Sherin Khankan, an academic who is also one of four female imams in Denmark, has established Copenhagen’s first women-led mosque, calling it a “feminist project.” Khankan, whose father is a Syrian Muslim and mother is a Finnish Christian, set out to broaden Islam’s appeal to her countrywomen, saying she herself felt like “a stranger” in the city’s existing mosques.
Khankan hopes her project will soothe divisions between traditional Islam and a more contemporary practice of the faith, accommodating the needs of many young worshippers. “Many imams in this country belong to the traditional school which does not account for the culture we live in,” she said. “Instead, they help to construct contradictions between being a practicing Muslim and a young person in Denmark. But you can love and honour several cultures and influences at once without betraying one or the other camp.”
Men are welcome to worship at the Mariam Mosque, but on Friday nights there will be a women-only, women-led service. The first mosque was opened in Copenhagen in 2014. There are 270,000 Muslims living in Denmark.
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