“ . . . As soon as we began heading upstairs where we had normally prayed in the past, a man called after us, redirecting us back to pray in a dark corner on the first floor instead. We followed his gestures towards the area and quickly realized it had no air conditioning. We finished our first prayer and found ourselves wiping away beads of sweat from the extreme humidity and heat.
“Let’s go to the third floor,” Shazia suggested. “It’s empty and has air conditioning.” The other two ladies sitting with us overheard and told us that women were actually told to pray in the basement next to the bathroom. However, because of the recent unbearable heat, they were given the current space on the first floor, which was just barely more tolerable. Shazia was determined though, and to her credit, it was really hard to focus with drops of perspiration rolling down our backs.
We attempted to make our way back up and this time, another gentleman in a white thobe shot up, wagging his finger. “No! Women are not allowed up there,” he said in an all too condescending tone that made everyone around look our way.
Shazia tried to explain to him that it was too hot where we were…and then came the cherry on top: “Sisters, your place is here,” he said pointing to the first floor oven, “or the basement–not anywhere else.” And just like that, he killed my Ramadan spirit.
Read the rest: Women in New York Mosque Forced to Pray Away from Men.