women prepare to pray during the service at the Masjid Al-Abidin mosque
December 6, 2002 in the Queens borough of New York City. KATIE FALKENBERG VIA
Leading Muslim Organization Campaigns for
Women-Friendly Mosques in America
Moroccan Muslim Vying For Miss Italy Title Denies
Pakistani Teenage Dancer Fakes a Smile to Hide Her
Woman, 21, Commits Suicide in Makkah Protection Home
Not Every Country Has Doors Open for Muslim Women
Convictions Upheld For Minnesota Women in Somali
Child Bomber Kills Six in Nigeria
Aisha Mambo: Malawi’s 1st Female Muslim Legislator
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Whenever Muslim feminist Hind Makki sees photos of a
stunning mosque, she wonders, “Would there be an adequate place for me to
For years, Muslim women activists like Makki have been
calling attention to the state of women's prayer spaces in mosques. There's an
incredible variety in America -- some mosques have beautiful prayer halls for
women, while in other mosques, women are relegated to crowded basements or
asked to watch the service on television from an overflow room.
"The prayer experiences of many Muslim women are
too often frustrating; mosques seem to be built to cater only to the male
experience," Makki wrote on Side Entrance, her blog that documents Muslim
women's prayer spaces around the world.
Now, after action from Islamic Society of North
America, Makki is hopeful that a change is on the way.
ISNA is the largest and oldest umbrella organization
for Sunni Islam in North America. In a statement released this week, the
organization called for American mosques, called masjids in Arabic, to work
harder to be more inclusive of women.
The organization used scripture to bolster its claims
-- referring multiple times to the Quran
and to the hadith, sacred texts that list the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
The general guideline was set by Prophet Muhammad when
he ordered that women be allowed to freely attend the masjid: "If the wife
of anyone of you asks permission to attend the masjid, he should not prevent
her" ... Thus we call on all our masjids to be welcoming to women -- such
that their experience at the masjid be uplifting and not demeaning. To realize
the ideal of being welcoming to women, masjids should (a) ensure that women’s
accommodations are comfortable, clean and well-lit; (b) support and facilitate
women’s activities and groups; and (c) proclaim clearly on the minbar [or
pulpit] and by other means that women are an integral part of the masjid.
The group also boasts support from the Fiqh Council of
North America, an organization composed of renowned and respected Islamic
For Makki, who was part of an ISNA task force
dedicated to creating women-friendly masjids, the statement is a "big
"We've been working over the last year to have
this backing by religious scholars whose credentials are unimpeachable,"
Makki said. "The best way to get mosque leaders and everyday community
members to agree that this is not some fringe persepctive was to get the
backing of these scholars."
A screen at a New York City mosque marks off an area
designated for women to pray December 9, 2011.
In the statement, ISNA called for women to have access
to the main hall of mosques, called Musallas, and even recommended that there
should not be physical barriers in these halls to separate men and women.
This is the part of the statement that Makki feels
will be the most challenging principle for mosques to adapt. The 2011 American
Mosque Report found that 66 percent of the 2,106 mosques surveyed used dividers
to separate women's prayers spaces during daily prayers. In addition, many
American mosques weren't purpose-built as worship spaces -- they are often
renovated churches or storefronts.
"Space is always an issue for mosques in the
U.S.," Makki said. "People will say it is incumbent on men to pray at
the mosque, but it's not incumbent on the women, which is true. But then they
make the leap to say that men's spaces should be prioritized over women's
spaces. That's the fight I'm anticipating."
Research shows that the way women's prayer spaces are
set up is often a reflection of a mosque's attitudes toward women. Mosques
reporting women’s participation at the board level were less likely to use
dividers, according to the American Mosque Report.
Makki said that ISNA is planning to launch the
campaign at its annual convention next month, and follow it up with community
forums across the country aimed at educating mosque leadership. She says the
team is also looking at ways to measure the effort's impact.
But some Muslim activists are waiting to see whether
ISNA's statements will translate into action.
Dr. Amina Wadud, a visiting scholar at the Starr King
School for the Ministry, has been working toward women's inclusion in mosques
for years. Wadud stirred controversy in 2005 by leading a mixed-gender
She told HuffPost that the ISNA statement was quite
significant and a "good first step."
"I think they have responded well to the
community's needs," Wadud said. "I'm hopeful that it will make a
difference and that we'll be able to see that difference."
