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Equality and the Muslima: Negotiating Gender Justice in the
Online Muslim Public Sphere
The emergence of the transnational progressive Muslim movement was one of the major, yet largely overlooked, consequences of the events of September 11, 2001. The central element of this movement is a belief that the concepts of peace, mercy, equality and justice must be crystallized through meaningful communication among diverse interpreters of Muslim source texts. The movement is adamant that gender justice should govern Muslims’ daily lives. The role of the Internet has been critical in enabling and mediating the growth of this nascent movement and in facilitating its attempts to debate issues relating to social justice for women. This paper examines the distinct ways in which the progressive Muslim movement is using the Internet to sustain itself and advance its views. Discourses on gender that the Progressive Muslim Union (PMU) posts online were compared with parallel texts published in the mainstream Muslim online magazine, lviews. The results show that PMU is developing an active online community and using the Internet to coalesce an offline progressive Muslim discourse community.