Ramadan Mubarak to all of you and may the spiritual peace of this Holy month be with all of you…
On Sat 10/8/2005 another Muslim group broke the silence and joined the growing Muslim movement that is calling and implementing the equality of women and men in front of Allah.
The Amherst Progressive Muslims www.amherstmuslims.blogspot.com is a core group of concerned Muslims from different background ethnicities (immigrants and non-immigrants). They want to “bring the true social justice face of Islam that has been hijacked by right-wing conservatives for centuries”.
The pray was led by Haja Zeinab Omer, a 78 year woman of the indigenous African people of Nubia (Egypt and Sudan). Ten Muslims participated in this historical event for the Muslim community of Western Massachusetts while many could not make it because of the tropical storm.
I spoke to Haja Zeinab (Haja is a title given to women who went to pilgrimage in the Holy Muslim city Mecca) after the Mughrib (sunset) prayer. She told me that there is no single reason that prevents Muslim women of leading men, women, or mixed-gender prayer. She draws my attention to the fact that in Mecca, the holiest place for Muslims, men and women pray in one place side by side..
The Amherst Progressive Muslims (APM) took this step after hearing about the Progressive Masjid of Philadelphia, another group that took this emancipatory step before the first publicly announced prayer in NYC last March. APM did not announce the historic event in advance for the safety of the fledgling group.
For many people, this woman-led prayer may not be a big issue but actually it’s a breaking news for immigrant Muslims in this country. It’s one indicator of women empowerment and successful step in claiming their faith…
(see this link to know about the history of women-led prayers http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2232/context/archive)
Reporting from Philadelphia, PA (USA)