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Turkish Muslims Take Steps Toward Equality in Religious Practices

Muslim clergymen in Turkey this month liberalized religious practices to be more egalitarian between men and women. On May 18, Turkey’s Muslim clergymen reversed policies that barred men and women from praying alongside each other in mosques. Muslim women are now also allowed to attend mosque during their menstrual periods. The new policies are voluntary, and according to the Associated Press, ingrained attitudes about proper behavior for women may make change slow. Already, however, at least one woman has taken advantage of the new policies. Gonul Saray Alphan, a female lawmaker, carried out the traditional Friday prayers last week with a group of males. News reporters were on the scene to document the occasion, and though she was criticized by some, Alphan simply told reporters, “I just prayed like everyone else.”

Sources:

Associated Press, 5/24/02

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