A famed 15th-century mosque in Mumbai that has banned women in its inner sanctum since 2011 is facing pressure to overturn the restriction, a move that could set precedent for other places of worship with similar rules. The mosque, Haji Ali Dargah, is popular not only among Muslims, but also Hindus and tourists, and sees tens of thousands of visitors each week. For a woman to enter the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, the mosque’s Sufi saint, is considered a “a grievous sin” because they are seen as impure. Noorjehan Niaz, co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), who is suing the mosque, said that trustees cited menstruation as a reason women are banned. “They’ve said women are impure. But menstruation is a natural event and responsible for the entire of humanity being born. How can it be dirty? It’s a ridiculous and demeaning argument,” she told AFP, as reported by Yahoo.
Mumbai’s top court is expected to rule on the case on December 15. If the BMMA wins, it could set a precedent in India, where women are banned from many sacred sites.
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