Mangalore, September 17: The Noor Masjid, which recently permitted women to offer namaaz on Eid, witnessed a scuffle between two groups with differences of opinion on September 17. One of these groups almost pushed out the women, who had entered the masjid to offer Salah while the other group tried to defend the women. Fortunately, both groups realized that they were in a masjid and decided to call a truce.
The management of the Noor Masjid says that it does not belong to any particular denomination of Islam, but welcomes everybody who is willing to offer prayers. It was the first mosque in Mangalore to prepare a separate place for women worshippers. The mosque permits women to offer namaaz in the mosque every day except on Fridays and feast days owing to lack of space.
A trustee of the masjid said that, while the mosque does not object to women offering Salah in the mosque, it cannot provide a room, which can accommodate 200 men, to just 15 women on Fridays. He added that the masjid doesn’t even have place for men.
Eleven women approached the High Court of Karnataka recently questioning this restriction placed on them; and accordingly, the High Court had ordered the management committee of the mosque to permit these women to offer namaaz on Eid as well as the Jum’a prayers on Friday. However, the court has not issued a final verdict on this issue.
This Friday, the group of women found that the men had already occupied the room. When the male members of their families and their male supporters asked the men to vacate the women’s section, a quarrel broke out right in front of reporters and police personnel, who hesitated to intervene. Finally, the women offered the Jum’a Salah outside the room, which was occupied by the men. However, the management committee of the masjid feels that this is “not a serious issue.”
Arif Mulki of Mangalore blames the management committee for the entire episode. He said that the management had to arrange a place for the women especially when the court had instructed them to allow women for the Jum’a.
Social activist Umer U. H. said that the masjid is managed by a trust and that it had decided not to permit women for Jum’a Salah owing to lack of space. He voiced his opinion that if the masjid reserved a room capable of accommodating 250 men for 15 women, around 250 men will have to stand outside the mosque during Salah.