Alvi seeks explanation about restrictions on women praying at Faisal Mosque’s main hall

Published December 7, 2022
President Arif Alvi speaks during an interview on DawnNews. — Screengrab
President Arif Alvi speaks during an interview on DawnNews. — Screengrab

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has sought explanations from authorities concerned about restrictions on women from offering prayers and visiting the main hall of Faisal Mosque.

The president said that he believed that women should be allowed to pray in an enclosure in the main hall and visit the main hall to appreciate the architectural beauty of this magnificent mosque.

“This is my opinion which is based upon observation throughout the world, including the Harmain Sharifain,” he said according to a statement issued by Presidency on Tuesday.

President Alvi said women in modest Islamic dress with covered hair were allowed in mosques all over the world to offer their prayers. But, he said, restrictions had been imposed on women for offering prayers and visiting the main hall of Faisal Mosque, Islamabad, which had a religious and touristic value.

He said that there was no enclosure for women in the main hall, and elderly and unwell women were constrained to climb stairs to approach the enclosure on the first floor due to the absence of an elevator. He expressed concern as to how women would be able to offer their prayers while faced with these restrictions.

Dr Alvi gave these remarks while taking note of a special report published in Dawn on September 14 wherein restrictions on women to offer their prayers, poor cleanliness conditions and maintenance, and beggary at the historic mosque were highlighted.

The CDA in his report submitted to the President Secretariat stated that it had initiated actions to ensure cleanliness and to carry out the maintenance and rid the area of beggars whereas after the construction of the mosque as a policy of Dawah Academy, International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), only one gallery was reserved for women and there was no permission for women to enter the main hall. The president has desired that the administrator of Faisal Mosque may discuss and brief on these issues, the statement said.

A source in the presidency said two departments of the CDA and Dawah Academy of the IIUI were involved in the affairs of Faisal Mosque. The president had sought an explanation over the restriction on women for using the main hall. The source said after getting reports, the president could ask the concerned authorities to remove the restriction.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2022

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