‘An initiative that deserves to be supported…by both men and women’
Consultations continue into development of UK’s first all-women managed mosque
Around 150 people gathered at Bradford’s Carlisle Business Centre last weekend for the latest consultation evening regarding the developments of the country’s first women-led mosque.
Presentations were made by leading Islamic personnel alongside a question and answers sessions allowing for audience participation.
Amongst the speakers on the night was the Dean of Cambridge Islamic College, Shaykh Akram Nadwi, who presented on the historic role of Women in Islam.
Supporting the project wholeheartedly, Mr Nadwi said the vision, organised by the Muslim Women’s Council, was one which should be backed by all members of the faith.
“The need for women to go to the mosques for the daily prayers, to take part in study circles, to encourage and be encouraged by other Muslims to live their religion seriously – is neither more nor less than the same need in men,” he said.
“This need must be met; it is a religious duty. The lack of provision, and the lack of welcome, for women in the mosques that we have, is the main reason for this project – to have a space for women, where they can worship together, where they can encourage one another to study the religion and improve their understanding and practice of it.”
The proposals for the new Mosque and Centre of Excellence state that both men and women would be welcome to use the mosque, whilst the centre would be exclusively for women.
Consultations are still ongoing and the MWC say they are listening to various viewpoints, from local, national and international stakeholders.
Mr Nadwi added: “It is an initiative that deserves to be supported financially and morally by both men and women.
“I admire and appreciate the intention and the will and determination of those leading this project. In sha’a Allah (God willing) it will be a success.”
Mr Nadwi was joined as a speaker on the night by the Chair of New Horizons in British Islam, Dilwar Hussain, who presented on the contextualisation of women’s role in Islam; and Dr Shuruq Naguib, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Lancaster, who presented on the jurisprudence relating to the role of women in Mosques.
Cllr David Green, Leader of Bradford Council was amongst those in attendance and also gave his support for the project.
“If there is a demand for a women-led mosque and the Muslim women want it then I am more than happy for that to happen. If there is a demand for it then why shouldn’t there be [a mosque]?” he said.
“If Muslim women want to build their own mosque, and have that space to worship and have control over their worship then that’s great.”
Cllr Green will help lead the final stage of the Consultation process with MPs and Councillors from Bradford, and across West Yorkshire in the near future.