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For the first time in its 1,000-year history, one of India’s oldest mosques opened its doors to women. So thousands of Muslim women flocked to the religious site in Kerala on Sunday, reports the Times of India, making their way into the Thazhathangady Juma Masjid to view its historic architecture and ancient wooden carvings: A local tourism site likens it to a “king’s palace” due to elements like an inner courtyard, an “exquisitely carved” gabled roof, and “lovely” latticed windows.
The women were not, however, permitted to pray or worship and were not allowed to enter the mosque while men were inside, reports Time. A second day of visitation has been set for May 8. “Muslim women in the right attire can enter the mosque only on the two days as decided by the committee,” chief Imam Moulauddeen Sirajjuddeen Hasni says.
The committee is entertaining the idea of permitting women to pray, India Today reports, but they would not disrupt the prayer schedule for men and so at least for now women can only visit, and there are stipulations there, too.
“Outsiders cannot enter. Only Muslim women can and about women praying inside, we will discuss in future,” the mosque committee president says. Says one woman: “I had always wanted to enter and offer worship. But I was afraid of even expressing that desire. I am happy that such an opportunity has come now.” (On the subject of Indian treasures, the country wants its “unlucky” diamond back.)
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore