Interesting are the comments of Asma Barlas, a Pakistani author. She commented thatr religions
...always come into cultures, they don’t come into abstract and pure spaces. Islam came into a very patriarchal, tribal and misogynistic culture. One of the deepest damages to Islam has been its reduction to “Arabisation”. I’m not going to say that the Arabs are particularly misogynistic in a way that nobody else is, but I do think there are very particular traits and attitudes towards women that have crept into Islam.
I have a friend who has been studying the interface between what he calls the Persian models and the Arabist models of Islam in the subcontinent and surprise, surprise: the Arabist models are misogynistic, authoritarian, unitarian and the Persian models are much more plural and tolerant.
This is a fight on two fronts - on the one hand we are struggling against the kinds of oppression dominant in Muslim patriarch societies and, on the other, Western perceptions of Islam as necessarily monolithic, and confusing the ideals of Islam with the reality of Muslim lives. If we read the Koran as a totality rather than pulling out random verses or half a line, that opens all kinds of possibilities for sexual equality.
Interesting how this woman suggests that Islam is not monolithic, and that it needs a new hermeneutic for interpreting the Quran. Read more on the BBC website on this conference.