A rights activist and Toronto-based author Ms Raza has been asked to lead prayers and deliver the khutbah at a small prayer session in Oxford.
She was invited by Dr Taj Hargey, a self-described imam who preaches an ultra-liberal interpretation of Islam which includes, among other things, that men and women should be allowed to pray together and female imams should lead mixed congregations in prayer. Figure 60, is a small but growing group of Muslim feminists who tried to challenge the mindset that has traditionally excluded women from leadership roles within the mosque. They said that in the Koran are female imams expressly forbidden. Instead scholars rely on the hadiths (the words and sayings of the Prophet Mohamed) to exclude women – although Muslim feminists and some progressive scholars argue that even these are not clear enough to say with confidence that women are altogether banned.
Ms. Raza received death threats after leading a mixed-gender prayer congregation in Toronto five years ago.”It was a very profound experience,” Ms Raza said “It’s not about taking the job of an imam. It’s about reminding the Muslim community that 50 % of its adherents are women who are equal to men. Women are equally observant, practicing Muslims who deserve to be heard.”
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