Refleksi: Agaknya berita-berita jenis ini tidak mendapat tempat di koran-koran 
berlambang agama seperti Hidayatullah. Bila benar asumsi tsb. maka timbul 
pertanyaan mengapa?  Apakah Ada diantara pembaca yang mempunya keterangan 
mencerdaskan mengapa tidak dijadikan sorotan?

Sunday 21 December 2008 (23 Dhul Hijjah 1429)

      Women demand permanent positions on Tawafah boards
      Badea Abu Al- Naja | Arab News 

            FOR A CAUSE: Awatif Katoua    
      MAKKAH: Most women officials of Tawafah establishments demand that they 
should be represented with a woman member on the boards of directors of the 
five Tawafah establishments that look after Haj and Umrah pilgrims annually. 

      The women workers also demand that they should be offered permanent 
employment covering the whole year instead of the present system of seasonal 

      "The absence of women on the board of directors of Tawafah 
establishments, no doubt, weakens the quality of services offered to women 
pilgrims. On the other hand, if there is at least one member, women pilgrims 
could be served in a better manner. We hope that our demand will be listened to 
favorably," Fatin Muhammad Hussein, chairperson of the women's committee at the 
South Asian Tawafah Establishment, told Arab News in an interview on Friday. 

      Hussein said women started working for the establishment four years ago. 
They used to help sick women pilgrims, instruct women pilgrims on religious 
rites and cultural matters as well as organizing tours for female pilgrims to 
the Kiswa Factory, Zamzam Distribution Center and the Haramain Museum. There 
were 70 pilgrims in the last such trip she arranged for them, Hussein said.

      She added that though the women desired to serve in more areas, they had 
their limitations as women. "By virtue of my being wife of the head of the 
South Asian Tawafah Establishment, I could work as a liaison between him and 
the women workers," she said.

      Wafa Mahdar, chairman of the Committee for Women's Enlightenment in the 
Tawafah Establishment for Arab countries, said that women should have a place 
in the board of directors. "The new board members should keep their promise to 
women voters during the last election that they would give membership to 
women," Mahdar said.

      However, Samira Banani, chairman of the Religious Committee in the 
Tawafah Establishment for Arab countries, disagreed with most other women 
workers and said no women in her establishment wanted to be a member of the 
board of directors. Nevertheless, she stressed the need for permanent 
employment for women in the Tawafah establishment instead of the present system 
of seasonal work. She added that the concept of women serving pilgrims was not 

      "In the distant past Tawafah officials used to depend on their wives for 
preparing food and maintaining the residences of pilgrims. I think the desire 
to serve pilgrims was instilled in me by my mother who used to help my father 
in such matters," she said. 

      Awatif Katoua, media director of the Religious Committee in the same 
establishment, said she believed that women should not be regarded as seasonal 
workers but should be allowed to serve around the year as permanent staff of 
the establishment. She also pointed that more women workers should be recruited 
for this service. Rahma Shabana of the Pilgrim Establishment for South East 
Asian Pilgrims also supported the demand for membership for women on the board 
of directors of Tawafah establishments. She also believed that women officials 
should be assigned more important roles than helping sick pilgrims. 

      "They can teach pilgrims how to perform rituals correctly and help them 
in many other ways to make their pilgrimage comfortable," Shabana said.

      She said 80 women were engaged in field services under her establishment. 

      Minister of Haj Fuad Al-Farsy said while visiting South East Asian 
Tawafah Establishment in August that women could occupy any position in the 
establishment including as a member of the board. 



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