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A gripping portrait of women, whose lives were dictated by a moral code, Maria’s Grotto is a painful true film about the issue of honor killings in Palestine. Khoury explores the issue through the stories of four women: one is wrongly accused of dishonoring her family and then murdered; the second dies after being forced by her brothers to swallow poison; the third survives repeated stabbings inflicted by her brother; and the fourth is a Hip-hop singer who dares speak out about honor killings, and faces death threats. Through these stories, Khoury exposes the magnitude of honor killings in Palestine.

Source: Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies – University of Illinois

* Cross-Culture Head Coverings
* Cross-Culture Veiling Lesson Plan
* Annotated Resources on Veiling
* Middle Eastern Dress Vocabulary
* Dress Vocabulary CrossWord
* Middle Eastern Dress Quiz
* Middle Eastern Dress Word Search

The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (EWIC) is an interdisciplinary encyclopedia project focusing on women and Islamic cultures, published by Brill (2003-2008) as a 6-volume, 2 million words, 1,246 articles scholarly resource (print edition). We invite interested scholars, including graduate students, to complete the scholars’ template for publication on our free, on-line searchable EWIC Scholars’ Database and for possible invitation to contribute articles to EWIC On Line. Please visit our website at: and follow the link to the contributor template. Thank you for your interest and participation in this free on line resource.

Given current U.S. military interventions in the Arab and Muslim worlds, there are important lessons to be gained by delving into questions of women and gender in the French Empire in North Africa. First and foremost, pervasive, monolithic, and very negative portrayals of Arab or Muslim women as inherently oppressed, powerless, voiceless—as lacking any agency—are immediately challenged by the region’s recent history. In addition, the wide variations in women’s responses to imperialism—from militant action, to peaceful resistance, to obtaining a modern, French education in order to oppose the colonial order—demonstrates clearly that North African women were not passive bystanders. Moreover, students begin to perceive at the same time that invoking a monolithic, unchanging “Islam” for explaining women’s lives and social status fails to explain much, if anything. It also becomes clear how much politics, violence, and militarism in various guises dramatically influence women and gender relations not only in colonial states but also in post-colonial states. All of these lessons and insights drawn from the North African case study have wide, nearly universal applicability to other empires, whether modern European empires, or the American Empire. Finally, by choosing to narrate individual women’s life stories, and employing this strategy as the principal frame for the module, I hope to show the immense power of biography to take us into the past where we question received wisdom or unexamined assumptions—invariably about ourselves and the social universe we inhabit.

Lesson Plan


Some Muslim women in the United States often see a conflict between the beliefs and practices of their religion and the norms and standards of modern society. There are some Muslims (both women and men) in America who are pushing for change, and there are others who believe that established practices and beliefs should be upheld. Through the materials presented in this lesson, students will explore basic beliefs and practices of Islam, examine Muslim women’s roles in Islam and modern American society, and compare women’s rights in Islam with the history of women’s rights in the United States.


* Demonstrate an understanding of the basic beliefs and practices of Islam;
* Recognize that the experience of Muslim women in any country is shaped by that country’s culture;
* Compare and contrast the rights and protections Islam has provided for women with the history of women’s rights in the United States.

Grade Level:

Lesson Plan

The editors at, a partner site to, have embarked on an ambitious project: providing a space for compelling comment on gender in Islam, and building a platform for intra- and inter-community dialogue on a wide variety of gender-related issues.

Vol. 4, March, 2009
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Vol. 3, February, 2009
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Vol. 2, January, 2009
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Vol. 1, December, 2008
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I discovered this site over on Happy Muslim Mama’s blog:

Islam’s Women – Jewels of Islam


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