Shinta Ratri, second left, and other transgender women of the Al Fatah Pesantren, a Muslim academy of about 40 members in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, pray at a weekly meeting. Credit Kemal Jufri for The New York Times
YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — As the call to prayer boomed over this midsize university town on a recent Sunday evening, rows of conservatively dressed Muslim women laid out their prayer mats, bowed toward Mecca and murmured prayers in Arabic. As dusk fell, it was a ritual being carried out in mosques and prayer academies across the city.

What set this academy apart is that most of the worshipers here had been born as men.

Tucked away behind a large mosque on a side street in Yogyakarta, Al Fatah Pesantren is, according to its leader, the only Muslim academy or madrasa for transgender people in the world.

Shinta Ratri, the school’s 53-year-old director, founded it with other transgender women in 2008, two years after a major earthquake convulsed the city. “It was a time of suffering, and transgender people needed a way to pray,” she said. “We needed a place to worship together and learn about Islam.”

Read more on http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/world/asia/indonesia-transgender-muslim.html

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