In this article, I address piety as a concept shaping Muslim women's online discussions about gender roles, marriage and professional careers. I also investigate cross-cultural religious encounters in these women-only groups as I am interested in the potential of such online environments to facilitate women's religious reflection and intellectual engagement. Finally, I explore motivations and religious interpretations of three categories of participants in these discussions: egalitarians, for whom gender equality is a necessary component of piety (Barlas 2006); traditionalists, identified by other authors as Islamists (Karam 1998) or social conservatives (Gül and Gül 48:1-26, 2000; Mahmood 2005) and finally, holists, a group that cannot be mapped out on the political landscape by using the progressive-conservative binary (Badran, Agenda 50:41-57, 2001) and which exists and acts outside of it, neither subverting nor enacting norms of any dominant system, be it secular-liberal or patriarchal. Following Mahmood's argument that formulating an analysis based exclusively on such a binary is simplistic (Mahmood 2005), I argue that actions of holists can be only addressed by formulating a set of questions different to those used to analyse self-defined egalitarians or traditionalists.
- Muslim women