Middle East

#MosqueMeToo: Muslim women reveal sexual misconduct at places of worship

Mona Eltahawy said she sexually harassed on the Haj pilgrimage. Source: Getty

Muslim women are using #MosqueMeToo to share experiences of sexual harassment in religious settings.

Building on the global #MeToo campaign, Muslim women have begun to use #MosqueMeToo to discuss sexual harassment in religious places and gatherings.

The movement was started by Egyptian-American feminist and author Mona Eltahawy who spoke out about being sexually harassed on the Haj pilgrimage.

"I started #MosqueMeToo and posted several threads about being sexually harassed at Haj in 1982 when I was 15. Many Muslim women have shared their experience (since)," Ms Eltahawy said on Twitter.

She has tweeted the response since has been overwhelming.

The Haj is a five-day pilgrimage to Mecca, and the fifth and final pillar of Islam. Millions of Muslims from around the world make the pilgrimage each year.

Almost half of the participants on the Haj are women.

Ms Eltahawy told Deutsche Welle "it took me years to tell anyone about what happened to me".

"I was sexually assaulted twice. One of the men who assaulted me was a Saudi policeman ... It broke me in a way that it took years for me to acknowledge," she said.

"My message to Muslim men is listen, don't judge and ask us how you can help ... Start conversations with other Muslim men."

The hashtag has gone on to become one of the top ten trends of Farsi Twitter, according to the BBC.

One Twitter user revealed: "I was sexually harassed in Umrah during Tawaf.

"I thought it was accidental but he kept groping me.

"I mean if men can't discipline themselves even in the HOLIEST place on earth then I’ve truly lost hope in men to ever stop harassing us. We just want to be safe."

Another victim wrote: "A young guy touched my body just next to Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

"I was 15 years old and he was in his 20s. I thaught (sic) Madina is a safe city, but I was wrong. I'll never forget and forgive."

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