This Friday sees the start of the 2011 Hajj, that most sacred of pilgrimages for Muslims, during which millions travel to Mecca to demonstrate solidarity with the Islamic world and submission to God.
The event is often celebrated as a moment of inclusion. The African American icon, Malcolm X, once described the Hajj as follows –
“There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans.”
But, as the Saudi-based Arab News reports, Muslim women are not feeling the love this year.
According to a new online survey conducted out of Jeddah, one quarter of women polled said that husbands who refuse to take their wives with them on the one-in-a-lifetime journey are just plain selfish.
Arab News reporter Muhammd Humaidan got hold of some of the reluctant husbands and asked them why they weren’t booking packages for the whole family. Some cited tough times on the ecnomic front. One dispensed with diplomacy altogether –
“Women need special treatment. They are not willing to make any effort and they can be a real burden…”
Another slightly more accommodating husband conceded that, if his wife were to insist, he would book her a cheap ticket.