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Women’s Mosques: A Progressive Move or Empowerment Gone Wrong?

by in Identity on 28th April, 2017

Source: Women's Mosque of America
Source: Women’s Mosque of America
A women’s led mosque has recently opened in Berkeley, making it the second of its kind in the United States. While we normally only see a female lead a prayer where there are no males present, Qal’bu Maryam mosque will have women leading prayers with everyone praying together, side by side, regardless of gender.  Founder Rabi’a Keeble says, “the mosque will welcome everyone, including converts, lifelong muslims, people of all genders and all colours”.
Rabi’a Keeble describes herself as a writer,  speaker and poet, as well as an activist. She says “it’s time for Muslim women to step up and challenge the patriarchal norms of the Islamic faith.” The mosque was born from her frustration with how men and women are separated and how women are patronised by imams. While it’s difficult to question Keeble’s views that although a minority, some Imams probably need to be more focussed on character and should hold an approachable nature for both men and women – Does a gender free, unsegregated mosque really solve any problem?
The essence of Islam teaches that we shouldn’t be judgemental or speak ill of others, even if we disagree. However, there is a great deal in Islam regarding innovation being present in future times. It’s easy to empathise with bad experiences women have had in mosques, could this arguably be ‘empowerment’ gone wrong.

"feminists just want to be like men" nonsense, & feeling pity for her bc everyone trashes on her anyway for random crap like nail polish.

— The Salafi Feminist (@AnonyMousey) 28 April 2017

There is discomfort and fear that for people to find peace in Islam, or even to find Islam they have to make it applicable to their own lifestyle when Islam is a liberating lifestyle that people discover. Keeble’s actions beg the question, does a mosque that unifies gender, unify the ummah? Or segregate it further?



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