There it was, plain as day. Monday’s edition of USA Today included an opinion column by a Muslim woman that argued–quite straightforwardly–that the United States government should force a nondiscrimination policy on gender in all places of worship.
Asra Q. Nomani, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, argues that the Internal Revenue Service should move to deny tax-exempt status to any place of worship that holds to different roles for men and women. In “End Gender Apartheid in U.S. Mosques,” Nomani writes, “I’ve come to the difficult decision that women must use the legal system to restore rights in places of worship…”
Nomani writes out of her own experience as a Muslim woman in the United States. As she relates in her article, she has joined with a movement that has launched “Pray Ins” at several mosques in the Washington, D.C. area, protesting the practice of separating Muslim men and women for prayers.
“Today, half the population of the Muslim world is discriminated against in most mosques. In a 2001 report titled the Mosque Study Project, national Muslim organizations found that in 1994, 52% of mosques reported women had to pray behind a partition or in another room, and in 2000, the number was 66%. In addition, on average, 75% of regular participants at mosques were men, making them true men’s clubs.”
This may very well be the case, but Nomani is not calling for change from within Islam, but for action by the government of the United States.
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