The first women-led mosque has opened in Copenhagen, Denmark. This mosque is created to challenge the otherwise patriarchal structures and domination by males in the existing mosques.
According to Sherin Khankan, founder of Mariam Mosque, "Many women and young people don’t even go into the mosques as you enter into a male dominated and patriarchal space in which a man has the floor, a man leads prayers, men are in focus and dominate. That is why we are now setting up a mosque on women’s terms.”
Traditionally, there has to be a segregation of men and women even in the mosques, both sit separately during services.
Khankan, who is serving as one of two imams at Mariam Mosque, called the house of worship a "feminist project." However, the mosque will also be open to men except for Friday prayers, but all imams will be female.
Though this is not for the first time when a women’s mosque has opened, such mosques have also existed in China for several hundred years.
Morocco in 2006 became the first Arab country to allow the training of female religious leaders. For long there has been an ongoing debate whether women can or should serve as Imams? But this can be put to tradition as Islam doesn’t oppress women, neither it curbs their freedoms.
“We have normalized patriarchal structures in our religious institutions. Not just in Islam, but also within Judaism and Christianity and other religions. And we would like to challenge that,” Khankan told to a leading daily.
Khankan is a well-known author and political commentator in Denmark. She firmly believes in the teachings of Islam and highlights the feminist and reformist readings of Islam. It has also given prior importance to gender equality which she says the Copenhagen mosque will use as its foundation.