Muslim Women Celebrate International Women's Day

March 10, 2003

Source: Newsday,0,2788189.story

On March 10, 2003 Newsday reported that "they hail from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt and other nations. They share the same religion: Islam... They gathered yesterday at the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury to celebrate International Women's Day and to talk in part about what it is like to be a Muslim woman in the United States after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and as the country appears poised to unleash war against Iraq... For many, Long Island has been a generally accepting place to live even after the terrorist attacks, but some fear a backlash against Muslims if the United States goes to war against Iraq... The Long Island Muslims said part of their goal was to dispel some of the stereotypes people hold about women who adhere to the Islamic faith... They said it is true that women in Saudi Arabia cannot vote or drive or leave home unless they are accompanied by a man. They also said women under Afghanistan's Taliban regime were badly repressed - unable to study or even show their faces, which were covered by burkas... But the women yesterday said all that had nothing to do with Islam, and were simply traits of some national cultures. They said that in many other heavily Muslim nations, women share equality with men and excel in professions across the board. Homaira Mamoor, a native of Afghanistan who lives in West Islip, noted that in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia women have served as heads of state - something the United States has yet to achieve."