Her name is Sherin Khankan. Born in Denmark to a Syrian father and a Finnish mother, the well-known author and political commentator has started a new mosque in Copenhagen, Denmark. Named as ‘Mariam Mosque’, it is led entirely by women imams.
Khankan recently spoke to Danish newspaper Politiken dubbing the project a feminist project. It is run entirely by women and is open to both men and women. According to Khankan, she started the mosque because she never felt at home in other mosques that are dominated by males.
I have never felt at home in the existing mosques. The new grand mosques are unbelievably beautiful, but I have the feeling of being a stranger when I am there. We women stand up in the balcony and look down on what is happening. Many women and young people don’t even go into the mosques as you enter into a male-dominated and patriarchal space in which a man has the floor, a man leads prayers, men are in focus and dominate. That is why we are now setting up a mosque on women’s terms. – Khankan
Sherin Khankan told Agence France Presse that “we have normalised patriarchal structures” in our religious institutions and this is “not just in Islam, but also within Judaism and Christianity and other religions.” She added that she “would like to challenge that.”
Khankan is confident that her project will ease the barriers between traditional Islam and a more modern rendition of the faith that can better relate to young worshippers.