Muslim women prepare to pray during the service at the
Masjid Al-Abidin mosque December 6, 2002 in the Queens borough of
Muslim women prepare to pray during the service at the
Masjid Al-Abidin mosque December 6, 2002 in the Queens borough of New York
Other Muslims, tired of waiting for change to happen,
have been creating spaces meant just for female worshippers. The Women's Mosque
of America, based in Los Angeles, offers Friday prayers for a congregation
composed of just women and children. Women are allowed to recite the call to
prayer, deliver sermons and have direct access to imams by sitting in the front
M. Hasna Maznavi, founder and president of The Women's
Mosque, told HuffPost that ISNA's move towards women-friendly worship spaces
should be "celebrated and supported." But Maznavi said that ISNA's
statement may not address the concerns of Muslim women who don't wear a hair
covering, or who feel uncomfortable sitting behind men at a mosque.
"I'm afraid that while it shows progress, it only
helps an already privileged class of women who are already current
mosque-goers, and it does not address the concerns of unmosqued Muslim
women," Maznavi told HuffPost in an email. "ISNA has been working
toward women-friendly mosque reform for many years, but change has been
incredibly slow because policies and statements don't easily translate into
action or a change in societal behavior."
26th August 2015
ROME: A Model of Moroccan origin who hopes to become
the first Muslim Miss Italy has vowed to defy critics who accuse her of
insulting Islam by taking part in the beauty pageant.
Ahlam El Brinis, 20, who was born in the northern
Veneto region to Moroccan parents, has received threats and insults on social
media for her decision to participate in the contest next month. She has been
criticised for posing in bikinis, lacy underwear and revealing clothes, with
some Muslims accusing her of bringing Islam into disrepute.
But she has labelled her critics "ridiculous
people with too much time on their hands" and said she has drawn strength
from the support of her grandmother back in Morocco, who told her
"religion is in the heart, not in the choice of clothes you wear".
"There have been insults but there have been far more messages of
encouragement, both from friends and people I have never met," the model
told La Repubblica newspaper. "Religion should have nothing to do with a
Miss El Brinis, who first dreamed of becoming a beauty
queen when she watched the Miss Italy contest as a six-year-old, will take part
in the final qualifying round of the pageant next week at Jesolo, a resort town
She is a non-practising Muslim who says she respects
Islam but does not want to be defined by it. She feels entirely Italian, having
been born and raised in the northern city of Padua.
"My parents came to the Veneto region more than
20 years ago and I was born in Padua hospital. I went to a nursery school run
by nuns, where my mum worked as a cook. My family is Muslim but they have
always been guided by Western values." She lives with her boyfriend,
Cristian, and speaks Italian at home, having learnt no Arabic as a child.
She is an admirer of Sofia Loren, as well as Denny
Mendez, a model of Dominican origin who became the first non-white Miss Italy
Her crowning sparked an intense debate in Italy about
immigration, identity and racial intolerance, with some critics furious that a
"black" contestant should win the competition.
From being a homogeneously white nation just a couple
of decades ago, Italy has become much more multicultural, but still struggles
to integrate and accept its growing population of immigrants from Africa, Asia
and Eastern Europe.
MINGORA: Sumbal Rehman is a teenage local dancer but
the performing art is not her passion. She performs in functions to earn
livelihood for her family and buy medicines for her ailing father, brother and
Sumbal, 16, decided to step out of her house and start
her career as a dancer when both her father and brother, the bread earners of
the family, fell ill. She joined the dancing profession, which is looked down
upon in conservative Pakhtun society, to save her family from starvation.
She wears a fake smile to hide her sadness when she
performs in functions and wedding ceremonies. “I was the only one in the family
to do something for livelihood when my father and brother fell ill,” Sumbal
Being an illiterate girl, she could not find any job
in any government or non-governmental organisation. “So I decided to dance in
functions to look after my nine-member family and buy medicines for my father
and brother,” she said in a choked voice.
Sumbal is lone bread earner of her nine-member family
Ali Rehman, her father, was a cook and had a barber
shop in Eingaro Dherai, a suburban area of Mingora. However, he was attacked by
paralysis suddenly, leaving the family in a lurch.
But it was not the last tragedy for Sumbal’s family.
The mental illness of her brother Farooq, a rickshaw driver by profession,
proved the last straw on the camel’s back. The worries of the starving family
multiplied when Saima, Sumbal’s elder sister, was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Sumbal said that she earned enough money from her
first function to arrange medicines for her father and take him for a checkup.
