The women in the village of Parambu in the southern state of Tamil Nadu have formed a group called Chaaya (Shadow) and acquired land to build the mosque, reported the Hindustan Times daily on Thursday.
“This decision was taken after we found male-dominated jamaats (dispute settlement forums) handing down discriminatory verdicts in family disputes, especially in divorce matters,” said Sharifa, the convenor of Chaaya, who uses just one name.
“When a man seeks divorce, only his case is heard by the jamaat. The wife is never called for a hearing, saying that women are not permitted inside mosques, where the jamaat usually sits,” she said.
A woman well-versed in the Quran and Islamic tenets is to take charge at the new mosque.
“A survey conducted by us showed that in one out of every five Muslim households, there is at least one case of desertion by the husband or second marriage by the man, citing some mental or physical disability of the first wife,” said Rashida, another villager.
“And when these matters were taken to the police station, they asked us to settle (them) with the jamaat, which are controlled by men,” she said.
Opinion is divided on whether the women are right to build their own mosque, reported the newspaper.
Muhammad Sikander, secretary of a jamaat in Tamil Nadu state’s capital Madras, said: “Jamaats have been asked to settle disputes outside mosques so that they can hear the women’s side.”
All India Muslim Personnel Law Board vice-chairman Maulana Kalbe Sadiq said the women had every right to construct a mosque.