Misconception: Islam oppresses women
The image of the typical Muslim woman wearing the veil and forced to stay home and forbidden to drive is all too common in most peoples� thoughts. Although some Muslim countries may have laws that oppress women, this should not be seen as coming from Islam. Many of these countries do not rule by any true Shari’ah(Islamic law), and instead introduce their own cultural standpoints on the issue of gender equity.�The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: “The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.”�
Islam gives men and women different roles, and equity between the two is laid down in the Qur�an and the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage gift is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband’s. Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified.
Violence of any kind towards women and forcing them against their will for anything is not allowed. A Muslim marriage is a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. Divorce is not common, although it is acceptable as a last resort. According to Islamic teachings, a Muslim girl cannot be forced to marry against her will.
read more at this blog http://islamzpeace.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/misconception-islam-oppresses-women/