“Dancing in our society is not a respectable profession but I had no other
option as I could not see my family dying in front of me. No girl prefers to
dance in front of strangers but poverty compels her to do so,” said Sumbal. She
added that she glamorised functions of other people with her dance but her own
world was withered with grief.
Sumbal said she would leave dancing if arrangements
were made for the treatment of her father, brother and sister. Her family lives
in a two-room rented house, which does not have any toilet and kitchen.
Ali Rehman said he had never thought that he would
become so poor that his daughter would go out to dance for livelihood.
“When I earned I ran the affairs of home and we all
were happy. But everything changed after I fell ill. After long discussions,
she convinced the entire family to allow her to dance for livelihood. It is
really a pathetic condition. God save every father from this bitter
experience,” he said with tears rolling down his cheeks.
Husan Pari, Sumbal’s mother, is also not happy with
the profession of her daughter. “Presently, our neighbours do not know about
Sumbal’s dance. I do not know what they will think and say when they come to
know,” she said.
Husan Pari said that she put a huge burden on her
heart to allow her daughter to go out and attend functions as a dancer. “What
can we do as the male bread earners of the family are ill,” she questioned.
Sumbal and her family appealed to the government and philanthropists to help
them in treatment of the three patients and save them from more miseries.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2015
Woman, 21, Commits Suicide In Makkah Protection Home
26 August 2015
MAKKAH — A 21-year-old female at a protection home for
girls here was found dead after allegedly committing suicide, according to
Makkah Police acting spokesman, Capt. Fahd Al-Malki,
said the police received a call from the protection home about the woman's hung
body. “Staff members there were not sure if she was dead or not. Police
officers arrived at the scene and reported that the woman had committed
suicide,” he said.
The woman had been admitted to the home only eight
months ago after running away from her family home.
“Staff members at the home said they tried contacting
her father but he refused to take her back,” he said.
Staff members, he said, also claimed that she was
abused verbally and physically by her father.
Hafsah Shuaib, director of the protection home, said
the woman’s mother had disappeared 13 years ago and she never found out what
happened to her.
“Her father and mother traveled together, but only her
father returned,” Shuaib said. “When her father was questioned by her, by
family members and the police on the whereabouts of the mother, he would not
answer. He faced a year in prison because of it.”
She added the victim was often put in solitary
confinement beside five other inmates.
“She would always talk to other inmates through her cell
and ask them what was waiting for them outside,” Shuaib said. “She was
devastated by the lives they would face after they leave as they were full of
humiliation and disgrace.”
She also said she never spoke about suicide, and never
gave any indication that she was contemplating death or suicide.
“It took us by surprise — she was chatting with her
inmates right before Asr prayer,” Shuaib said. “She then told them to go and
pray, then her voice disappeared. We called her, she wouldn’t answer. We opened
her room to find her body hanging at the window with a piece of cloth tied
around her neck.”
The protection home has no functioning surveillance
“We had several surveillance cameras but they stopped
working one by one,” Shuaib said. “We contacted the Ministry of Social Affairs
but no one has ever responded to us.”
The body was taken to a local morgue, and police are
currently investigating the case.
Not Every Country Has Doors Open For Muslim Women
August 25, 2015
It’s rough for Muslim women around the globe.
They’re oppressed in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria,
India and Saudi Arabia, among other places.
For many of them, waking up in the morning to attend
school is a dream. Driving a car is a dream. Many are beaten, raped and
dismissed so frequently it’s second nature.
What’s the response from most leaders in those
countries? “Islam does not allow it” or that “It’s God’s laws, not men.” The
truth, however, is that it’s not Islam. It’s not God’s law. It’s culture.
Most people believe Saudi Arabia not allowing women to
drive is because Islam prohibits it, but that’s completely bulls—. There’s not
a single mention in the Holy Quran that says so. Islam regards women as jewels
and ones to be protected. After all, women of all religions do the harder labor
— literally, they’re in labor delivering the world’s population. Respect.
Many people assume that Muslim women in the United
States of America are considered free. Again, that’s BS. They are not as
constrained in a small box as other countries, but they are still placed in a
box — one with a little more room.
Instead of not being allowed to drive, they’re not
allowed to wear a hijab — a veil that covers the head and chest, usually worn
by Muslim women when in public — for certain jobs.
This problem mostly rises in employment with
government jobs, like the police force.
Recently, The Columbus Dispatch reported a
Somali-American and Muslim woman, Ismahan Isse, dropped out of the Columbus
police academy after being informed hijabs are not allowed to be worn by
officers. The division refused to change the policy and was backed by Columbus
Mayor Michael Coleman.
