On Sunday, the Muslim Women’s Council had a public consultation on proposals for a women-only mosque in Bradford. It follows the opening of a women’s mosque in the US earlier this year. There are also plans for something similar in India.
You would think that in a city where there are many people of South Asian and Muslim origin, this would go down a treat. The proposal has been met with a mixed response. Bradford West’s newly-elected MP Naz Shah has already come out against it, writing in the Guardian that she does not want to see “greater gender segregation, or women’s involvement pushed to the margins”.
When this idea was first proposed a few months ago, the topic was discussed on the BBC Asian Network’s phone-in show. On their Facebook page, one comment read: “Islam has given rights to women but within limits not to abuse and go on the feminist band wagon. I know of plenty of mosques in Bradford that cater for women so I don’t understand why the need for women only run mosques?”
Another read: “Hmmmmm a mosque for woman [sic]! Aren’t woman [sic] better praying at home? They have a lot of family commitments hence it’s never been made [obligatory] for her to pray in a congregation. Women are not obligated to pray in congregation, they cannot be Imams. In fact, the best place for them to pray is in their homes, not that this means a ban from our mosques! Therefore, not sure how this can be called a mosque.”
You know what the disheartening thing is? These were women commenting, not men.
Continue reading on Iram Ramzan’s blog.