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Denmark’s first female-led mosque opens its doors to worshipers

Muslim females across the West are attempting to break stereotypes and challenge norms [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 February, 2016

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Females in Denmark have opened the country's first female-led mosque
Females in Denmark are knocking down "patriarchal structures" within religious institutions by leading their very own female mosques.

The group, who say patriarchy has become "normalised not just in Islam, but also within Judaism and Christianity and other religions" are hoping to create a debate and dialogue with the launch of their new space.

Founder Sherin Khankan said that all imams at the Mariam Mosque would be female. However, all prayers, except the Friday congregational prayer, would be open to both genders.

Khankan is a known commentator - born to a Syrian father and Finnish mother - who says she wants to challenge the idea of patriarchy by creating a space for the "Islamic tradition allowing women to be imams" to flourish.

However, it seems not everyone is as supportive of the new initiative.

Imam Waseem Hussein, the chairman of one of Copenhagen's biggest mosques, questioned whether there was a need for the project. "Should we also make a mosque only for men? Then there would certainly be an outcry among the Danish population," he told the daily newspaper Politiken

Reactions from the city's Muslim community had mostly been positive, with negative feedback being "moderate"

Khankan confirmed the mosque has not received any threat whatsoever after a Danish newspaper wrongly reported that the location of the mosque was to be kept secret in fear of hostility.


"We haven't received any threats whatsoever," Khankan said, adding that she wanted to collaborate "with everyone" within the Muslim community and that the project was not about judging or excluding anybody.

Contrary to popular belief, the Mariam Mosque is not the first female-led mosque, with centres already existing in the US, Canada and Germany.

Denmark's largest purpose-built mosque, including the country's first minaret, opened in 2014 in a gritty district in north western Copenhagen after receiving a 150 million kroner (20.1 million euros, $22.6 million) endowment from Qatar.

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