But the local politicians were there. America is devolving as the third world population in the U.S. surges. The real war on women, Islam, is not only tolerated without nary a word from feminists but sharia supremacy over women is lauded. Source: Men-only event at US mosque sparks backlash – BBC News
A small Muslim community in upstate New York has been thrust into a debate on the place of women after one of their members made a call for change on social media.
For the Hudson Islamic Center, 29 April was a momentous day.
After more than 20 years praying in another building’s basement, they were ready to begin work on a space of their own.
While they had acquired land in 2007, the community had spent years collecting funds for construction. Now with contributions from the working-class families that made up their community and a commitment from a New York City Muslim builder to take payment in phases, the time had come to build a mosque.
On the bright Sunday morning, the community gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony. Local dignitaries were invited, speeches were made and the $1.5m project – a three-floor structure with two minarets and a dome – was unveiled.
Missing from the picture, however, were the women from the community, many of whom had been actively involved in fundraising.
A local Muslim woman, Jabin Ahmed Ruhii, took to Facebook to express her frustration.
“Although the invitation letter said, ‘dear brothers and sisters’ – the men were explicitly told that women are not a part of this gathering,” she wrote.
Ruhii, 24, called the exclusion “discrimination against women and young girls”.
“Islam is for everyone, not just those with a particular reproductive organ,” Ruhii wrote. “The women in this community have always served the Islamic Center with whatever resources they have, without ever having been welcomed by our fellow Muslim brothers.
She said women would “continue to support” the centre “regardless of whether they are welcomed or not”.
“But I for one will not remain silent.”
The reaction was swift.
Ruhii says she was accused of denigrating the community and even hurting the chances of the mosque being built. Male members in her family were taunted, her mother was “cold-shouldered” by her co-workers, she says.
But she also says there was strong support from women who lauded her for raising her voice.
The president of the Islamic Center, Abdul Hannan, says the lack of women at the ground breaking was a “miscommunication”.
“No discrimination is allowed in our mosque or religious ceremonies.”
Hannan says there wasn’t enough space for women and because of security concerns not all community members were invited.
However, a few city officials who were invited and spoke at the event were women.
“If it was good enough for non-Muslim women, I’m sure it would have been fine for Muslim women,” says Ruhii.
Most of the committee members are first-generation Bangladeshis who migrated to the US, she says, and they run the centre as they would back home.
“They don’t see the importance of involving women and youth in the committee,”
The Hudson Islamic Center’s constitution bars women from running for committee elections. As a result, there’s no representation of women on the management board.
A week after the Facebook post, she and a few others were invited by the centre’s management committee to discuss the issue.
“We told them the women in your community do not feel accepted,” Ruhii says. “You haven’t opened the doors for us.”
But Hannan believes things are fine following that meeting.
“She realised that she needed to talk to us instead of posting her thoughts on Facebook,” he says.
“I can’t say what she did was right or wrong, but we explained to her and she understood.”
The committee has promised an event in the near future where everyone will be invited. The centre will also “try to do our best to amend the constitution to allow women to contest committee elections” Hannan says.
Several non-Islamic female community members were invited and attended, including 2nd Ward Alderwoman Tiffany Garriga and 4th Ward Supervisor Linda Mussmann.
Mussmann was not aware Muslim women had been excluded from the event until after it was underway, she said.
“I was under the assumption that this was a public event,” Mussmann said. “I was taken aback to find women of the community, particularly women of the Islamic Center community, were excluded from the event.
“As a humanist and a feminist, I certainly don’t condone discriminating against women,” she added. “Women should be included. Women should have been invited.”
Garriga reached out to the Islamic Center’s leadership Sunday to arrange a meeting with Ahmed, Garriga said.
Garriga was unsure if she would have attended the ceremony if she knew Islamic women were excluded, she said.
“I am not 100 percent educated with the Muslim faith and how they conduct their practices,” Garriga said. “But, being that these concerns are being brought to their [the Islamic Center’s Executive Committee] attention, maybe this is an opportunity for the men to include the women during these important events because they are a part of it, but, I respect their religion and whatever they decide.
[Coward. Bowing to sharia.]
“Hopefully, their decision is to accommodate all people in their religion — men and women.”
This is not the first time women have been excluded from events at the center, said Ahmed, who is also co-founder and president of the nonprofit Hudson Muslim Youth.
The center is supposed to be a space for everyone regardless of faith, age, gender or nationality, Ahmed said, but it has become a place predominately for Bangladeshi-American men ages 40 and older.
Half of the center’s members are women and they regularly contribute financially to the center, Ahmed said, but they remain to be excluded from serving on the center’s executive committee and have not been allowed to host events at the center.
Ahmed is concerned exclusion will continue when the new center is complete.