: News

Muslim Women Protest Policies At Islamic Center Of Washington

Play associated audio
Fatima Thompson led a protest against women having to pray in an area other than the main prayer hall in a Northwest D.C. mosque.
Kavitha Cardoza
Fatima Thompson led a protest against women having to pray in an area other than the main prayer hall in a Northwest D.C. mosque.

By Kavitha Cardoza

Some women who protested at the Islamic Center of Washington, wanting to be able to worship in the main prayer hall with their male counterparts, were asked to leave by the police. But they say their struggle will continue.

Carpets with intricate designs cover the floors of the main prayer hall and turquoise tiles line the walls. But the source of contention is a small room created with seven foot high wooden walls. Jannah B'int Hannah describes how she feels in there where she cannot see the imam, or leader of the mosque, speak.

"Boxed in, stifling, suffocating and totally a second class citizen," says Hannah.

Over the weekend, Hannah and approximately 20 other women prayed in the main hall, but D.C. police were called. They asked them to leave or be arrested.

Syed Burmi, the imam of Islamic Society of Western Maryland, says the physical separation helps maintain women's privacy and modesty as well as keeps the focus on prayer.

"If I stand next to a lady or a woman stands next to me, maybe the focus will change and no longer be on God the Almighty. So that's why we put the partition," says Burmi.

In two out of every three American mosques, women of separate prayer spaces around the country.

Asra Nomani is a leading Islamic feminist who led a similar protest in West Virginia.

"We have this generation of American muslim women who are saying look you want us to go to Harvard, to rise to the highest level of Wall Street firms and you want us to sit where in the mosque?," says Nomani.

Women activists say they will continue to try to pray in the main hall until this policy changes.

NPR

Once Outlaws, Young Lords Find A Museum Home For Radical Roots

Inspired by the Black Panthers, the Young Lords were formed in New York City by a group of Puerto Rican youth in 1969. Their history is now on display in a new exhibition.
NPR

Europe's Taste For Caviar Is Putting Pressure On A Great Lakes Fish

Scientists say lake herring, a key fish in Lake Superior's food web, is suffering because of mild winters and Europe's appetite for roe. Some say the species may be at risk of "collapse."
WAMU 88.5

A Congressional Attempt To Speed The Development Of Lifesaving Treatments

Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act in a rare bi-partisan effort. The bill is meant to speed the development of lifesaving treatments, but critics warn it may also allow ineffective or even harmful drugs onto the market.

NPR

Some Google Street View Cars Now Track Pollution Levels

Google's already tested three of the pollution-sensor equipped cars in Denver, and is currently trying them out in the Bay Area.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.