//Indian American journalist to research on women's mosque in India

Indian American journalist to research on women's mosque in India

New York, Oct 19(IANS) An Indian American journalist and author Asra Nomani has won the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) reporting fellowship for 2006-07 to support her in-depth project on the building of a women's mosque in southern India.

The fellowship announced by SAJA and SAJA Group Inc. will help Nomani picked up from more than two dozen entries to work on her project on "Progressive Jihad: A Woman's Mosque Goes Up in an Indian Village Despite Protests."

"The number of high-caliber entries made the judging process extremely difficult," said Sandeep Junnarkar, the chair of the SAJA Reporting Fellowships. "The judges found that Asra Nomani's project stood out for its timeliness and compelling storyline, and we're eagerly looking forward to seeing the finished work."

The completed work is expected to be available to news organizations around the world at no cost in early March 2007.

Nomani was a staff reporter at the Wall Street Journal for 15 years. She has also published in The New York Times, Salon, Time Magazine and The Washington Post. She is the author of "Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam" which was published in 2005 by HarperSanFrancisco.

Nomani's project is expected to bring to life the dynamic lives and challenges of Muslims in India to create a unique identity outside the influence of extremism by looking at efforts to build a women's mosque in a village in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu. This will serve as a window through which to study the pitfalls and hopes of the reform movement, a SAJA announcement said.

Open to freelancers and staff journalists in any medium, the fellowships are meant to encourage in-depth reporting projects about South Asia and the South Asian diaspora through special grants. The resulting work is available for use by news organizations at no charge.

Last year, the inaugural fellowships' applicants were required to focus on the aftermath of the tsunami that struck Asia in December 2004.