“I strongly believe that our police force needs to be
reflective of every corner of our city,” said Coleman to The Dispatch during an
With all due respect to Mayor Coleman, the above quote
does not make sense at all. Isn’t hijab “reflective” of the city’s large Muslim
population? Aren’t Muslim women one corner of the city?
This situation saddens me because it’s another case of
a Muslim woman not seeing her dream come to fruition because society,
specifically America, hasn’t adapted to her.
Most have fled to the states from their home countries
to live a life of potential and have the opportunity to pursue happiness to its
full capacity. And that is a journey Isse was on when she earned her associate
degree in criminal justice and then entered the police academy.
There is good news for Isse: She has received offers
to join the Edmonton Police Service in Alberta, Canada. She told The Dispatch
that she is considering joining, but has not made up her mind yet. The police
service in Edmonton has designed uniforms to accommodate candidates, but they
do not have any female Muslim officers yet.
Other cities around the country like St. Paul,
Minnesota, have accommodated Kadra Mohamed, who is their first female Muslim
But I think one fear that’s holding America back is
the fear of radical Islam “taking over.”
It’s not only in the states where Muslim women face
these hurdles. After the January 2015 attacks on the satirical news magazine
Charlie Hebdo and a supermarket in France, many Muslim women have faced
backlash for wearing hijabs in public. A professor at the University of Paris
13 told France24, a news organization based in Paris, that he does not support
“religious symbols in public places,” referring to a student in his class
wearing a hijab.
I’m Muslim and I have two sisters. Both wear hijabs by
choice, not by force. I’m fearful that they will be restricted as to where they
can go and where they can work.
It’s wrong and idiotic for Muslim women to receive
backlash around the world when they are the most innocent. They have kind hearts, they work hard —
incredibly hard — for the people they love and everyone else.
I think it’s time that we all, regardless of where
we’re from or what religion we practice, lend a hand so that Muslim women can
live a life full of prosperity.
Convictions upheld for Minnesota women in Somali
Aug 25, 2015
A federal appeals court upheld the convictions and
sentences Tuesday for two Minnesota women found guilty of conspiring to funnel
money to a terror group in Somalia despite claiming they were collecting funds
for the poor.
Amina Farah Ali, 39, and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, 68, were
convicted in 2011 on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a
foreign terrorist organization, after prosecutors told jurors the women were
part of a "deadly pipeline" that routed money and fighters to
Ali was also found guilty of 12 counts of providing
such support and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Hassan was convicted of
two additional counts of lying to the FBI and received a 10-year sentence.
• Previously: Guilty verdict reached in Somali terror
Defense attorneys appealed on several grounds. They
argued that U.S. District Judge Michael Davis should have recused himself
because he made several statements suggesting he equated fundamentalist Islam
with terrorism and was prejudiced. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals disagreed.
"This assertion is baseless," the judges
wrote. For example, during sentencing, Davis asked the women questions about
the meaning of jihad and al-Shabab's strict interpretation of Islam.
"Plucked from context, some of these questions
may appear unconventional," the judges wrote. "However, rather than
showing bias or partiality, when viewed in context, these questions demonstrate
that the court sought to comprehend Ali's understanding of al Shabaab's goals
and actions, a legitimate topic for a sentencing court to explore" in a
case of this nature.
Messages left with attorneys for both women were not
The women, both U.S. citizens of Somali descent, were
among more than 20 people charged in Minnesota's long-running federal
investigations into recruiting and financing for al-Shabab, which the U.S.
considers a terrorist group. Investigators believe more than 22 men left
Minnesota to join al-Shabab since 2007.
• More: Called to Fight
Prosecutors said the women went door-to-door in the
name of charity and held religious teleconferences to solicit donations, which
they then routed to the fighters.
Defense attorneys painted the women as humanitarians
who gave money to orphans and the poor, as well as to a group fighting to rid
Somalia of foreign troops.
