Women Who Walk on Water: Working across “Race” in Women Against Fundamentalism
Women Against Fundamentalism (WAF) is a feminist organization set up by women active in the South Asian, Jewish, Irish, and Iranian communities in Britain. Its founding moment was the fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, but it has gone on to raise issues relating to the oppressive aspects of religiopolitical movements in all the major religions represented in Britain. By fundamentalism, WAF does not mean religious observance, which we see as a matter of individual choice, but rather modern political movements that use religion as a basis for their attempt to win or consolidate power and extend social control. Fundamentalism appears in different and changing forms in religions throughout the world, sometimes as a state project, sometimes in opposition to the state. But at the heart of all fundamentalist agendas is the control of women’s minds and bodies. All religious fundamentalists support the patriarchal family as a central agent of control. They view women as embodying the morals and traditional values of the family and the whole community. Resisting fundamentalism means taking up issues such as reproductive rights, safeguarding and extending abortion rights, resisting enforced sterilization, and fighting violence against women. WAF does not confine the term fundamentalism to one religion, and certainly not to only British minority religions. In fact, our main political target is the privileged connection between Christianity and the state in Britain, and the divisive effects of this on all communities living here.
KeywordsDomestic Violence Black Woman Asian Woman Female Genital Mutilation Battered Woman
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