American Muslim women are finding a unique religious space at a women-only mosque in Los Angeles


American Muslim women are finding a unique religious space at a women-only mosque in Los Angeles

The Women’s Mosque of America was founded in 2015 by two South Asian American Muslim women – comedy writer M. Hasna Maznavi and attorney Sana Muttalib. It was conceived as a space to empower Muslim women to take on active roles in their individual community mosques and influence changes in a mosque culture that is often unwelcoming to women.

The mosque promotes the idea that religious authority can be held by lay American Muslim women, as opposed to only male religious scholars with traditional credentials.

Most of the women who deliver sermons and lead prayer at this mosque do not have formal religious training or Arabic expertise. They are a racially and ethnically diverse group who bring their various professional and community activist experiences to their roles as religious authority figures.

Moreover, the mosque is invested in using scriptural teachings to work toward social justice causes in the U.S. particularly with respect to anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.

The Women’s Mosque of America appeals to women who are dissatisfied with mainstream American mosques and eager to take on more central roles in their religious development. Its alternative culture also appeals to Muslim women who may have otherwise turned away from their faith. And in providing opportunities for women to preach and lead prayer, I contend that the Women’s Mosque of America pushes American Muslims to collectively reimagine the very notion of religious community by raising important questions about what a mosque is and whom it should be for.

Source: The Conversation

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