During the trial, Davis held Ali in contempt 20 times
when she refused to stand for the court, citing her religious beliefs. Defense
attorneys pointed to that as another reason for Davis to recuse himself. But
the appellate court said Davis gave Ali a chance to explain herself, and the
ensuing discussion shows the nature of the disagreement, not bias on Davis'
Defense attorneys also argued that evidence obtained
by wiretap violated the Constitution, the women's trials should have been
separated and that their sentences were unreasonable. The appeals court
Child Bomber Kills Six In Nigeria
August 26, 2015
KANO, Nigeria - A child bomber killed six people
Tuesday outside a bus station in the heartland of the Boko Haram insurgency in north-eastern
Witnesses reported seeing a "young girl"
approaching the station in the Yobe state capital Damaturu around 7:00 am (0600
GMT) and refusing to be searched by security guards at the gate before blowing
"A private taxi... drove out of the park. As soon
as the car came close, she detonated the explosives. Six people in the car were
killed. She was also killed," bystander Sani Dankamasho told AFP. Reports
said the bomber was aged around 12. The attack came just hours after United
Nations chief Ban Ki-moon wrapped up two-day a visit to Africa's largest
economy during which he hailed its "greater stability and peace"
under its new leader as he commemorated a deadly 2011 attack on the global body
by Boko Haram militants. Police and witnesses reported a second attack 10
minutes after the bus park bombing, in which a suicide bomber managed only to
kill himself and slightly wound a bystander on the outskirts of Damaturu.
"There were two suicide blasts in Damaturu today.
The first one happened outside the motor park and the second one occurred in
Pompomari on the outskirts of Damaturu. But only the bomber has died in the
second blast," said Toyin Gbadegesin, a spokesman for Yobe state police.
"In the first blast outside the motor park six
people were killed and 42 others injured by a female suicide bomber. The
injured are receiving treatment in hospital."
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the
bus park bombing but it bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which has in recent
weeks used young women to carry out bloody suicide attacks in the restive
"The dead have been evacuated to a mortuary while
the injured victims are currently being attended to by health and emergency
workers," Yobe local government spokesman Abdulahhi Bego said in a
Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in Yobe and two
other states in its northeastern bastion since President Muhammadu Buhari came
to power on May 29 amid a wave of optimism that he could tackle the worsening
The Islamists have also carried out deadly ambushes
across Nigeria's borders and in recent weeks suicide bombers, many of them
women, have staged several attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
The fresh wave of violence has claimed more than 1,000
lives over the last three months, dealing a setback to a four-country offensive
launched in February that had chalked up a number of victories against the
militants. An 8,700-strong Multi-National Joint Task Force, drawing in Nigeria,
Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, is expected to go into action soon.
Buhari has vowed to destroy Boko Haram, and replaced his
military leaders earlier in August, ordering his new chiefs-of-staff to end the
militant bloodshed within three months.
The military under his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan
was heavily criticised for poor handling of the insurgency and its failure to
free more than 200 schoolgirls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok in
April last year.
The "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign marks
500 days on Thursday since the girls were captured and is due to meet the
country's new chief of defence staff Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin later on
"I want to reiterate my support for the Chibok
girls, and so many other innocent abducted girls and boys, whose names and fate
remain unknown," Ban said before leaving for France late on Monday.
"It is intolerable that their lives and schooling
has been disrupted in this way. The whole world has been moved by their
By Prince Jamal
LILONGWE – Becoming Malawi's only female Muslim
parliamentarian, Aisha Mambo is keen on using her new role to advocate for a
larger representation of Muslim Women in the country’s Christian dominated
193-seat National Assembly, which is one of the lowest in the Sub-Saharan
“All along, I have always aspired to become a
parliamentarian. Therefore, to make it to the National Assembly was a dream
come a true for me," Mambo told OnIslam.net.
"I have always wanted to be among those people
who make Laws of the Country, that I should be able to advocate for laws which
are women-friendly and at the same time to help and empower fellow Muslim Women
through the laws which are made there,” she added.
Mambo, a journalist turned politician who used to work
for Radio Islam, won a parliamentary seat for Mangochi Mkungulu in June 2014,
among 20 other Muslims who made it to the National Assembly.
Winning a seat in the parliament was the first strike
in her mission to increase the participation of Muslim women in politics.
“I went to parliament with a mission to emancipate
fellow women from the palms of poverty and backwardness. It pains me to see
that after 51 years of independence, the number of Muslim women actively
participating in politics is very low," Mambo said.
"I came here to advocate for laws which could
help to reverse this trend where possible, so that Women could be fully
empowered to stand up and lead among men," she added.
The 40-year-old legislator observed that some of the
major obstacles holding back Muslim women from actively participating in
politics included lack of education and prevailing poverty levels.
"Due to cultural factors, most Muslim women have
not attained basic education. This has made it difficult for them to
participate in politics, and at the same time, a lot of women in the Muslim
Communities are not fully empowered economically to stand on their own and try
their luck in politics. Politics requires a lot of money, therefore most of
them cannot dare to engage themselves in it," she said.
