Women offer prayers at mosque, fatwa issued

via http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Women_offer_prayers_at_mosque_fatwa_issued/articleshow/2189763.cms published on July 10, 2007

GUWAHATI: A fatwa has been issued against women offering prayers in a mosque at Lower Assam’s Howli town after a group of women persuaded moulvis to bend the rule.

The perpetual calm of the town, a Muslim-majority agricultural and fishery hub of Assam, was shattered after the women sat in a separate enclosure for Friday prayers at the mosque on June 29.

The mosque entry by the women was hailed by the moderates across the state, especially by women. The Jamat-e-Islami said that the Quran does not prohibit women from praying in mosques. It is a tradition to let women offer namaz even in Mecca during the Haj, it said.

The district Dini Talim Board of the community, however, countered the move saying it was un-Islamic to allow women to pray inside a mosque. Several attacks on members of the moderate faction followed, including a murderous assault on Jamat-e-Islami’s Dewan Nazru Qadir, whose car was smashed.

The Dini Talim Board also issued a fatwa to stop women praying inside the mosque. On Sunday, Barpeta additional district magistrate Nazrul Islam convened a meeting where the clerics upheld the hardliners’ objections.

“The situation is now normal after it was accepted that allowing the women to offer prayers hurting the sentiments of a majority of people was wrong,” he said.

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