Founder of Denmark’s first mosque for women: ‘I will not listen to naysayers’

Source: The Washington Post

By Heba Habib

A little mosque in the Danish capital of Copenhagen joined a quiet revolution last week by hosting its first Friday prayer led by a woman.

Traditionally, Friday prayers are limited to and led by men, and women are encouraged to pray at home. Some mosques have women’s sections, but those areas tend to be cramped and accessible only from a side or back entrance.

The Mariam mosque in Copenhagen, one of the few worldwide run by women, is striving to change that by limiting Friday prayers to women and generally maintaining the mosque as a space for women. The mosque opened in February informally for ceremonies, but more imams had to be recruited before it officially opened last Friday.

The prayer was presided over by Sherin Khankan, the founder of the mosque, who sang the call to prayer, or the adhan. Saliha Marie Fetteh delivered the sermon, or khutbah, which was about “women and Islam in the modern world.”

About 70 women of various religious backgrounds attended the service in solidarity.

Ozlem Cekic, a Danish politician and one of the attendees, praised the venture on her official Facebook page: “Imam Fetteh said ‘when a woman can drive buses, construct buildings and fight against ISIL [the Islamic State], they can also be imams’ I couldn’t agree more.”

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