I have mentioned Muslim women leaders on several occasions. Here's one every one should know...
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, former judge, and Nobel Peace Prize winner. She is known for defending women accused of such "crimes" as being raped, as well victims of state violence. In a country where the government acknowledges that it has at times assassinated its opponents, that means a whole lot more than it does in some countries.
Shirin's autobiography -- Iran awakening
-- has just been published and I'm currently deep in the middle of the book. It is lyrical, intelligent, and brutally honest. Brutal in the sense that Ebadi does not hesitate to reveal her own faults, her own naivete, and her mistakes in judgement. Nor she does not hesitate to call a spade a spade when it comes to the Islamic Revolution and its lawlessness.
The book is also a fascinating look into the heart of the Iranian opposition. Ebadi is literate and her voice speaks to Americans with a fluency and ease that surprised me. (Excellent translation helps, I am sure, but even the best translator cannot turn dreck into poetry.) It is a voice that many feminists will relate to, with it's concern for women's empowerment.
And it tells a story that many of us have never heard -- the story of those who had misgivings about the Islamic revolution from day one, who have struggled to reel in Iranian theocracy, and bring reform to the government.
I highly recommend this book. 1) because Shirin is a woman you should know. 2) because the story she tells is fascinating 3) because this version of the Iranian Revolution is rarely told in American society and 4) because, with tensions between Iran and the US at an all time high, anything that humanizes Iranians, and reminds us that Iran is not a monolith of religious fanatics, is a thing that works towards peace and away from confrontation and war.