I was glad to see that two of my favourite people have raised the issue of the treatment of women by some Muslims.

The first entitled, “We can do better than this” is written by my good friend Musab, writing on his blog about the experience of Muslim women in Birmingham and some of the excuses perpetuated to keep women out of mosques. He ends his piece with a reflection on his imminent visit to jumah prayers:

The mosque has facilities for women, but the only lady I will see will be the one standing away from the mosque grounds, who is still asking for money, same time and place, for the last two years.

The second, is by Riazat Butt on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website entitled, “Our dirty little secret”. As she concludes:

The silence on human rights abuses – especially of women – is something Muslims, and I include myself here, should be ashamed of. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to give the country its full title, is custodian of the two holy mosques; it is the de facto custodian to the fifth pillar of Islam. Acknowledging the plight of women and criticising the Saudi regime is therefore tantamount to blasphemy. But millions of Muslims, including 25,000 Britons, go to Saudi every year. They leave behind their sense of fairness, equality, justice and outrage. The HRW report has exposed our ummah’s dirty little secret and, in turn, our collusion in it.

As both pieces suggest, the way in which women are treated by some Muslims – whether in Birmingham or in Makkah – is completely unacceptable and goes against the teachings of Islam. Yet despte this, far too many Muslims are prepared to ‘keep shtum’.

I agree with Musab and don’t want to become a ranter and most definitely not holier than thou, but when non-Muslims criticise Muslims for the way ‘Islam’ treats women, they don’t have to look very far to find fuel for the fire no matter how many times those same Muslims argue that in Islam, men and women are equal.

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