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Muslim women share sexual harassment incidents during Hajj with #MosqueMeToo

Did you ever think that holy pilgrimages like the Hajj could be unsafe for women too? A woman named Sabica Khan took to Facebook to share her #MeToo moment at Mecca, and helped many others shed light to their stories too.

Written by Anjali Jha | New Delhi | Updated: February 11, 2018 3:47 pm
metoo, #MeToo, #Metoo, sexual harassment cases, sexual harassment incidents Muslim women sharing sexual harassment incidents at religious places has left Netizens shocked. (Source: Sabica Khan/Facebook)

The holy land of Mecca is one of the most sacred pilgrimage cities of Islam situated in western Saudi Arabia. The birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, the Hajj brings many devotees under one roof to feel peaceful in the presence of divine vibes. Sadly, women have a different story to tell.

A woman named Sabica Khan took to Facebook to share her #MeToo moment at Hajj, and found out that she wasn’t alone. Many other women from her community joined in with appalling incidents that took place at religious spots. After the horrific rape-murder case of seven-year-old Pakistani girl Zainab, more woman have started opening up about their stories of sexual harassment — and the revelation about its prevalence in holy places like Mecca has left many Netizens shocked.

*I was afraid to share this because it might hurt your religious sentiments*.

While performing my tawaaf around the Kaaba after isha prayer, something really weird happened. It was my 3rd tawaf, and I felt a hand on my waist. I thought it was just an innocent mistake. I completely ignored. Then… I felt it again. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I kept moving. During my 6th tawaf I suddenly felt something aggressively poking my butt, I froze, unsure of whether it was intentional. I ignored and just kept moving slowly because the crowd was huge. I even tried to turn around but woefully couldn’t. When I reached the Yemeni corner, someone tried to grab and pinch my butt. I decided to stop there. Grabbed his hand and threw it off me *couldn’t move or turn around* I was literally petrified. Couldn’t even escape, so I stood, and turned around as much as I could, to see what’s happening, I turned around but… couldn’t see who it was.
I felt so violated. I felt unable to speak out. Stayed quiet because I knew no one would trust me, or nobody would take it seriously, except my mum. So I told her everything when I returned to the hotel room. She was incredibly confused and devastated. After this incident, she never allowed me to go there again alone.

It’s sad to say that you are not even safe at holy places. I’ve been harassed, not once, not twice, but thrice. My entire experience at the holy city is overshadowed by this horrible incident.

I believe it’s totally okay and important to be open about harassment.
Don’t know how many of you had a similar experience there but this incident has unfortunately left me feeling upset. 

As soon as the post went viral on social media, other women started sharing their experiences of sexual abuse during Hajj with the hashtag #MosqueMeToo.

Don’t the gruesome incidents faced by Muslim women during Hajj and other holy places highlight the loopholes of our society? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. T
    Feb 17, 2018 at 8:47 am
    This seems to be some kind of conspiracy ( yes another one...).I have lived in Saudi Arabia for 12 years and gone for umrah almost ever year .Me,my mom or sister have never experienced something even close to sexual harrassment in either of the holy cities.The laws there are v.strict and there are cameras everywhere.Police men are stationed everywhere.My sister still lives there and goes for umrah every year.She leaves her kids with her hubby in the hotel and goes alone to do tawaf. That's the extent of the security she feels there.If this is true by any chance and comes out in the open I'm pretty sure the Saudi government will take steps to segregate men and women during tawaf and saʿee,making it all the more safe.
    1. N
      Feb 11, 2018 at 12:44 pm
      There are people who have no faith and will visit public places to rob people. The holy mosque is also visited by such people. At one time there was a gang of pickpockets operating they were doubling as beggars. Now they have been purged largely. There have been incidences where such robbers have suddenly turned blind. Probably Allah will punish them forever on the day of judgement when the time for pardon is over.
      1. Z
        Feb 11, 2018 at 7:39 am
        It is probably done by those "bade baap ki bigdi aulaad" who only have money for hajj and dont have imaan for hajj. They will be punished on the day of judgement only...
        1. Z
          Feb 11, 2018 at 7:33 am
          The one who did this to this woman must be "bade baap ki bigdi aulaad" beacause for doing hajj we need a huge finance and now a days only rich people are able to afford it. But they forget that if u r going to hajj u also need to have faith in ur heart. Some of them dont go there for hajj for religious purpose so they do these things. They click selfies and come back... well the one who loves Allah will find him in his home also and one who is this much cruel will never find him even he goes to Allah's home i.e makkah It is happening because of those rich family men who take woman for granted even at holy places.
          1. harun hafeez
            Feb 11, 2018 at 5:33 am
            My doubts about women safety in Haj has been vindicated,i have always had my own doubts about how safe Women were in Haj.These young ladies have confirmed that they simply arnt safe.This is the fate across all faiths in religious processions,Temple festivals and Haj as well.Shame it is,but perverts cant stop doin what they do.
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