Woman Leading Islamic Prayers Stirs Worldwide Controversy

March 19, 2005

Source: Aljazeera


On March 19, 2005 Aljazeera reported, "A woman has led a controversial mixed-gender Islamic prayer service, with organisers of the event saying they are 'ushering Islam into the 21st century.'

Amina Wadud, a professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the service she was leading�was 'only one aspect of emphasising the belief in the reality that women are equal' under Islam.

'We claim that we have primordial rights ... to acknowledge the reciprocal rights of women and men to attain moral excellence (in Islam),' Wadud said, addressing a congregation of 80 to 100 men and women attending the service at Synod House at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, an Anglican church in Manhattan. The service drew protests and has stirred�controversy internationally because many Muslims say that only men are empowered to lead other men in prayer."

See also: Islam, Women