Throughout the ages, from the earliest days of Islam to contemporary times today, Muslim women have been and continue to be active leaders in their communities and countries across the world. This directory is a growing archive of leading Muslim women scholars, activists, writers, politicians, artists, religious and spiritual leaders, civil society leaders and more. Please contribute to this archive by suggesting Muslim women to be featured through our recommendation form.
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The fourth language, for all females, young or old, cloistered or half-emancipated, remains that of the body: The body which male neighbors' and cousins' eyes require to be deaf and blind, since they cannot completely incarcerate it, the body which, in trances, dances, or vociferations, in fits of hope and despair, rebels, and unable to read or write, seeks some unknown shore as destination for its message of love.
Assia Djebar speaks about one particular power women have over men in her French novel L’Amour, la fantasia.
Known For: Writer, Filmmaker
Born with the name Fatima-Zohra Imalayen, in 1936 in Cherchell, Algeria, Assia Djebar would become the country’s most distinguished female writer. Through her novels and film Ms. Djebar challenged colonial histories in order to redefine notions of Algerian culture, specifically through the female voice. Ms. Djebar was the first Algerian women to be accepted at the École Normale Supérieure, a prestigious French institute for higher education in Paris. In 1957, she published her first novel La Soif under the pen name Assia Djebar. Between 1957 to 1967 she wrote four novels (La Soif, Les Impatients, Les Enfants du Nouveau Monde, Les Alouettes Naives), which all dealt with the political realities of colonial and post-colonial Algeria.
After studying classical Arabic in the 1970s, Djebar has attempted to write in both French and Arabic. When writing in French Ms. Djebar has added sounds and rhythms of the Arabic language and received applause for turning the language of the colonizer, French, into language of resistance. At the University of Algeria, Ms. Djebar taught history and since the 1990s she has been recognized for a number of awards, and she was recently nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
“Assia Djebar.” Web. 14 June 2010
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