Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre, National Commission for Women on a plea seeking a direction that Muslim women be allowed to enter the mosques and offer prayers in a general entrance. The notice has been also issued to Central Waqf Council and All India Muslim Personal Law Board. On Monday, a Maharastra based couple had moved the Supreme Court for seeking an order to allow women to enter mosques and offer prayers. The petition which was filed by Yasmeen Zuber and Zuber Ahmed Peerzade claimed that neither Prophet Muhammad nor the Holy Quran objects women from accessing mosques and offering prayers. They said that like men, women also have the constitutional rights to offer worship according to their belief.

The petitioners also sought a direction permitting women to enter through the main door and have an Islamic right to visual and auditory access to the main sanctuary in the mosques.

As per Muslim law, women are allowed to enter the mosques through a separate entrance meant for women only where no men are allowed to enter. Women offer prayers in a separate place inside the mosque.

Women activist Trupti Desai, who has been the forefront for seeking access for women to enter the religious sites along with men. In 2016, Desai along with other women groups made an attempt to enter the inner sanctum sanctorum of historic Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. They were not allowed to enter the inner place in the Dargah despite heavy protests.

Last year, The apex court in its decision permitted women of menstrual age to enter Kerala’s Lord Ayyappa temple. After the court’s decision, violence broke out in several parts in Kerela. However, the verdict was welcomed by the women rights activists.

Last year, NISA, a progressive women’s forum, demanded the entry of women in all mosques across the country. The group also demanded to appoint women as clerics. The Kerala based outfit has been campaigning for gender equality within Islam, also wants to curb the practices of polygamy and other practices in the religion. 

Earlier, the Kerala high court had dismissed public interest litigation filed by a Hindu group seeking entry of Muslim women into mosques for offering prayers.

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