Religious & Cultural Barriers
Representing Mangochi Mkungulu constituency, which
lies in the Muslim dominated region of the south, the hijabi parliamentarian
observed that some sectors in the Muslim community in the country have been
using religion and culture to bar women from taking part in politics and
assuming leadership roles.
“But this is wrong.
In religious activities, we can’t lead, but in politics, we can lead.
There is nothing to stop us from assuming leadership roles. We have to lead and
fight against societal challenges which are affecting our development in
various aspects,” she said.
“During my meetings with people, including traditional
leaders, I’m educating them to realize that there should be a line dividing
politics and religion. Some men are hiding behind religion to bar women from
leadership roles. I am therefore
reaching out to them with this message. .Time has come that we need to try our
luck in leadership and governance.
“The Muslim community has accepted me and embraced me
as a role model who can help change mindset and break the cultural barriers. I
have taken advantage of this responsibility to reach out various groups of
people to encourage women to come forward and lead.
”Of course, there is resistance in some circles, but
slowly we’ll be able to get there. I am sensitizing girls on the need to get
good education and aim high in life," she stressed.
However, she said, some women with good education were
not willing to join politics due to various levels of stereotyping women
politicians are subjected to.
“Women politicians in Malawi are associated with all
sorts of bad things and are called names like prostitutes. This has discouraged
some women with sound education from becoming politicians. This is a challenge
that we have to fight against if our societies are to attain any meaningful
development," Mambo said.
"Time has come that we should be given a chance
to lead in society. There is nothing haram about women becoming politicians.
Some men are busy scheming to make the political landscape hard for a Muslim
woman. We are being perceived as second class citizens."
The journalist turned politician noted that it was
"quite worrying" that the Muslim wasn’t doing enough to support the
participation of Muslim women in politics.
Outlining her time in the National Assembly, Mambo
said she had been accorded the much needed support.
"It's pleasing to note that I have been able to
settle down. I’m getting necessary support from both male and female
legislators. The onus is on me to prove to men that I have what it takes to
deliver," she said.
Islam, Women & Politics
Various sectors of the Malawi society concurred with
Mambo that the participation of Muslim women in politics had its own share of
Culturally, Alhaj Jafale Kawinga, president of Muslim
forum for democracy and development (MUSFORD), noted that some sections of the
Muslim community in the country don’t allow women to lead.
“It’s against this background that they don’t approve
the active participation of women in political leadership .Due to this
altitude, most of the women who are capable; don’t even dare to take part in
politics. It’s very difficult to influence people to change their cultural
beliefs overnight," Kawinga told OnIslam.net.
While describing her as a role model, Kawinga said
Mambo needs support for her to register success as a legislator.
“As the only Muslim woman legislator, in the country,
we need to accord her much support, so that she should leave a mark by
contributing meaningfully to development in various aspects. She should be
remembered as an achiever and not just a Muslim woman legislator," he
Senior chief Chimwala said he has all along been in
the forefront in sensitizing his subjects on the need to balance the
participation of both men and women in political leadership.
“We are having too many men in political leadership,
but their contribution to society is not desirable. We need to mobilize women
to fully take part in politics. They have the potential to lead, just like
their male counterparts. We shouldn’t bar them either on the basics of religion
or culture," Chimwala told OnIslam.net.
He said various efforts have to be put in place to
increase women participation in politics.
"We have to do whatever can to have as many women
in politics as we can. They have what it takes to steer development in our
societies. This is not religion .let us remove all the obstacles which are
preventing our women from emerging leaders," Chimwala added.
Renowned commentator, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika, said
Islam doesn’t bar women from assuming political leadership.
"The teachings of Islam don’t stop women from
taking part in politics. People should not hide behind religion to advance
their personal interests .We should all join hands to lift our women. Let them lead in areas, where they can .we
should not stop them," Chabulika told OnIslam.net.
Malawi is a secular, but diversely religious nation.
Islam is the second largest religion in the country, after Christianity.
Muslims account for 36 percent of the county’s 14 million population.
Mambo advised all women aspiring to become politicians
to rise up against all odds.
"They shouldn’t give up .They need to put up a
spirited fight to win this war .Every victory precedes a struggle. And as women, we need to stand side by side
in this struggle for political leadership," she said.
"We need to work side by side with our male
counterparts in our endeavour to develop our societies."