There were reports recently
of Muslim women being segregated in Canadian mosques by making them sit at the back, while only the men could sit at the front. It's also happened in US mosques, and here's a letter I found in USA Today
that asks a worthy question in response to one of their op-eds:
Commentary writer Asra Nomani argues that the U.S. government should encourage democracy "in places of worship by denying non-profit tax-exempt status … to places of worship that practice gender inequity" ("End gender apartheid in U.S. mosques").
Even if effectual, Nomani's solution misses the real question: Within a free society, why would Muslim and other religious women want to worship at a patriarchal "men's club" in the first place?
Instead of demanding to worship in an inevitably hostile environment, those disturbed by inequitable mosques should focus their energies on creating their own places of worship or attempt to convince others that segregated mosques are contrary to "the teachings of Mohammed."
Women do not have to be treated as second-class citizens, nor should they have to follow oppressive edicts and customs if they choose not to. By creating a space for equitable and tolerant religious communities, Muslim women could help promote gender equality directly, instead of waiting for government action.
Trouble is, they otherwise don't have a choice in the matter when you've got a religion that teaches that
Qur'an (4:34) - "Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great."
So it's not a simple matter at all. Only abolishing the RoP and it's horrors can bring true freedom for women.
Labels: Canada, islam, misogyny, United States