Bana Gora of the Muslim Women’s Council of Bradford
Following in the footsteps of their sisters in the US, British Muslim women have announced plans for the country’s first women-only mosque.
The plan seeks to provide women with a platform through which they can opt for more appropriately accommodating religious services as opposed to what many deem as inadequate in mosques throughout the country.
“The aim of the Bradford Mosque Project is to build a mosque for women, and run by women. It would be the first of its kind in the UK,” Bana Gora, the chief executive of the Muslim Women’s Council, was quoted by The Telegraph & Argus.
“Over the last year we have carried out a detailed audit of local mosques and found that the services offered by mosques were not always adequate for women.
“Rather than just complain, we decided to do something about it.
“We hope that this is something we can start in the next couple of months.”
Gora made the announcement on the openeing day of the second Muslim Women’s Council sponsored Daughters of Eve conference, which assembled women from across the country to discuss issues including Shari`ah Law and the portrayal of Muslims in the media.
The Bradford Mosque Project announcement marks the culmination of a year-long effort to find a suitable facility from among the city’s existing mosques.
Gora expects the idea to create some debate, such as whether women would be able to lead prayers in the new mosque.
Earlier this year, the first women-only Women’s Mosque of America in Los Angeles, Calif., has divided the opinions of American Muslim women.
Moreover, the new mosque heightened the already brewing controversy regarding the validity of conducting a women-only Jumu`ah prayer, being a female imam and the feasibility of the fruits for which the idea was initiated.
An unusual feature of Islam in China is the existence of nüsi, mosques solely for women. The imams and all the congregants are women and men are not allowed into the buildings. A handful of women have been trained as imams in order to serve these mosques.
In recent years, efforts have been made to establish similar mosques in India and Iran.
Islam is the second largest religion with results from the United Kingdom Census 2011 giving the UK Muslim population in 2011 as 2,786,635, 4.4% of the total population.