Islamism and the paradox of secularization: The case of Islamist ideas on women in the Sudan
Sociologus 55.2005:89-118
Keywords: Islamism, secularization and Islam, women and Islam

##Since 1989, the Sudan has been ruled by an Islamist government. The central hvpothesis of the present paper maintains that Islamist rule may, in spite of its explicitly anti-secular agenda, paradoxically assist in the emergence of a more secular society. Secularization is here understood as a process where a new "desacralized" notion of religion challenges and ultimately undermines the legitimacy of certain practices and patterns of action that were previously perceived as religiously justified. The case of Islamist ideas on the position of women in Muslim society serves as an example to demonstrate how this process works and what "desacralization" can entail. The paper introduces the views of Hasan al-Turâbî on "authentic Islam" and the role of women, and subsequently discusses some of the antagonistic effects the government"s Islamization agenda has had on women of different social backgrounds. The concluding section interprets the Islamist project of "women"s liberation" as the product of a middle and upper class ideology which could as well be expressed in non-Islamic terms.##