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Inside the Mosque Ruled by Women

Anna Holligan meets the women at the first female led mosque in Scandinavia.

In Copenhagen, on an upmarket shopping street, above a burger joint, two female imams are leading Friday prayers.

The Mariam mosque is the first female led mosque in Scandinavia and one of only a handful worldwide. Anna Holligan travels to Denmark to meet its founder and imaamah, Sherin Khanhan. In building a feminist mosque Sherin hopes to revolutionize the traditional role of an imam and challenge some of the traditional patriarchal structures in Islam. Sherin argues that promoting female imams does not go against the teachings of Islam, but virtuously follows in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad who asked women to lead prayers in his own house mosque.

Sherin’s interpretation of Islam has attracted criticism from leading scholars. Anna meets Professor Ebrahim Afash from the University of Copenhagen who accuses Sherin of diluting Islam. Professor Afash argues although the tiny mosque has received global attention by western media its impact upon Danish Muslims is insignificant.

(Photo: Betina Garcia / Getty Images)

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27 minutes

Last on

Sun 19 Mar 2017 19:32GMT