With Islam choosing to remain at home and raise children takes on a new dignity and respect in my eyes, similar to those sisters among us who choose to go out to work and have careers and professions.
I then began looking at inheritance, tax, property and divorce laws. This is where Hollywood divorce lawyers probably get their inspiration from. For instance the woman gets to keep what she earns and owns while the man has to stump up half his worth.
Isn’t it funny the way the tabloid media gets very excited over the prospect of some pop or film stars pre-nuptial wedding agreement? Muslim women have had wedding contracts from day one. They can choose if they want to work or not and anything they earn is theirs to spend while the husband has to pay for all the household bills and the upkeep of his family.
Just about everything that feminists strived for in the 70s was already available to Muslim women 1400 years ago.
As I said, Islam dignifies and brings respect to motherhood and being a wife. If you want to stay at home, stay at home. It is a great honour to be a home maker and the first educator of your children
But equally, the Qur’an states if you want to work, then work. Be a career woman, learn a profession become a politician. Be what you want to be and excel in what you do as a Muslim because everything you do is in praise of Allah (swt).
There is an excessive, almost irritating concentration or focus on the issue of Muslim women’s’ dress particularly by men (both Muslim and non-Muslim).
Yes, it is an obligation for Muslim women to dress modestly but, in addition, there are many other important issues which concern Muslim women today.
And yet everyone obsesses over the hijab. Look, it is part of my business suit. This tells you I am a Muslim and therefore I expect to be treated with respect.
Can you imagine if someone told a Wall Street executive or Washington banker to put on a t-shirt and jeans? He would tell you his business suit defines him during work hours, marks him out to be treated seriously.
And yet in Britain we have had the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw describing the nikab - the face veil revealing only the eyes - as an unwelcome barrier. When, oh when, will men learn to keep their mouths shut over a woman's wardrobe?
We also had Government Ministers Gordon Brown and John Reid express disparaging remarks about the nikab - both these men come from over the Scottish Borders where men wear skirts!!
Then we had a series of other parliamentarians enter the fray describing the nikab as a barrier for communication. What a load of nonsense. If this was the case can anyone explain to me why cell phones, landlines, emails, text messaging and fax machines are in daily use? Who listens to the radio? No one switches off the wireless because they can not see the face of the presenter.
The majority of sisters I know who choose to wear the nikab are actually white, Western reverts who no longer want the unwelcome attention of those few leering men who will try and confront females and launch into inappropriate behaviour. Mind you, there are a couple of London sisters I know who say they wear the nikab at anti-war marches because they can't stand the smell of spliffs.
I am afraid Islamophobia has become the last refuge of the racist scoundrel. But the cowardly, chauvinistic attacks launched - largely by men - is unacceptable to Muslimah as well as their secular, female sisters from the left.
I was a feminist for many years and now, as an Islamic feminist, I still promote women’s' rights. The only difference is Muslim feminists are more radical than their secular counterparts. We all hate those ghastly beauty pageants, and tried to stop laughing when the emergence of Miss Afghanistan in bikini was hailed as a giant leap for women's liberation in Afghanistan.
I've been back to Afghanistan many times and I can tell you there are no career women emerging from the rubble in Kabul. My Afghan sisters say they wish the West would drop its obsession with the bhurka. "Don't try turning me into a career woman, get my husband a job first. Show me how I can send my children to school without fear of them being kidnapped. Give me security and bread on the table," one sister told me.
Young feminist Muslimahs see the hijab and the nikab as political symbols as well as a religious requirement. Some say it is their way of showing the world they reject the excesses of Western lifestyles such as binge drinking, casual sex, drug-taking etc.
Superiority in Islam is accomplished through piety, not beauty, wealth, power, position or sex.
Now you tell me what is more liberating. Being judged on the length of your skirt and the size of your cosmetically enhanced breasts, or being judged on your character, mind and intelligence?
Glossy magazines tell us as women that unless we are tall, slim and beautiful we will be unloved and unwanted. The pressure on teenage magazine readers to have a boyfriend is almost obscene.
Islam tells me that I have a right to an education and it is my duty to go out and seek knowledge whether I am single or married.
No where in the framework of Islam are we told as women that we must do washing, cleaning or cooking for men - but it is not just Muslim men who need to re-evaluate women in their home. Check out this 1992 exert from a Pat Robertson speech revealing his views on empowered women. And then you tell me who is civilized and who is not.
He said: "Feminism Encourages Women To Leave Their Husbands, Kill Their Children, Practice Witchcraft, Destroy Capitalism And Become Lesbians".
Here is an American man living in a pre-Islamic age who needs to modernize and civilize. People like him are wearing a veil and we need to tear that veil of bigotry away so people can see Islam for what it is.
By Yvonne Ridley