Performing 'haj' along with men

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 August, 1996, 12:00am

I refer to the letter from Cristina Castaneda, headlined, 'Under the Muslim yoke', which appeared in the South China Morning Post, on August 8.

The writer has formed the opinion that Muslim women cannot worship Almighty God beside their men, because their sex is considered inferior.

The facts do not bear out the correspondent's claim.

She displays ignorance regarding the fundamental principles of Islam. I just quote here two examples for Ms Castaneda's benefit.

Any reader is free to visit any mosque on Hong Kong Island or in Kowloon, during Friday noon prayer (jumma salat). They will see Muslim women offering their salat (prayer) without there being any discrimination against them.

About 15 million Muslims from all over the world perform haj (pilgrimage) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia every year.

Muslim women from all over the world perform haj in equal number side by side with males. They are not discriminated against.

These two examples I have given surely refute Ms Castaneda's claims.

Ms Castaneda referred to an Islamic welfare union parade. The union celebration of the birth day of the Holy Prophet (Pbuh) is not prayer. Participation in prayer is compulsory for all Muslims.

Ms Castaneda also referred to the rape of a Filipino girl by her Muslim employer in the Middle East.

Under-age and innocent girls are sometimes raped by their fathers in Hong Kong. Surely Ms Castaneda is not suggesting that the crimes of these men, should lead us to condemn the whole community of Hong Kong? Just because one Muslim man committed a rape, does not mean all Muslim fathers should be condemned.