Women Against Fundamentalism (WAF) was formed in 1989, partly in response to the controversy surrounding Salman Rushdies The Satanic Verses, but also with the aim of challenging fundamentalism in all religions. It sees fundamentalism as a modern political movement that uses religion to consolidate authoritarian and repressive forms of power. WAFs members are drawn from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds, and from across the world.
This book maps the development of the organisation over the past 25 years, through the life stories and political reflections of some of its members, focusing on the ways in which lived contradictions have been reflected in their politics. Their stories describe the pathways that led them to WAF, and the role WAF has played in their lives and in the forms of politicial activism in which they have engaged. Discussing feminist activism from different ethnic and religious back-grounds, contributors highlight the complex relationships of belonging that are at the heart of contemporary social life including the problems of exclusionary political projects of belonging. They explore the ways in which anti-fundamentalism relates to broader feminist, anti-racist and other emancipatory political ideologies and movements.
The personal stories at the centre of this book are those of women whose lives enact the complexities of multiple (if shifting and contingent) mutually constitutive axes of power and difference. Many of their concerns therefore relate to crossing the boundaries of collectivity and practising a dialogical transversal politics that has developed as an alternative to identity politics.