10/18/2014, 00.00
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Nepal, Muslim women defy tradition and pray in public

by Christopher Sharma
Sexual discrimination within the Islamic community is a big problem in the country. Human rights activists denounce: "This leads to a lack of education and poverty." The first signs of rebellion on the occasion of Friday prayers: dozens of women leave home and go to the mosque.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Nepal's Muslim women have begun to challenge the social taboo and, in a first gesture of independence, have joined the rest of the Islamic faithful to prayer Namaj (Friday prayers, one of the five pillars Islam) in public. Nisha Jaitun says: "Muslim women are able to do what men do. And for the first time have decided to leave their villages, challenging the tradition that women should be locked in the house for prayer and we joined the others. We are ready to protest against male domination of Islam. "

Although in the Muslim world there is no dogmatic discrimination between the sexes, in Nepal - where Islam is applied with strict social rules - Muslim women were forbidden  from going to a mosque. Ayesha Khatun, from Taulihawa, adds: "We also learned from the Nobel Peace Laureate Malala. A young girl who fights for education is a great example. If she had been forced to submitto Islamic taboos, and had remained between the four walls of her homes, she would never have reached this great achievement".

At Namaj, dozens of women prayed with the men near the Badi mosque. Mohana Ansari, a leader of Muslim women and human rights activist, believes that these discriminatory practices lead to the subjection of women in Nepal: "In Islam, the role of women is very submissive, and this also creates social discrimination. Many women have no education and cannot find work. This is why whoever breaks the mold makes a good first step towards progress and development in this part of the country "


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