Islam and gender segregation
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Gender segregation in Islamic law, custom and traditions refers to the practices and requirements in Islamic countries and communities for the separation of men and boys from women and girls in social and other settings.
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- There can thus be no manner of doubt that the Muslim Society in India is afflicted by the same social evils as afflict the Hindu Society. Indeed, the Muslims have all the social evils of the Hindus and something more. That something more is the compulsory system of purdah for Muslim women. As a consequence of the purdah system, a segregation of the Muslim women is brought about. The ladies are not expected to visit the outer rooms, verandahs, or gardens; their quarters are in the back-yard. All of them, young and old, are confined in the same room. ...She cannot go even to the mosque to pray, and must wear burka (veil) whenever she has to go out. These burka women walking in the streets is one of the most hideous sights one can witness in India. Such seclusion cannot but have its deteriorating effects upon the physical constitution of Muslim women. They are usually victims to anaemia, tuberculosis, and pyorrhoea. Their bodies are deformed, with their backs bent, bones protruded, hands and feet crooked. Ribs, joints and nearly all their bones ache. Heart palpitation is very often present in them. The result of this pelvic deformity is untimely death at the time of delivery. Purdah deprives Muslim women of mental and moral nourishment. Being deprived of healthy social life, the process of moral degeneration must and does set in. Being completely secluded from the outer world, they engage their minds in petty family quarrels, with the result that they become narrow and restricted in their outlook. They lag behind their sisters from other communities, cannot take part in any outdoor activity and are weighed down by a slavish mentality and an inferiority complex. They have no desire for knowledge, because they are taught not to be interested in anything outside the four walls of the house. Purdah women in particular become helpless, timid, and unfit for any fight in life. ... Not that purdah and the evils consequent thereon are not to be found among certain sections of the Hindus in certain parts of the country. But the point of distinction is that among the Muslims, purdah has a religious sanctity which it has not with the Hindus. Purdah has deeper roots among the Muslims than it has among the Hindus, and can only be removed by facing the inevitable conflict between religious injunctions and social needs. The problem of purdah is a real problem with the Muslims—apart from its origin—which it is not with the Hindus. Of any attempt by the Muslims to do away with it, there is no evidence.
- B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
- The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Do not prevent the maid-servants of Allah from going to the mosque.
- The veil is a symbol of sexual apartheid and the segregation of the sexes. In countries where Islam rules, like in Iran, the separate entrances for women in certain government offices; separate areas for women’s seating on buses for example; the banning of women from certain public arenas like sport stadiums; a curtain dividing the Caspian sea for segregated swimming and so on is what it means in practice to be a female under Islam. That people transgress these rules daily is a testimony to their humanity and not the laws or state that imposes it by force.
- More than Iran's enemies need artillery, guns and so forth, they need to spread cultural values that lead to moral corruption. ...a senior official in an important American political center, said: "Instead of bombs, send them miniskirts." He is right. If they arouse sexual desires in any given country, if they spread unrestrained mixing of men and women, and if they lead youth to behavior to which they are naturally inclined by instincts, there will no longer be any need for artillery and guns against that nation.