President Obama’s appearance Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) drew a small band of protesters, and their issue might come as a surprise.
A group of Muslim women and their supporters stood “as close [to the mosque] as the Secret Service allows to protest the separate and unequal standards inside and advocate for equal rights.”
One of the protesters, writer Ify Okoye, used to pray at the ISB but left after unsuccessfully challenging its treatment of women. She took pictures in 2010, showing women relegated to partitioned, drab prayer spaces compared to the wide open space reserved for men.
In a column published Wednesday morning, Okoye and journalist Asra Nomani explained that at the ISB, “women and girls are usually segregated, unable to see the imam unless they peek over the balcony’s edge.” Women’s prayer space is comparable to a hockey penalty box, they wrote.