Culture war

Muslim “suffragettes” reject half-measures in fight for control of Scottish mosque

Glasgow Central Mosque (Facebook)

As conservatives and progressive factions wrestle for control of Glasgow Central Mosque, Scotland’s largest building of worship for any faith, female campaigners are complaining that neither group has any female representation. Progressives, led by General Secretary Nabeel Shaikh, had been in control of the mosque since last year. Shaikh and his allies had been eager to support the efforts of women and those of more diverse ethnic backgrounds to play a bigger role at the mosque, but he and his supporters have recently resigned, citing threats made against them and their families.

Nighet Nasim Riaz, one of the women campaigning. (Facebook)

Nighet Nasim Riaz, one of the women campaigning. (Facebook)

A more conservative group, all from Pakistani background, has since regained control of the mosque, and Shafi Kausar, the mosque’s acting general secretary, says the introduction of progressive measures such as female imams would be against Islam. A general meeting will take place next month to appoint a new executive committee for the mosque, a leadership circle that women have unsuccessfully been campaigning to get onto since 2009. Two female campaigners, Talat Yaqoob and Nighet Nasim Riaz, are part of a larger global movement of Muslim “suffragettes” that believe opposition to women’s inclusion in Islam does not reflect the religion itself but rather the patriarchal cultural norms of those in power. They have rejected proposals to set up “women’s committees” within the mosque as half-measures, and say their goal is to see women comprise at least half the new executive committee.

Read the full story at Herald Scotland.

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