Incorporating Islam Into The Afghan Feminist Movement

06/05/2015 12:11 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2015

While secular feminism has been the main approach to the quest for women's rights in the United States, "faith-based feminism" is the preferred tactic for a growing number of Afghan women looking to make a change in the country.

In a HuffPost Live conversation on Tuesday, Daisy Khan, the executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, explained why muslim women are embracing the idea of Islamic feminism.

"Faith and feminism [are] kind of coming together because we believe that gender equality is an intrinsic part of the Islamic faith. And so if we use our Islamic faith to promote women's rights, then it does not fall on deaf ears," she told host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani.

Khan said the focus on Islamic feminism is not just a semantics game. Instead it is part of a "long-term strategy" to meet Afghan people on their own terms, especially because feminism is sometimes considered "an imposition" of Western values. She explained:

If we're using the wrong word [it can turn] away a whole bunch of people like the Imams and people whose hearts and minds you really want to change... We do promote the ideals of feminism. We just don't call it that. ... We're standing on firm ground and saying, 'We have been created equal in the eyes of God, so why can't we have the same rights?'

The founder of Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization Jamila Afghani has taken this Islamic perspective on feminism and implemented it in outreach programs throughout Afghanistan -- a task that she says has not been easy. At first, both men, women and even her own family members opposed her work, but slowly she began to see the tide change. One relative, who had at first questioned her programs, even thanked Afghani for educating her daughter.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about Islamic feminism here.

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