Moroccan Writer and Scholar Fatema Mernissi, 75

Moroccan writer and scholar Fatema Mernissi, author of the acclaimed memoir Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood, has died at 75:

timthumbBorn in 1940, in Fes, Mernissi was celebrated for her sociology. Her most popular works included Beyond the Veil, The Veil and the Male Elite, and Islam and Democracy.

Mernissi was mainly a scholar, studying political science at the Sorbonne and doing her doctorate in sociology at Brandeis University. She later taught in the field of sociology at Rabat’s Mohammed V University.

But Mernissi was also a gifted writer, and her works, both scholarly and memoir, were accessible to a wide public. On writing, she once said: “Writing is one of the most ancient forms of prayer. To write is to believe communication is possible that other people are good, that you can awaken their generosity and their desire to do better.”

Mernissi won numerous awards for her work. In 2003, Mernissi was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award along with Susan Sontag.

You can find more about her work at her website, There are also many remembrances on Twitter. A selection:
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  1. Reblogged this on Sarah Irving and commented:
    A great loss… one of the most important voices on women in the Middle East:

  2. I have just read the sad news about the death of Fatima Mernissi (may she rest in peace).

    I still cherish the great memories I had with her, the last being our seminar on “Love in Digital Islam” in Asturias. I think that the best way to celebrate her work and memory is to publish a book in her honor.

    To all her readers and admirers, please accept my sincere condolences. She was a great scholar and a generous soul.

    Kamal Abdel-Malek

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