Muslim women begin breaking new ground

Nepalgunj, October 21:

Muslim women, long hidebound by restrictive traditions of their society which forbids their interaction with strangers — especially unknown males, have started emerging from their shell. They have started participating in group discussions.

The women have begun participating in group discussions after several organisations started holding interactions in the presence of Muslim priests and women in the same room.

Though the tradition of restricting women within four walls of the houses and depriving them of speaking with strange males still prevails, some women have started to defy these restrictions now.

An active Muslim woman, Jetan Haluwai said women are informed of their rights from such group discussions. “Now we know our rights and our repression by society through such discussions,” said Haluwai, adding that the Nepal Muslim Society Development Awareness Centre took her to various discussion programmes and encouraged to speak with men. “I can talk about women’s rights even with orthodox priests now,” said Haluwai.

Rubi Khan said that Muslim women are exploited because they are lagging in education, adding that she could talk about her rights as she is educated herself. Rubi added that priority should be given to the education of girl children and women of the Muslim community. Muslim priest Kari Abdul Kayum said that Muslim women can participate in all kinds of activities including education, health and employment within the parameters of Islam.

A Muslim social worker, Mohammad Sher Bagwan said Muslim women have been unable to the fore of their society due to the silence of Muslim priests and activists of their society.