A common misconception woman face practicing Islam is men oppressing their character. Some examples could be wearing a Hijab, praying in a separate part of the Mosque, and sitting in separate rooms on the night of Eid. While most women insist that it is their choice to wear the Hijab, pray in separate rooms, or sit in separate space, however, other Muslim women would argue the opposite. Being an activist against their Mosque can be controversial in some ways but beneficial in others. In today’s society, it is no surprise that more and more people are standing up for what they believe in and creating a voice for themselves and many others.
As seen in the movie the Mosque in Morgantown there are some women who do not believe the religion oppresses themselves in any way. The Qur’an, which is the verbatim word of God, is what every Muslim practice. The way in which the Qur’an is practiced differs from person to person. Some women believe that since it is stated in the Qur’an about the separation of the Mosque and the wearing of the Hijab that they need to do it out of respect to their Allah. However, others feel that their freedom of choice is not honored within the Qur’an like other men’s freedom of choice is.
“Exactly how woman should be practicing in Mosques across America is being taken up locally mosque after mosque (Leonard, 175).” This quote by Leonard establishes the different within the different Mosques across America. Each Mosque has their own beliefs and rules established within their facility. For example, African American Mosques are more open about the integration of woman and men within the Mosque. Other Mosques such as immigrant Mosques are somewhat stricter when it comes to the separation of men and woman during prayer time. Some of these women in the stricter mosques take action for their equal rights within the mosque. If they don’t take the initiative, there will never be change seen nor made.
“There will not be a change in the role of women in the communities unless they try to be proactive and change it themselves (Karim, 175).” Quoted by a man known as Brother Milan he is speaking upon what woman have to do in order to gain equality within a Mosque. In today’s society, you see more and more examples of the woman standing up for their equal rights no matter what the situation is. It is important to some Muslim woman to advocate for themselves and many others to have that equal space within the Mosque because they are practicing in the same way the men do.
Asra Nomani is an activist who belongs to a Mosque in Morgantown West Virginia. This specific Mosque has a separate entrance for the woman, a separate room for prayer, and a low tolerance for the females to have a leadership role. Asra acknowledges these leaders as extremists and begins to fight against a Mosque she once attended. Asra and her close friend Christine Arja begin to take a stand for what they believe in how a Mosque should be run. Christine, once a supporter of the Mosque joined Asra’s activism shortly after she realized she could not make a change from within the Mosque. Being as proactive like Asra and Christine are is what woman needs to do if they do not agree with the separation of sexes within the Mosque. While many people commend Christine and Asra for sticking up for what they believed in, there were many instances where even other Muslim women within the Mosque and outside of it did not agree with their actions.
“There will not be a change in the role of women in the communities unless they try to be proactive and change it themselves (Karim 175).” It is important to remember that people still support activism for the woman and the religion of Islam. However, some woman within the same Mosque does not support activism. Some woman such as Asra’s Mosques leaders husband thinks Asra is a radical. She believes in the traditions of the Islamic religion and that involves the separation at prayers time and the different entrances. Many other women support these views as well.
I think that it is important for these women to be proactive and stand up for what they believe in. In today’s society, the oppressing woman is frowned upon so more and more women are beginning to stand up for themselves. It is important for women to remember that in order to make any movement or and progress in equality within a certain religion they have to be active. Being active will get them somewhere in life and satisfy them at the end of the day.
In conclusion, I think it is important for women to stand up for what they believe in. I do see both sides to the controversy. Many people like to practice by what the book says because it is directly from the Allah. Times are changing and things are evolving which is why I think people should reconsider gender role not only in religion but also in life itself.