LONDON — Centuries after Islam granted them that right, Muslim women in the United Kingdom are still struggling for a foothold in mosques.
"The mosque is the hub of a Muslim community, where knowledge is learnt and imparted and where people meet each other," Ayesha Qureshi, who has been honored for her role in London Olympics 2012 bid, told IslamOnline.net.
"Women all over the country are being deprived of vital social liaison and the gaining of skills because of these directives.
Many will not venture out for social gatherings unless it is within a mosque setting," said Ayesha, who works for an international law firm.
"Not accommodating female worshipers could reap disastrous dividends."
Madeeha Ahmed, a researcher from Cambridgeshire county, is equally frustrated at the lack of female facilities in mosques.
"I am indignant with anger at those who use the argument that women who attend the mosque are a source of fitna (source of temptation)," she said.
"How could this argument stand up if allowing women to attend educational institutes, work in offices and establishments, using transport, shopping and voting, which involves mixing with the opposite sex not be seen to be sources of fitna?"
Ahmed said it was ironic that US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, whom she accused of having Muslim blood on her hands, was allowed into a mosque while Muslim women are not.
"It’s a bizarre world when worshiping in the House of Allah is considered a dangerous threat."
The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) estimates there are 200 mosques in the UK none of which is chaired by a woman.
Almost all mosques do not have a woman on their committees.