Ethical Conundrums and Lived Praxis: Queer Muslim Women in Malaysia and Lebanon
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
This thesis had been permanently embargoed.
Applying a queer Muslim feminists lens, this thesis interrogates ways in which a heterosexual world-view appropriates the domain of sexuality within two specific Muslim contexts. The study focuses on, is informed and enriched by the experiences of Queer Muslim women who navigate within the contextual spaces they inhabit, multiple sites which ultimately propel them to question and contest the heterosexual norms that they are expected to repeatedly perform in the name of religion. Through their questioning, they name the various challenges they experience and the strategies they employ in navigating realms of family, state and society, as well their relationship with the Divine. This study, both foregrounds and contributes to understanding Muslim queer women's subjectivity in the production of religious meaning. More succinctly, this thesis contributes to appreciating how Queer Muslim women understand their existence in the face of religious and societal criticism, and how their experiences can serve as the threshold from which to formulate ethically and theologically enriched considerations deeply rooted in the Qur'ān. By looking at two specific contexts, namely Malaysia and Lebanon, this thesis carefully uncovers multiple sites of oppression, layer by layer. The purpose is to lay bear the political personality of states, which often employ religion to coerce those it deems different and thus a threat, in this case to standards of sexual morality. In direct tension with the two nation-states in question, are alternative fringe actors who occupy contested middle spaces. It is from these crucial middles spaces i.e. spaces of potential friction and tension that subliminal spaces for dialogue and discussion then arise. Finally, remaining within an Islamic frame of reference, this thesis takes a nuanced route via Queer Theology, to argue that alternative queer sexual subcultures need not be a source of fear, or threat, or condemnation, but can quite possibly and realistically live alongside a diverse range of sexual subjectivities, ethically and conscientiously, no more, no less than anyone who defines or sees themselves as Muslim.
University of Exeter Scholarship
PhD Arab and Islamic Studies