Country's First Woman-Led Islamic Prayers Held at United Muslim Association Mosque

July 2, 2005

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: RNS

On July 2, 2005 Religion News Service reported, "An American convert to Islam made history when she became the first woman to lead Friday prayers in a Canadian mosque.

About 100 people attended the service at the United Muslim Association mosque here Friday (July 1) -- Canada Day -- as Pamela Taylor, co-chair of the New York-based Progressive Muslim Union, led the mixed-gender congregation in prayers. She also delivered a khutba (sermon) on the importance of equality between races, genders, sexual orientations and persons with disabilities. 'Canada is the Islamic ideal,' said Taylor, 40, who has been a Muslim for 19 years. 'We're trying to live up to that ideal, that women are fully participant in Muslim society, and that includes leading prayers for men and women.'

Protesters had threatened to disrupt the service but never showed... But Mohamed Elmasry, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, told the Globe and Mail newspaper that while the UMA is free to have whomever it chooses to lead its prayers, it is a fringe group.

'This is a non-issue for Canadian Muslims and must be ignored by the community,' he said. 'It usually becomes a media circus and an opportunity to label Muslims.'"