Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Towards Women Friendly Mosques

The Islamic Social Services Association and Woman in Islam have released a guide underlining a set of principles rooted in Islamic sources that outlines the rights of Muslim women to have full access to the masjid, and calling on Muslim leaders to privilege Islamic principles and values over cultural habits and traditions. The guide is entitled “Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers: Working Together to Reclaim Our Heritage.”

The guide presents a serious attempt to deal with an issue that requires an immediate attention by Muslim communities: the place of women in the masjid and the community. I personally faced the issue for the first time two decades ago when a Muslim Student Association board member objected to the inclusion of women in an executive meeting. He based his position in Islamic traditions, but his argument was found lacking by everyone else on the board. The meeting went on without him but with the two sisters.