Written by Jekonia Tarigan
Work on gender and gender relations in Indonesia has demonstrated that gender matters in the discussion of state, including the country’s politics, religion, and civil society, often because the question of women’s authority[i]. Regarding religion, especially in Islam, the authority and legitimacy as ulama is an important issue because the legitimacy of Muslim women as ulama is always related to the rights that society ascribes to them to interpret religious texts and issue fatwas in response both to the daily concerns of their followers (jamaah) and to urgent social problems. These issues were the topics of discussion for the October 5th Wednesday forum, a weekly discussion forum organized by the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) and the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies (CRCS). The presenter on this occasion was Nor Ismah. She is a researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her Ph.D. research focuses on women issuing fatwas and community-based authority in Java, Indonesia. She also serves as curriculum review and institute development consultant at Musawah, a global feminist movement based in Malaysia. Recently, she was appointed as the director of LPPPM of Nahdlatul Ulama University in Yogyakarta.