Plea in SC seeks entry of women into mosques

Bar is a violation of their dignity, says petition in SC

April 15, 2019 10:13 pm | Updated 10:13 pm IST - NEW DELHI

NEW DELHI, 18/02/2014: Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan

NEW DELHI, 18/02/2014: Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan

A couple has moved the Supreme Court against the prohibition of entry of Muslim women into mosques, terming the bar as illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of their dignity.

“There should not be any gender discrimination. Allow Muslim women to pray in all mosques, cutting across denominations. There is no such gender discrimination to offer worship in Mecca, the holy city. The faithful, both men and women, together circle the Kaaba,” the Pune-based couple, Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad and Zuber Ahmad, submitted in their petition.

Women are now allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations. Muslim women are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction.

Even in mosques where women are allowed, there are separate entrances and enclosures for men and women.

Petitioner’s plight

The couple said they had approached several Islamic religious heads on the issue, but received no positive response. In fact, the petition said, “The Imam of Jama Masjid, Bopodi, Pune had written that since no permission can be granted, he is not sure about entry of women in mosque.”

The petitioners said the police did not also respond to their request to provide them protection for entering mosques.

The petition comes several months after the court upheld the dignity of women worshippers aged between 10 and 50 by lifting the bar on them to pray at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The court concluded that the bar amounted to discrimination and even a practice of untouchability.

The Haji Ali Dargah Trust had also agreed in the Supreme Court to allow women to enter the sanctum of the shrine.

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