Islam does not espouse discrimination against any gender, in Turkey, women has long been excluded women from having a say in religious matters and discouraged from praying at mosques. Professor Huriye Martı, appointed as the first female deputy of the state-run Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB or Diyanet) in a landmark move earlier this year, aims to change this.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Martı said they will make mosques friendlier for women and improve women's role in religious issues. "The prophet urged the faithful not to prevent women from praying at mosques because mosques are where women can learn the religion from genuine resources," she said. Martı explained that mosques have been "an education venue" for women since the Muhammad's time and are especially key for mothers to help their children grow up accustomed to praying.
Women are not allowed to pray side by side with men in Islam and mosques have traditionally devoted their upper floors to female worshipers. However, faithful women have complained that these sections are far less cared for than the areas for men. Martı said they will impose new standards on mosques built in the future for more spaces for women. "Mosques will have sufficient space for women, and these sections will be maintained better. We will also revise the existing mosques in terms of more inclusivity for women," she said.
The DİB will also pursue a better approach to women's problems, Martı said, adding that they will hold a meeting on "Islam and Woman" to consult with female theology academics. "We have more and more women in theology faculties and this is a great gain for us."