With the possible exception of so-called Islamic terrorism, it is difficult to find a subject that has generated more controversy in the modern Western media and public discourse than the status of women in Islamic societies. Seething with righteous indignation, many contemporary Western politicians, political commentators, members of the clergy, and media personalities have routinely denounced the “misogynist” (i.e., hostile to women) and “androcentric” (i.e., focused on and favorable to exclusively males) attitudes allegedly fostered by Islam. The widely held assumptions about “Islam’s repression of women” can be occasionally used to justify hate crimes and verbal or media abuse directed at Muslim minorities in Western countries. Even more fatefully, such assumptions may become a pretext for Western aggression against Muslim countries, in the name, among other things, of “liberating” the “oppressed” female half of their population. 1 No wonder that Western invectives against the maltreatment of women by Muslim men in “the name of Islam” have provoked a backlash on the part of many Muslim intellectuals of both sexes. They have risen up to defend their religion against what they consider to be an anti-Muslim defamation campaign. Their goal, which for want of a better term can be described as “apologetic,” is to prove that Islam’s treatment of women is in fact much more humane than one found in the secularized liberal democracies of the West, not to mention women’s alleged plight under communist rule. 2 These Muslim advocates are often assisted by those Western intellectuals who sympathize with Islam and the Muslims and who are eager to defend them against their critics, whom they accuse of being ignorant of the nuances of the Shari‘a legislation about women. 3 Due to the emotionally and politically charged nature of the subject, debates over the status of women in Islam are often conducted “in tones of mutual animosity,” 4 which naturally has made it very difficult for the opposing parties to find a common ground.