Muslim Women and Sport
Edited by Tansin Benn, Gertrud Pfister, Haifaa Jawad
Routledge – 2012 – 278 pages
Routledge – 2012 – 278 pages
Examining the global experiences, challenges and achievements of Muslim women participating in physical activities and sport, this important new study makes a profound contribution to our understanding of both contemporary Islam and the complexity and diversity of women’s lives in the modern world.
The book presents an overview of current research into constructs of gender, the role of religion and the importance of situation, and looks closely at what Islam has to say about women’s participation in sport and what Muslim women have to say about their participation in sport. It highlights the challenges and opportunities for women in sport in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries, utilising a series of extensive case-studies in various countries which invite the readers to conduct cross-cultural comparisons. Material on Iraq, Palestine and Bosnia and Herzegovina provides rare insights into the impact of war on sporting activities for women. The book also seeks to make important recommendations for improving access to sport for girls and women from Muslim communities.
Muslim Women and Sport confronts many deeply held stereotypes and crosses those commonly quoted boundaries between ‘Islam and the West’ and between ‘East and West’. It makes fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in the interrelationships between sport, religion, gender, culture and policy.
'Recently, there has been an increasing focus on women and sport; specifically, the role of sport in championing equality, health, opportunities, empowerment, and quality of life of women has been firmly on the research agenda. Furthermore, in contemporary society, we have witnessed many acts of misunderstanding and intolerance between Muslim and non-Muslim religious belief systems; there is thus a real need for greater understanding of different cultures. Muslim women and sport is an important and seminal addition to these issues. It is arguably the first book that brings together such a high quality academic team of both Muslim and non-Muslim authors with the aim of enhancing knowledge and understanding towards the cultural intricacies of the Muslim faith, and the sport-related experiences of Muslim women. Acknowledging the complexity of the subject, this collection excels in that it focuses upon the multiple realities of Muslim women and explores the phenomenon from an insider’s view; discussions are presented from various perspectives including countries with either a Muslim majority or Muslim minority population, from Eastern and Western perspectives, and under Sharia law. Each author is highly knowledgeable and has spent years, or decades, exploring and/or personally living
Muslim women and sport is an interesting and important read for practitioners, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students alike, as it is likely to challenge each reader’s perceptions, open minds, and pose questions that will stay with the reader long after they have closed the book. The book’s appeal is broadened in that it is written in an easily accessible style that focuses deeply on providing insightful narrative and discussion. Many of the studies are written from a case study or discussion approach and while academic rigour is strong, some may wish for a deeper discussion of the complexities of methodology, paradigm, or axiology.
Importantly, the book concludes by peering into the future and makes solid recommendations as to how support can be further offered to enhance the opportunities for Muslim girls and women to participate in physical activities. A plethora of future research areas are also discussed which will be invaluable for
anyone researching in the area. While additional photographs and diagrams could have been used to further support the text, there are sufficient links to key references and websites that interested readers can go to for further information. Anyone who has the slightest interest in culture, religion, or sport will find much of the discussion fascinating and be inspired to learn more. This is a well-written and well-presented book and because of its wide appeal, this book comes highly recommended and will form an important contribution to any academic or personal library'. Greg Willson, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
Introduction – Muslim Women and Sport Part 1: Underlying Contexts 1. The Values of Physical Activity, Sport and Physical Education in the Lives of Young Women 2. Islam, Women and Sport 3. Muslim Women and Sport in Diasporas: Theories, Discourses and Practices – Analyzing the Case of Denmark Part 2: National Perspectives 4. Women in Sports Leadership in Bahrain 5. "Balancing between the cultures …" – Sports and Physical Activities of Muslim Girls and Women in Germany 6. Physical Activities and Sport for Women in Iran 7. The Sultanate of Oman and the Position of Girls and Women in Physical 8. Women and Sport in Syria 9. Struggling for Empowerment – Sport Participation of Women and Girls in Turkey Part Three: Case Studies 10. Palestinian Women’s National Football Team Aims High – Case Study to Explore the Interaction of Religion, Culture, Politics and Sports 11. Challenges Facing South African Muslim Secondary School Girls’ Participation in Physical Activities, Physical Education and Sport. 12. Religion and the State – The Story of a Turkish Elite Athlete 13. A Case Study on United Arab Emirates: Women, Disability and Sport Part Four: Narratives 14. Experiences of War in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Effects on Physical Activities of Girls and Women 15. Women in Sport in North Africa: Voices of Moroccan Athletes 16. Womens’ Narratives of Sport and War in Iraq Conclusion
Tansin Benn is an Associate Professor in the School of Education, University of Birmingham, UK.
Gertrud Pfister is Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Haifaa Jawad is Senior Lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham, UK.