Ufaq Fatima

Women resent lack of space for them in city mosques

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Srinagar, Jun 03: In a city where mosques are present in every nook and corner, very few have facilities for women to pray.

Take Lal Chowk for instance — being the commercial and busiest hub of the city,  no mosque here provides space for women to pray.

“Whenever I visit Lal Chowk I have to miss my prayers. But it is not same with the men. My spouse prays easily whenever we are out and I have no option but to wait for him alone. If there would have been facilities for women I too would have prayed,” says Jawahira, a housewife.

In Ramazan when people are seen rushing to the mosques for prayers, womenfolk have to miss on their prayers due to non-availability of space for them in majority mosques.

“My work is mostly around the Lal Chowk. My colleagues go the mosque at the time of prayers. There are number of places available for them to pray and not a single one for the women. Shrines like Hazratbal and others are far from my place of work. One cannot always rush there for prayers. If men can pray so easily, why cannot we? If they have space in the mosques, why is there no space for us to pray,” rued Sanna, a journalist, adding that women have to miss the prayers as there is no room for them in most of the mosques.

Many other women visiting the city centre for shopping and other chores  shared similar woes.

Taking to ‘Kashmir Images’,  a student Ayesha said that she many times searched for a mosque around Lal Chowk but no mosque provided space for women. “I many a times went to Masjid Bilal that is located in heart of Lal Chowk but I was always told that there are no separate facilities of ablution and prayers for the women.”

“Why are women’s needs not taken into account while constructing a mosque? Why are we deprived of this basic facility? In the city which is full of mosques, it is disheartening to discover that there is space for women to pray,” Ayesha added.

According to the locals, a mosque in Gaw Kadal area had space for women, but it was also closed down as not many women would visit there.

When the president of Masjid-e-Bilal of Lal Chowk was approached for comment on the issue, this  reporter was told that he is out of town.

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