NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)—When Matea converted to Islam in December 2013 she looked forward to joining the life of her local mosques here. Today Matea, like many Muslim women, is disillusioned.For some basic information about the position of women in Islam, watch this:
"When I first converted I wanted to be part of the mosque environment. But I went to mosques and what I found was sort of an unwelcome environment for women," she told Women's eNews during a discussion organized last week by Women in Islam, a New York-based organization working to empower Muslim women through knowledge and practice of Islam.
Matea didn't want her full name published.
"The spaces are separated, there are different rooms and sometimes it was even in the basement," Matea continued. "And as a convert, it feels very strange to you. I used to go to church and everybody is part of the same community. You can see the preacher. You can hear the sermon very well."
Momentum is building to improve Muslim women's prayer spaces inside mosques. Last year, Hind Makki, a resident of Chicago who describes herself as an interfaith educator and community activist, launched the Side Entrance project on Tumblr and Facebook, inviting people from around the world to share photos of the mosques they attend and show the differences between male and female prayer areas.
"We show the beautiful, the adequate and the pathetic," says the Side Entrance's introduction on Tumblr.
Makki hopes the Side Entrance website will help more Muslim men realize the terrible state of Muslim women's prayer spaces and encourage them to join the women's call for action and change.
In an email interview, Makki said the key to improving women's treatment at mosques is to hold a broad discussion that includes religious leaders, mosque architects and lay Muslims.
"Every time I visit a mosque, I assume that I must enter through a side or back door, if I'm allowed in at all," Makki said. "I assume that my prayer space is not the one that men use and that I must look for signs directing me to a basement or a mezzanine floor. This has been the case in nearly every mosque I've visited in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe." (Continue Reading.)
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Convert to Islam Shocked to Learn that Women Are Treated Differently
Hmmm. So this woman converted to Islam, but had no clue what Islam teaches about women? Then, after converting, she was surprised to learn that women are treated differently in Islam? Now she's disillusioned by what she's learned about Islam after converting? And she's also learned enough about Islam to know that she had better keep her real name secret?