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September 24, 2006

Muslimah Writers Alliance Director Welcomes News of Saudi Reversal on Decision to Eliminate Women's Prayer Area

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Muslimah Writers Alliance Director Welcomes News of Saudi Reversal on Decision to Eliminate Women's Prayer Area

WASHINGTON, D.C. - September 12, 2006 (MWANET) On Monday, September 11, 2006, just eleven days after the Muslimah Writers Alliance Grand Mosque Equal Access for Women Project and online petition were launched, news sources reported deputy head of Grand Mosque affairs, Mohammed bin Nasser al-Khozayem, as saying, 'The presidency (committee) [has] decided to adopt a second proposal, which is to expand two special places for women's prayer, in addition to the one that already exists.'

Despite reports from Jeddah suggesting that this was all a 'misunderstanding', let us be reminded that the controversy began with the reported words of a member of King Abdullah's committee of scholars, namely, Osama al-Bar, head of the Institute for Haj Research.

Al-Bar was quoted as saying, "The area is very small and so crowded. So we decided to get women out of the sahn [Kaaba area] to a better place where they can see the Kaaba and have more space. Some women thought it wasn't good, but from our point of view it will be better for them ... We can sit with them and explain to them what the decision is."

That report concluded with the statement, "The decision is not final, and could be reversed."

"In my capacity as Founder and Director of Muslimah Writers Alliance, I made the decision to rise to the challenge presented and lent MWA's voice to those of our sisters in Saudi Arabia."

Continuing Ms. Schwartz stated: "To that end, let us give all thanks and praise to God Almighty for facilitating our efforts. In embracing the news of the Saudi's reversal of the prior decision to remove the sister's prayer area from within the mataaf (circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba), may we be eternally mindful of the power a good intention.

"And let the naysayers take heed in their complacency. Whatever efforts we make, however great or small, are never a waste of time.

"Had we not collectively made an effort to save the women's prayer area, how many more tears would have been shed as the Saudi government slowly implemented its prior decision?

"Let us be mindful that it is written in the Holy Qur'ran (translation of the meaning) that God will not change our condition(s) until we change what is within ourselves.

"To those supporting the Grand Mosque Equal Access for Women online petition, may God Almighty reward your efforts in this life and the next, God willing.

"And to King Abdullah; you must know that Muslim women worldwide will never forget that you allowed their voices to be heard; and that you listened. I also personally thank you. I understand your first year as King has brought about many praiseworthy accomplishments. Having spent a year in your Kingdom during 2004-05, I had the opportunity to visit Makkah, Madinah, Taif, Jeddah, and Riyadh. I left behind many wonderful new friends and a treasure chest of memories, many of which I have documented through my writings. It is my prayer to return to the Kingdom one day.

"King Abdullah, you have the power to bring Saudi Arabia forward in new and positive directions, and it is my added prayer that you continue to follow God's guidance," Ms. Schwartz concluded.


Women Welcome Rejection of Haram Prayer Proposal

Razan Baker, Arab News - JEDDAH, 12 September 2006

Women’s Petition Opposes Grand Mosque Plans

Razan Baker, Arab News - JEDDAH, 11 September 2006

Saudi Clerics Backtrack on Mecca Women Prayer Ban

RIYADH (Reuters) - Sept. 11, 2006

Saudi Officials Consider Banning Women From Praying at Shrine of Mecca, Raising Protests

By DONNA ABU-NASR Associated Press Writer - JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Sept. 7, 2006)

(ABC News International)

Women in the Grand Mosque

ARAB NEWS (Sept. 5, 2006)

Chorus Gets Louder

SAUDI GAZETTE (Sept. 2, 2006)

Muslimah Writers Alliance Joins Coalition of Activists Seeking Preservation of Women's Prayer Area at Mecca's Grand Mosque

MWANET (Aug. 31, 2006)

Women to Fight Mecca Restriction

Daily News, South Africa (Aug. 30, 2006)

The Rights of Women in the Grand Mosque


Women Face Curbs at Makka

ARAB NEWS (Aug. 28, 2006)


Established in 2006, MWA is an internationally-based organization with a
Mission to inspire Muslim women to collaborate with one another for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the common good of the Muslim Ummah, in addition to supporting one another in fulfilling their aspirations to become established writers. Applying Islamic principles, boundless enthusiasm, experience and resourcefulness to every project embraced, MWA members are dedicated to one another's success.


Muslimah Writers Alliance

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The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "One who helps a fellow Muslim in removing his (or her) difficulty in this world, Allah will remove the formers distress on the Day of Judgment. He who helps to remove the hardship of another, will have his difficulties removed by Allah in this world and in the Hereafter. One who covers the shortcomings of another Muslim, will have his faults covered up in this world and the next by Allah. Allah continues to help a servant so long as he goes on helping his own brother (or sister)." (Muslim)

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