Asra Nomani: At the Islamic Center of Southern California, Woman Joins Men in the Main Prayer Hall

July 10, 2005

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 10, 2005 the Los Angeles Times reported, "On a recent Friday, a veiled woman entered a mosque and surveyed the scene. In the front, a few hundred men waited for the call to prayer. In the back, women and children sat in a separate area behind tinted glass. With barely a pause, Asra Nomani made her choice. Defying age-old Islamic traditions, she stepped over a low partition, sat with the men -- and kicked off a furor. A man brusquely approached her: 'You are not allowed to pray here with men. The women are on the other side.' A female elder tried to coax her out, then lost patience and tried to lift her up by the elbow... Through it all, the woman in pink veil and long coat stood her ground. No, she was not going to move... Eventually, leaders at the Islamic Center of Southern California cordoned off her space with a red rope, called other women to join her and started the prayer... friends and foes alike agree that Nomani has helped bring global attention to a long-festering issue: the limits on female access to Muslim prayer space, religious leadership and decision-making power."

See also: Islam, Women