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Shillong mosque opens doors for women

August 29, 2008 22:15 IST

Setting a precedent, a mosque in Shillong on Friday became the "first" to open to women in the entire North East, but a curtain separated them from men in the place of worship.

Around 50 women of all age groups, including students, offered the Jummah Namaj this morning as the Idgah Masjid in Laban, built by the Shillong Muslim Union, was opened to the devotees.

"It was a distant dream for us, but we achieved it. So long, women were given status of a mother and daughter, but they also should be given the right to pray," SMU general secretary, Saidullah Nongrum said.

Executive member of the union Noor Nongrum said women could offer prayers five times on Fridays.

"Women should be treated on par with men. We have tried it through this endeavour and we are proud."

While dismissing the notion that Muslim women are not allowed inside the mosque, he said neither in the Quran nor in the Hadish is it written that women can't enter the mosque.

Men and women enjoy equal rights everywhere in the world and we tried to bridge the gap between the sexes in the region, Nongrum said.

The women who offered prayers appeared elated and acknowledged the 'right'. However, the mosque authorities had laid down a purdah to separate the men from the women while offering prayers.

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