Jerusha & Rashid Lamptey on the Dar al Noor Mosque in Manassas, Virginia

Imam Rashid Lamptey and his wife Jerusha Lamptey spoke to NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty several years ago for her The Young and the Godly series about their mosque community and making it women-friendly among other issues. There were at least three stories produced here, here, and here. Combined below are two clips about women in the mosque and prayer space.

A few years ago, I volunteered to help present the Islam to girl scouts and their families at event called Open Houses of Faith. Imam Lamptey and some members from his community came and together Islam stole the show. There were a number of other faith traditions there with us but people seemed most attracted to the Islam section, asked us questions, and waited around after the event to watch us pray asr (the late afternoon prayer).

I’ve never visited Dar al Noor but plan to so I can see the set-up in that mosque, insha’Allah.


Discussion of Mosques on @KatieCouric

Asra Nomani, Khalid Latif, Zaib Shaikh, and Mohammed Hameeduddin spoke with Katie Couric to try to explain some of the misconceptions surrounding Islam and Muslims, and towards the end the discussion turned to mosques.

If someone visited your local mosque, what would they see and impression would the women’s area leave them with? Many Muslims are pleased to show visitors the main prayer hall but would be deeply embarrassed to show them the sections designated for women.

Thanks Asra for the “penalty box” shout-out!

I shared Asra’s incredulity when she asked what would happen if she came and stood in a parallel section in the front row and Khalid Latif claimed, “we don’t really have a front row.” Really? I find that hard to believe. I visited two mosques in New York City this past December and both had women’s sections on a completely separate floor with no visuals to the imam on main congregation other than through a television monitor hookup, which was always turned off during the prayer.

Johari Abdul-Malik & Suhaib Webb | Mega-Mosque Communities and Loneliness

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, an imam at Dar al-Hijrah moved within walking distance of ADAMS Center so that his family could be closer to a progressive (in the conservative sense), dynamic, and welcoming community led by Imam Mohamed Magid.

Most individuals attend religious services for two reasons, to have communion with the divine and for fellowship with a community of like-minded believers. Jews and Christians primarily attend their houses of worship for the latter reason while Muslims that frequent mosques primarily attend for the former, which can lead to a lack of real community and feelings of loneliness.

To see the official video from the MPAC Convention, click here: The State of our Umma (Community)” Facing our Challenges

Suhaib Webb | Women in Mosques, Sexuality, & Negotiating Faith and Community

Three segments of a panel discussion at MPAC’s 2010 Annual Convention with Imam Suhaib Webb supporting the right of women to have equal and dignified space in mosques as “women are not living a dignified religious existence in our communities,”  as well as the Muslim community’s hang-ups in dealing with issues of sexuality, and the need to allow individuals to negotiate their faith.

Selected Quotes

“Women in our community are taking Prozac because they’re looking at a wall their whole lives and are told they are part of a community…”

“I’m encountering converts who are not dissatisfied from a point of theology and worship but they’re dissatisfied from a point of community…”

“I’m lonely in the mosques…”

To see the official video from the MPAC Convention, click here: The State of our Umma (Community)” Facing our Challenges

Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick | Don’t Exclude Women from the Mosque

Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick supporting the right of women in mosques:

“Too many times in our communities, the leaders are oppressors. Women are marginalized, taken out of Islamic activities, and the brothers are fighting a war not to have women involved in Islamic activity. I don’t know what religion you are talking about…”

Asma Uddin & Aman Ali | Why Women Don’t Go to Mosques

Portions of a panel discussion by Asma Uddin and Aman Ali at the 2010 MPAC Annual Convention revolving around the issue of women’s prayer spaces in mosques.

To see the official video from the MPAC Convention, click here: The State of our Umma (Community)” Facing our Challenges

Suhaib Webb on Muslim Women’s Prayer Spaces & Leadership

Two portions of a talk delivered by Suhaib Webb at University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore titled “Confronting Islam: Shari’ah, the Constitution and American Muslims.”