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.
I was looking for souvenirs for my family. I was accompanied by several other women. And then this man just started to flirt and grabbed my hands tightly. eying me from head to toe and caressing my hand. It happened only a few feet from Nabawi #metoo
— CFX A41A-B, SAT | VIXX FA @ 📌 (@djenanggulo) February 6, 2018
When I visited the Jama Masjid in Delhi, the man lending “modest” robes to women touched my breasts. It took me several hours to shake my denial that it had happened. I also don’t talk about it so people won’t use my experience to justify Islamophobia. #metoo
— Dr. NOPE (@reallyHibbs) February 6, 2018
I am glad to see women are speaking out about being sexually harassed during Hajj. Several years ago, i shared my own experience with sexual assault during the pilgrimage (see following tweets) https://t.co/7A5CeJngEy h/t @jwildeboer #MeToo
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) February 5, 2018
I was 12 when a local priest groped me while trying to make my parents understand that there were faults in my stars. He touched my breasts in their presence. And they told me that since the priest was 60 yrs old, it wasn’t a bad touch. Well..
— Kalyani Kamat 🌈 (@Thebakonmaverik) February 6, 2018
Each time my mom and her sisters went to Hajj, they were groped—disgusting ppl w/no morals/“deen”; toxic patriarchy; keep doing what you’re doing, Mona. #MosqueMeToo
— Hassan Saleh (@hass_saleh) February 8, 2018
Had to stop going for Taraweeh and Qiyam one Ramadan because of some gentlemen. Stayed mum because I thought no one’d believe me, or I’d be accused of having an overactive imagination. #MosqueMeToo is our skeleton in the closet.
— Kali (@maimoonarahman) February 6, 2018
Another time, the seller in front of Masjidil Haram called my Mom “Hey beautiful, lets go inside my shop” and tried to touch her hands and drag her. My Mom shouted at him. It’s so disgusting. #MosqueMeToo
— Anggi Lagorio (@AnggiAngguni) February 6, 2018
If you’re not paying attention, @monaeltahawy has catapulted a #MosqueMeToo movement for all Muslim sisters who’ve endured sexual assault in holy contexts. The backlash from misogynists is unsurprising, but her responses of unrelenting spine & righteous-rage are a site to behold!
— Ariän El-Taher (@ArianElTaher) February 8, 2018
I’ve been doing tawaaf last year in Umrah, it wasn’t even crowded and many was pushing their body against mine and touching me with their hands I actually got terrified and thought omg that couldn’t be happening even in this holy spot! #metoo
— Yasmine Fathelbab (@Yazzzmine) February 6, 2018
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.