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Opened doors

Ancient Indian mosque allows Muslim women inside for the first time, but only for a tour

By WITW Staff on April 26, 2016

An ancient mosque in Kerala, India, has opened its doors to Muslim women for the first time this week. The 1,000-year-old Juma Masjid mosque, situated in one of the historic “heritage zones” of the state of Kerala, is famed for its architecture and wood carvings.

On Sunday, thousands of Muslim women attended the mosque for the first time, though they were not allowed to attend prayer services or any celebration inside.

“It was only to allow women to see the place,” Nawab Mulladom, president of the mosque committee, told the news agency Press Trust of India.  “This is a 1000-year-old mosque. Our women had not seen it so far and had a great desire to visit the holy place. So the mosque committee decided to allow women to visit it on April 24 and May 8.”

The women donned traditional attire to tour the mosque, which has a square courtyard in the middle and an elaborately-carved wooden gable roof and latticed windows, according to the report.

“Standing before many historical mosques, I had always wanted to enter and offer worship. But I was afraid of even expressing that desire. I am happy that such an opportunity has come now,” said a visitor identified only as Fathima.

Read the full story at the Times of India.