New Delhi, Oct 10, 2018 : Days after Supreme Court lifted the ban on entry of menstruating women in the Sabarimala temple, a Kerala-based Muslim women’s outfit is now all set to approach the top court to gain entry in Sunni temples.
Social Activist VP Zuhra, President of Kozhikode-based progressive Muslim women’s forum NISA, has decided to petition the Supreme Court, praying that Sunni mosques across the country must allow entry to women.
Speaking to News18 from Kozhikode, Zuhra said that the prime reason for her decision to move court is the "apparent gender discrimination" at mosques. She added that the move will help the cause of “equality”.
"I am doing this for equality. Women are never allowed inside Sunni mosques to pray and they, too, have the right. Women were allowed to enter mosques even during the time of the Prophet," said Zuhra.
The Supreme Court had on September 28 opened the doors of Sabarimala temple to women of all age groups. The court called the practice a form of discrimination, smacking of gender bias and prejudice against a natural biological process that every woman has to go through.
The NISA chief on Wednesday said that Advocate Venkita Subramoniam will be filing the Muslim women’s plea in the top court this week itself or by next week.
Recently, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had also questioned why do Sunni mosques continue to restrict women’s entry.
“There should be no discrimination against women in any place, this is the stance that [the party] is taking,” Kodiyeri had said.
“There are women going to some mosques, right? There is entry for women at the Beemapally mosque in Thiruvananthapuram. So many mosques allow women to enter. Women are even going on Hajj. If that’s the case, Mecca should also not have allowed women, right? Be it a Sunni or anybody else, our stance is the same for everyone,” Kodiyeri said.
Muslim League State General Secretary KPA Majeed, however, dismissed Kodiyeri’s statements, saying he was a "non-believer".
The decision to move Supreme Court is likely to gain a strong footing in law especially after the Sabarimala verdict where a CJI-led five judge Constitution bench ruled that no religion can discriminate between genders.
In India, women are allowed to enter mosques, including the Jama Masjid in Delhi, but are not permitted to sit in the same congregation along with men to offer prayers. They are often designated a separate space with certain restrictions on praying after evening (maghrib).
In 2016, in a big win for women devotees, the Bombay High Court allowed women’s entry into the Haji Ali Dargah’s inner sanctum. The court added that it will give “necessary protection” to the respondents.
The decision came after a PIL challenging the ban stated that gender justice is inherent in the Quran and the decision contravenes the Hadith, which says that there is no prohibition on women visiting graves.