Muslim Women Earning Leadership Roles in Mosques and Islamic Organizations

July 16, 2006

Source: The Sacramento Bee

On July 16, 2006 The Sacramento Bee reported, "The mosque -- or masjid in Davis, Calif., had become too small for the city's growing Muslim population, and a thorny debate arose over how to rectify the problem. The all-male mosque board was riven with politics, and when her husband quit, Dr. Shereen Zakauddin Vera volunteered to take his place. Vera quickly spoke up -- when the men talked of building a second story where the women and children could pray, she argued, 'Why do we have to pray upstairs? We have old women who have trouble getting up and down.' Her concerns were heard, and she took a key role in raising the $650,000 needed to tear down the old mosque and build a larger, 4,000-square-foot house of worship. Instead of hiding behind tradition, a growing number of American Muslim women such as Vera are looking inward, re-examining their role in Islam and stepping up as community leaders. Since 9/11, in particular, the women 'are finding their voice and trying to reconcile their love and passion for Islam with universal principles of democracy and freedom,' said Madhavi Sunder, a University of California, Davis, law professor writing a book on Islamic women."