Muslim women in Barbados plea for access to Masjid

First published in Imam Johari’s blog (click to go to source)

I got the following email from a sister in Barbados. We must move away from the days when we deny sisters access to the masjids. The women are the backbone of our community. We must allow them to be.

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

On Thursday, November 29, 2007 at approximately 3:00pm, the island of Barbados felt its first known tremor from an earthquake. Alhamdulillah, it was just for 3 minutes and there was no real damage to lives or property.

On Friday, November 30, 2007, the 41st year of Independence in Barbados, I, a female Muslim, was denied the right to pray Jumu’ah in the largest masjid on the island.  I stood in front of the door on the top floor, two brothers turned up with keys and informed me that there were no facilities for women to pray there, so the sisters present were to go to his sister’s house.  I have never seen the brother and I do not know his sister.  So  we patiently waited until the khutbah (which we could not hear) was over, the salah (which we could not hear) was over, most of the brothers had left, and then the sister went downstairs and offered salah.

This seemed to have caused some consternation among the few brothers still around.  The Acting President of the masjid who also happens to be President of the Barbados Muslim Association, was called outside by one brother.  He asked him why the sisters were refused entry and asked him to have his committee meet with us. The President himself is saying that there are no facilities for women.  Many of the brothers outside agreed that it was ridiculous that the women were continuously being denied entry to that venerable place of worship.

I should mention that this is the same masjid where Imam Johari gave a khutbah on Friday, November 23, 2007; and where I, a sister, prayed upstairs in the sisters section (that is NOT for sisters) in jama’at for the Magrib salah.  I could be mistaken, but I think there was a “facility” there last week and I don’t know where it could have disappeared to in one week.  Perhaps there was some damage in the earthquake that was not reported?

Insha’Allah, as soon as I send this email I shall be calling the President of the masjid, to whom I am copying this, to find out when the Committee wants to  meet with the sisters.  We have many issues to be resolved.  It seems I shall have to start a fund-raising drive to get “facilities” built to accommodate the sisters in Barbados.

Make dua for us here.  Alhamdulillah, Islam is alive, well and striving on the island of Barbados (but don’t tell the sisters).

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