Homa Hoodfar

For well a decade and a half, I’ve been teaching Homa Hoodfar’s work.  Her amazing article on Muslim women’s veiling is a model of complexity and nuance, really delving into the many and varied attitudes women take to veiling, and shattering the myths of a monolithic oppressive Islam.  I know from conversations with my feminism students that this has been a revelation to them, forever changing the way that they think about Islam and women– many had previously been inclined to condemn Islam as misogynistic.

Hoodfar, who has done so much to deepen non-Muslims’ understanding of the complexities of Islam and gender, is now imprisoned in Iran.  Please sign the petition to free her.  You can read more here.

3 thoughts on “Homa Hoodfar

  1. This is a genuine question not meant to be dismissive of your good efforts here and the hard work of the people who have clearly orchestrated a very widespread campaign earning lots of attention. Many scholars have noted (Jaggar in ‘Saving Amina’ and many people critical of Invisible Children and BringBackOurGirls) that outside campaigns to put pressure on authorities in other countries can sometimes be counterproductive, in so far as the relevant authorities may see the campaign as a neo-colonial imposition and thus resist the demands of the campaign on nationalist/sovereignty grounds. Is there a reason to believe that this style campaign, as opposed to quite diplomacy, is likely to be more effective? Of course many people have been imprisoned in Iran, and subsequently released, so perhaps there is enough data to draw on to develop a plausible theory of what works best in Iran.
    A second and related question is whether the identity of the public signatories matters. Having Islamic scholars pen an open letter certainly has a different appeal than calling on all academics to sign.

    Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

  2. Good question. I assumed that her colleagues would be especially likely to know their stuff about what would help. But, as always, this might be wrong.

  3. I read that her family had tried the quiet diplomacy route for several months and got absolutely nowhere. This campaign was started as a result of that, as, from what I gather, her family felt they had run out of options as regards to those in charge working behind the scenes. Of course, there is nothing to say that this will be successful either.

    (Some background: as you may know, the Iranian authorities seem to be imprisoning Iranians with dual nationality when they come back to visit Iran, on very flimsy pretexts.)

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