(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/22/05) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today it plans to distribute a brochure supporting the religious rights of Muslim women to mosques throughout the United States. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the 28-page publication, called “Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers: Working Together to Reclaim Our Heritage,” is designed to educate Muslim community leaders about the right of Muslim women to equal access to and participation in community activities. It was published through a collaborative effort of the Islamic Social Services Associations (ISSA) and Women in Islam (WII).
Using references in the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, and the traditions (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad, the publication’s authors call for improvements in women’s access to mosque facilities, greater participation of women in mosque program planning and development of a mosque governance structure that allows women and youth to have input in decision-making. The Prophet Muhammad is also quoted as saying in his final sermon: “The rights of women are sacred, so see that they are maintained.”
Specific recommendations in the “Women Friendly Mosques” guide include:
* Make available designated space for women in the main prayer hall of mosques.
* Invite women to organize community programs, introduce speakers, offer dua (supplications) during educational programs, moderate panels, and direct question and answer sessions.
* Ensure that women are represented on governing boards of mosques and community centers.
“We hope Muslim religious and community leaders will study and adopt the recommendations in this guide as part of a nationwide effort to help restore the rights that Islam has granted to women for more than 1400 years,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist’s window to the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called ISLAM-INFONET, receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society. To SUBSCRIBE to ISLAM-INFONET, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/islam-infonet