Within the ongoing war on terrorism in the Middle East, a quiet revolution of Islamic feminists is unfolding; with both men and women searching for answers to extremists who feel a woman’s role within the religion involves no educational or economic rights. Isobel Coleman highlights the quest of Islamic feminist activists for change in Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East. Coleman cites these efforts towards a more tolerant Islamic community as playing a key role in maintaining stability and decreasing extremism within Muslim countries. But can a sweeping movement for women’s rights actually end the war on terrorism? What exactly is the link between economic and political freedom for women and widespread peace and stability in the Middle East?
Isobel Coleman, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council for Foreign Relations; Director of the Council’s Women and Foreign Policy program. She has co-authored a variety of books, including Strategic Foreign Assistance: Civil Society in International Security