Women demand “All women Mosque”

via HK Correpondent published on July 14, 2006

HK call for allowing muslim women  also to pray along with men in mosques in the wake of the Sabarimala controrversy.HK calls for the same pro-women secularists to come out of the closet..

Now read this:

Pudukottai (Tamil Nadu): In the small town of Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu, 40-year-old Sharifa Daud has started an all-woman Jamaat (Muslim personal law board) and says she’s fed up with the religious institutions and especially with the Muslim personal law board.

She leads a group of 54 women battling discrimination in the guise of tradition.

“I won’t be scared, I’ll go to any length to protect these women and their interest,” says Daud Sharifa founder of STEPS women’s centre.

While these women have lost friends, been ostracised and are called names, Maulvis (Muslim preachers) and Imams (prayer leader and elder of mosque) are calling them anti-Islam.

“This is not a religious struggle. This is a power struggle. For long years, men have enjoyed power. When we started to ask the power, they’re manipulating the issue,” says Sharifa.

The all-woman Jamaat is only the first step by Sharifa whose ultimate goal is to build India’s first women’s mosque.

“A woman’s mosque with a woman priest will be a space that Indian Muslim women have been denied for generations,” says Sharifa.

The women supporting her have been receiving death threats and fear that an ‘all women mosque’ will be demolished even before it’s fully constructed.

However, undeterred by the threats, about 4,000 women supporting the idea are keeping the venue of this mosque a secret.

They hope it will be a symbol of a Muslim woman’s right to pray.

Rabya, a victim of dowry harassment knocked the doors of the women’s board after she was denied justice by the Jamaat.

“I can’t bear this torture for dowry. We all work to cough up the gold and money they (in-laws) keep demanding. Parents pay up, but can still never be sure their girls will be safe after marriage,” says Rabya, a rope-maker by profession.

A Jamaat sits in the mosque and has been traditionally a man’s domain. Even when the petitioner is a woman, almost always, judgments are passed without involving her.

“The Jamaat people are all men. They’re sitting in the mosque. And they deal with this issue without inviting any say from women,” says Sharifa.

Muslim woman like Rabya have attempted to escape the dowry harassment many times, however domestic violence, forced divorce, and sometimes even the police compel them to approach the Jamaat or Muslim personal law board to take up their matters.

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