Muslim women have been depicted by the Western media as victims of a violent and oppressive religion. Some Muslim women do face various forms of mistreatment portrayed in the media, but it is essential to distinguish whether the limitations are imposed by their religion or by local cultural practices. Islam was actually the first religion to grant women many of the rights that can be comparable to those in the contemporary Western world.
Prior to the emergence of Islam in Arabia, the birth of a girl was seen as a threat to the family’s honor and she would often be buried alive. Islam forbids this practice of female infanticide and states that the birth of a son or daughter is an equal blessing from Allah (Tariq). Women in pre-Islamic society held no power and were considered to be chattel that can be seized in wars. The arrival of Islam in the 7th century CE raised them to a status of dignity unheard of in the world at the time. Many reforms were made to the status of women. Women were allowed to participate in social, political, and economic activities. They were given extensive economic rights, such as the right to inheritance, property ownership, and furthermore, they were not required to share their wealth with their husband (“Islam and the Western Media”). Islam emphasizes the importance of religious and cultural education for women and encourages education in other subjects as well. Islam permits women to hold office and vote, something that North America has recognized only in the last century. According to the Qur’an, men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah (Dodge), and with the many reforms, equality between men and women was established for the first