MUSLIM WOMEN MEET IN
MORGANTOWN, WV TO CREATE HISTORIC NEW WOMEN'S RIGHTS GROUP
Will march on the mosque on Friday,
June 4, 2004, 12:30 p.m. as
act of solidarity.
Five Muslim women from around the
country will be converging here for a historic meeting in which they
will march on the mosque and create a national organization dedicated to
reclaiming Muslim women's rights from the mosque to the bedroom.
The West Virginia University Center for Women's Studies is sponsoring
conference of Daughters of Hajar, a national organization dedicated to
empowering Muslim women and girls. Hajar, known as Hagar in the Bible,
was the historical mother of Islam and a symbol of a woman's strength.
The participants will be: Saleemah Abdulghafur, author of a forthcoming
book; Samina Ali, novelist; Sarah Eltantawi, a writer and activist;
Mohja Kahf, associate professor of literature at the University of
Arkansas and poet, and Asra Q. Nomani, journalist and author.
Amina Wadud, renowned professor of Islamic Studies at Virginia
Commonwealth University and author of Qur'an and Woman: Rereading
the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective, said, "This
conference of Muslim women will have a historic impact and help us
rescript the current history and face of Islam."
Morgantown became a powerful symbol of Muslim women's rights when
Ms. Nomani and other women began walking through the front door of the
local mosque and praying in the main hall six months ago, reclaiming
rights Islam gave women in the 7th century. Mosque leaders had told
women to enter through a back door and pray in a balcony. The board has
since reversed its position.
In solidarity, on Friday, June 4, the
women will peacefully walk to the
mosque, enter through the front door and pray in the main hall. The
women will lead their own prayer afterwards. They will host a public
literary reading and discussion that will be the first in a series of
discussions planned in Morgantown: "The Daughters of Hajar: A New
Generation of American Muslim Women Speak."
Morgantown Mayor Ron Justice, WVU assistant dean of student affairs,
said, "Morgantown is honored to host this historical meeting of
Muslim women. The women are courageous pioneers and leaders. We are at a crossroads in creating communities of tolerance and inclusion.
Morgantown is proud to serve as a shining example of what can be
accomplished through the active and vocal participation of women."
The women will create two national
multimedia campaigns: "Take Back Your Mosque" to help women
claim their rights at mosques and to help
women create new mosques of inclusion; and a campaign to address rights
Islam grants women regarding their sexuality, including a "Wedding
Night Campaign" to better educate women with issues of intimacy.
The conference is also sponsored by the
Shelley A. Marshall Foundation, the Morgantown Public Library,
Morgantown Muslims and Friends and individual sponsors. Sajida Nomani,
president of Morgantown Muslims and Friends said, "The Daughters of
Hajar is bravely tackling traditions and taboos that deny women rights
that Islam gives them. Their work will make the world a better place."
Contacts: Asra Nomani, (304)
Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur, (404) 352.9975,
Samina Ali, (415)753.2779,
Sara Eltantawi, (202) 491-3793,firstname.lastname@example.org,
Mayor Ron Justice,(304) 216.6849,
Morgantown Muslims & Friends, Sajida Nomani, president, (304)