Religious freedom

India’s Supreme Court to rule on whether mosques must let women worshipers inside

Muslim women listen to a speech by an Imam after breaking fast on the last day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in India, at the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) in the old quarters of Delhi July 28, 2014. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

India’s Supreme Court will hear a petition Tuesday asking that Islamic mosques be legally mandated to allow women inside to offer prayers.

The plaintiffs in the case, Yasmeej Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and Zuber Ahmed Peerzade, have argued that prohibiting women from entering mosques is unconstitutional. Currently, women are only allowed into mosques of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations, and even then, they are required to enter through different doors than men and worship in separate enclosures. Sunnis, the predominant Muslim denomination in India, bar women from mosques altogether.

In a similar case in September, the Supreme Court forced Hindu hardliners to allow women into the ancient Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, despite devotees’ beliefs that menstruating women would spiritually defile the site. Before the ruling, women had been barred from the 12th century temple since 1991. That same month, the Supreme Court also officially decriminalized both adultery and homosexuality nationwide.

According to the petition, the prohibition on women in mosques is not only discriminatory, but runs contrary to Islamic scripture. “The Quran does not differentiate between man and woman,” the petition claims. “It speaks only about the faithful. But Islam has instead become a religion in which women are being oppressed.”

Read the full story at NDTV.

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