Muslim women in higher education: Reflections on literacy and modernization in Israel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The aim of this case study is to analyse how a religious Muslim woman copes with secular studies in a religious university setting in Israel. Through a comprehensive narrative analysis, the chapter will analyse the major socialization agents that have meaningful influence upon her academic and religious life and how exposure to higher education influences her religious definition, values and worldview. Arab society in Israel has three principal characteristics. It is patriarchal and conservative with a definitively Muslim-majority under foreign rule. The Arab family in Israel tends to segregate roles based on four components: age, sex, generation and birth order. The extended patriarchal family is the principal societal institution which protects the individual and provides for most of her/his needs. Success and failure are attributed to the family in general and not solely to the individual (Haj-Yahia 1995). The Islamic religion is the major pillar of cultural strength in the Arab world, from which the central values, worldly concepts and norms of behaviour of the Arab world derive (Abu Bachar 2007). Arab society is principally a religious society and this fact has wide-reaching ramifications on various planes of the individual (Fogel-Bijawi 1999). Thus, the exposure of religious Muslim women to the modern, diverse arena of a university setting challenges the traditional religious definition and outlook and serves as a meaningful agent of change and transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen in Islam
Subtitle of host publicationReflections on Historical and Contemporary Research
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789400742192
ISBN (Print)9400742185, 9789400742185
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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