Muslim Women Fight Segregation in DC Mosque

US fights for Muslim women aboard, cops threaten arrest here

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 1, 2010 1:48 AM CST | Updated Mar 1, 2010 4:22 AM CST

(Newser) – In an action they link to Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a bus in the civil rights movement, American Muslim women are battling against a "men only" prayer section in a DC mosque. Police were called recently to the Islamic Center of Washington when protesting women knelt to pray with men instead of in their special section behind a barrier. The women were threatened with arrest if they failed to comply, reports the Daily Beast.

The incident raises troubling issues for Americans battling for basic rights in Islam on American soil, writes Asra Q. Nomani, who was banned from her Virginia mosque after she pointed out that Mohammad did not segregate female worshipers. While US soldiers fight in Afghanistan in part to improve women's rights there, police were dispatched "just a mile from the White House" to boot American Muslim women protesting gender segregation at their local mosque, Nomani notes.

President Bush makes remarks during the re-dedication ceremony of the Islamic Center of Washington in 2007.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The minaret of the Islamic Center of Washington stands against the sky.   (Islamic Center of Washington)
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Today, a mosque can’t tell a woman of color she has to sit separately because of her race, but it can banish her to a corner, as most do, because of her gender. - xxx

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