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More than 50 organisations and prominent personalities on Wednesday launched a movement, Haji Ali sabke liye, demanding women be allowed in the dargah located at Worli.
They came under one banner to launch the movement against the backdrop of nationwide campaigns and protests seeking entry of women in temples.
Social activist Javed Anand and filmmaker Saeed Mirza were among those who conceived the campaign and pressure group, which also saw the participation of Trupti Desai, the founder of Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, that spear-headed the campaign for entry of women at Shani Shingnapur temple, Mahalaxmi temple and Trimbakeshwar among others.
At the inaugural press conference at the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh here, however, a small group led by one who identified himself as Javed Lodiya and claimed to be a “journalist” and “human rights leader”, said that Sharia does not allow entry of women in dargah. However, when he asserted to make a point, the organisers requested him to leave the audience. In fact, noted Islamic scholar Dr Zeenat Shaukat Ali, said that it was a misinterpretation.
“Please leave…you also call a press conference and make your point rather than disrupting our press conference,” said Feroze Mithiborwala who was one of the activists in the forefront of galvanising the forces to demand entry of women at Haji Ali. “Everyone has to make his or her point noted, but this is not the way,” said veteran peace activist Jatin Desai.
A women's group, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), has filed a petition which is currently before the Bombay High Court. “The forum is of the firm view that women’s entry in a dargah is not a religious issue but something to do with custom and tradition. ,” Anand said.

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