Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Afghan Women Banned from Shrine

Here is a good article on a recent ban on women visiting a shrine in western Afghanistan. Shrines in Islam have been more historically open to women since in many times and places mosques were men's only sacred spaces. Shrines have thus served for ages as places for women to worship, congregate, and seek spiritual and physical health for themselves and their families. Shrines have also been one of the most controversial issues in the modern era (18th century-present) because reformist Muslim groups (similar to Protestants) have opposed belief in saints and the spiritual powers associated with their tombs. However, saint shrines were often the primary source for conversion in places beyond the Arab world, such as West Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Southeastern Europe.