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Khalid Griggs, Winston-Salem, NC - wrote on 8/4/2004 9:43:55 AM
Your comments about the shameful space allocation for Muslim sisters in too many masajid and Islamic Centers are not only insightful but timely as well. Change begins with recognition that a problem exists.
Khadija, Trinidad - wrote on 8/4/2004 7:27:33 AM
Comment:May Allah subhan wa t'ala bless you for raising this topic. We women should hav done so a long time ago. I have always remarked about masajid in New York and Saudi Arabia as being women unfriendly. It is time to be gender inclusive. By the way who was the first person to accept Islam - a woman Khadija, may Allah grant her jannah. Never was a more 'modern ' woman than she.
We men and women have sufficient role models if only we could open our eyes and get rid of the narrowmindedness and see Islam for the beautiful deen that it is.
Nighat Khan, London, UK - wrote on 8/4/2004 6:43:05 AM
Comment:Asalamalaikum and thank you for bringing this topic up.
Interestingly, I note the BBC article about Asra Nomani, who is also challenging her local mosque on the same issue about gender discrimination (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3926461.stm).
We are always told to follow our beloved prophet's (pbuh) example, yet it always seems to be the average muslim male who stops our practise. I do hope fellow sisters can educate and provide better arguments for their brothers to understand this cause.
Also, I would like to know why gender segregation is a requirement within Islam and does not apply to mosques?
May Allah guide us all. Wa Salaam.
Aisha al-Adawiya, New York City - wrote on 8/3/2004 10:33:16 PM
Comment:Assalamu Alaikum, Br. Abdul Malik:
Thank you for taking a courageous and principled stand on this long neglected issue, and we call upon all of our Brothers in Islam to do the same for this is not a "women's" issue - it is an issue that has serious implications for the entire Ummah.
Aisha H.L. al-Adawiya
Women In Islam Inc
New York City
Ameena Jandali, California - wrote on 8/3/2004 9:59:52 PM
JazakAllah khayr for this timely piece that addresses a subject that is increasingly being covered by people outside the community. If we do not take care of our dirty laundry - whatever it might be - others will have a heyday airing it. The voices of leading men in the community combined with active women is necessary to bring about much needed change.
Kiran Nasir Gore, New York - wrote on 8/3/2004 9:15:10 PM
Comment:It's very comforting to know that not all Muslim leadership is so narrow minded that voices in the community get drowned out. Too often I've been in womens' prayer space that simply isn't adequate (It's also important to remember women are usually accompanied by young children who also need room to breathe).
Balcony-style female space overlooking the men's prayer space is a solution that I've seen appease most people-- the best view with privacy as well.
Also, I'd like to point out there was an article on the front page of the NY Times last Thursday that touched upon this issue (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00714FE345E0C718EDDAE0894DC404482)
Amina Abu-Bakare, Thunder Bay , Ont, - wrote on 8/3/2004 9:00:52 PM
Comment:I am pleased this issue is being addressed. I live in canada and we have a small community of muslims here . The sad part to the story is that after years of struggle to get a mosque , the ladies were given a small room in the basement where we could not seen or hear the Imam, thus the first Eid prayer at the mosque, we were backing Qibla when we prayed .I never went back to the mosque again and it saddens me because I feel as women we are not welcome to the mosque we all worked hard to get.
Janaan, Chicago - wrote on 8/3/2004 8:52:59 PM
Comment:Well said! May Allah reward those who treat all with equality, ameen.
I only wonder how many times this theme must be reiterated before the men participating in such injustice agree that it is unjust. Sometimes, no matter how often you say the sky is blue, some will say it is not. Similarly, no matter how many times we say such a policy is haram, some will say it is not. How to change this is the million dollar question! A caucus is a good idea, but again, if the ideas fall upon the deaf and dumb, the effort is futile.
Sorry to be so grim; insha'Allah new blood on the mosques' boards will remember this article and call for equality.
Lydia Muhammad, Chicago Northside - wrote on 8/3/2004 8:17:08 PM
Comment:As salaamu alaikum. This is a very timely article. I have always taken issue with the exclusion, small space, and lack of concern for women participating in Masjid functions and Jumuah. I just recently moved to the Northside of Chicago. Near Sheridan Rd. And Foster. At this intersection is Musalla/Mosque which is run by Pakistani Muslim men. The other day my car broke down and since I am in the habit of attending Jumuah I stopped in the office to find out what time it would start. I was infromed that there is nospace for sisters. My first instinct or thought was to make a sign and stand in front of the Masjid until they prepared a space for me and any other sister who has the desire to attend Jumuah. I am 2 and a half blocks away and can't gop to pray there. Normally I drive about 12 to 15 miles away to attend. It would be much better for me to just walk around the block. I still haven't given up on the idea of an open and visible protest. The only thing that stops me is that I don't want non Muslims to see the dissention between us.
Judy Kardan, Texas - wrote on 8/3/2004 6:10:49 PM
Comment:In His Name,
Assalamu Alaikum to you,
Thank you so much for your opinions and ideas on this matter. I realize how delicate the subject is. May I relate that I am fairly new to Islam. After having visited several different mosques in San Antonio and Austin, I must say that I felt a certain amount of reluctance to return because of always being relegated to a small, crowded room full of women talking and children playing, and where the speakers seldom worked. One could not even hear the prayer or khutba, much less ponder the message or ask any questions. But I will forever think fondly of my few visits to a beautiful old building in Toronto, and of the upstairs room where a little group would gather each Saturday --- men toward the front and women and children behind --- where Dr. Mahdi instructed us and led us in prayer. In his classes we learned so much, and we were all welcome (even encouraged) to participate in the discussion, asking questions or voicing opinions. In this environment, we learned the history of Islam, studied Quran, related all of this to our daily lives, and grew in our faith --- all of us. One or another of us might occasionally have something pertinant to share, which sometimes gave us a subject for future discussion and sometimes warmed our hearts with joy or laughter. This was the only place that nourished my hunger to learn and encouraged me to grow in my faith. Dr. Mahdi is still there, teaching and encouraging yet another generation to grow strong in Islam.
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