Jan 29 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
Mumbai:Backing the activists who are opposing ban on women’s entry to the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar, a group of Muslim women on Thursday demanded entry of women in all shrines and places of worship, including the iconic Haji Ali Dargah. Led by Bhartiya Muslim Mahilan Andolan co-founder Noorejahan Safia Niaz, the activists who protested at Azad Maidan said the trustees who manage temples and Sufi saints’ shrines could no longer bar women’s entry as women are awakened and know their rights.
“Let the male-managed trusts of dargahs, temples and churches see the writings on the wall and treat women with dignity at shrines. Their argument that women will dirty shrines with their presence as they are `impure’ for certain days in a month is not only shocking but shameful,“ said Niaz, one of the petitioners in Bombay high court for Muslim women’s rights to enter the Haji Ali Dargah.
Islamic scholar Dr Zeenat Shaukat Ali said Islam never stopped women’s entry to shrines or visit graveyards. “Islam doesn’t discriminate against women and it doesn’t stop women from entering shrines of Sufi saints or places of worship. It is the patriarchal mentality which prevents women from entering temples, mosques or shrines of Sufis. We will have to change this mentality ,“ said Ali.
When asked if Muslim activists had mounted fresh pressure on Haji Ali Dargah management after taking a cue from Hindu women’s protest outside Shani Shingnapur temple, Javed Anand of Muslims for Secular Democracy said it was in solidarity with the oppressed. TNN