correction: the original title implied that women were coming from outside of the country due to the end of the male guardianship rule. that does seem to be the case. they are free to travel within the country and perhaps only for Haj.

It’s funny how something perhaps trivial to others can lead to some pretty amazing things. Take India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for example.

Modi has ended the practice of Triple Talaq (instant divorce) but more importantly… he’s put an end to the “male guardian rule” — allowing Muslim women to travel freely without the need of a male companion.

“Almost 1300 Muslim women, from Kerala to North India, have applied to travel on Haj without a male guardian after we have scrapped that rule. I was shocked when I first heard of this rule. Muslim women were being discriminated against for years but there was no discussion over this. Our Ministry of Minority Affairs issued corrective measures and we ameliorated this restriction by phasing out a tradition that had been in practice for the past seventy years.”

“I have suggested to the Ministry that they should ensure that all women who have applied to travel alone be allowed to perform Haj. Usually, there is a lottery system for selection of Haj pilgrims but I would like that single women pilgrims should be excluded from this lottery system and they should be given a chance as a special category,” the PM said in his Mann Ki Baat address.

“I not only reiterate this wholeheartedly but it is my firm belief that the journey of India’s progress has been possible due to women-power and on the basis of their talent and we will continue to march onwards on this path of progress. It should be our constant endeavor that our women also get equal rights and equal opportunities just like men get so that they can proceed simultaneously on the path of progress,” the Prime Minister added.

During a video conference for the 85th Sivagiri Pilgrimage Celebrations at Sivagiri Matt in Kerala, Modi recognized the pain and difficulties the triple talaq and male guardian requirement has on the women of Islam.  “After a long fight, Muslim women have now found a way to liberate from the practice of Triple Talaq,” the PM said.

(H/T India Times)

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