Mohammed Arkoun's book "The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought" challenges Muslims to think about many aspects of our faith. His comment on the feminine is poignant:
"Women represent a particularly disadvantaged social body; it is they who have to suffer the oppression of regimes that instrumentalize religion to compensate for their own lack of political legitimacy; the resistance of the popular mentality to any questioning of the status of women as fixed by God Himself in the Qur'an; and the weight of beliefs and customs they have themselves internalized through the rearing process handed down by their mothers and grandmothers in the lineage of an ancient feminine memory. I was able to verify all these mechanisms recently in a broad debate taking place in Morocco around the 'Plan for the integration of women in the development process' launched by the present government (April 2000). The fault line dividing society on the plan is not easy to trace; the simplistic terminology of opposition between progressives and conservatives, left and right, modernists and traditionalists, secular and religious, etc., is unsatisfactory. The use of these trivial, obsolete categorizations in political sociology is both an unavoidable ideological necessity and a backward conceptualisation damaging to proper critical thought: in politics, one has to be effective manipulating the social imagination with words and slogans that elicit immediate adhesion or rejection, while this manipulation avoids the intellectual need to introduce a more relevant emancipating critical discourse." (2002, pp. 22-23).
~ Excerpted from "The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought" by Mohammed Arkoun, the renowned scholar of Islam in France of Algerian descent.