By Lin Taylor
COPENHAGEN (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Relegated to the basement, silenced by the imam and barred from the front door, some Muslim women have had enough of male domination at the mosque and are setting up their own.
From Copenhagen to Los Angeles, a handful of female mosques now cater to Muslim women who want their own place of worship, just as men have had through the ages.
“It is possible to change a narrative that has been patriarchal for centuries,” Sherin Khankan, founder of Europe’s first women’s mosque, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Her first-floor mosque – adjacent to a clothes shop – is invisible from the busy Danish shopping street below. But behind its anonymous, gray door, a quiet revolution is brewing.
For the past two years, women have been leading prayers, delivering sermons and running Copenhagen’s Mariam Mosque – though Khankan says she is not challenging the Koran, just rewriting a male-dominated way of worship.
“We can do that by promoting and disseminating new narratives, with a focus on gender equality. It’s not a reform. We’re going back to the essence of Islam,” she said, draping a red floral shawl across her shoulder.
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