyers on gender issues, meet with mullahs to decry child marriages, encourage women to run for parliament, and provide free legal representation to women who have been abused or are seeking divorce.
For these men, the work is about living up to the central precepts of the Islamic faith. “They are not the mainstream but neither are they an aberration,” reports Tikkun (Sept.-Oct. 2008). “Their numbers are growing, and each man who takes action lends courage to another to do the same.”