Girl Pursues Her Dream to Become an Imam

March 25, 2005

Source: Religioscope/Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

On March 25, 2005 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported, "Tursunai looks much younger than her 11 years. She struggles to correctly write her name but fluently recites Islamic texts. Tursunai is one of half a dozen girls attending the madrasah who says she wants to become a buatin, or a female imam. Although her father is himself an imam, Tursanai's dream to follow in his footsteps will be difficult to fulfill. Traditionally, there is no place in Islam for women to lead prayers in mosques. Tursunai's teacher, Kunduz Isakova, is clear about this. 'According to Shari'a and to Islam in general, a woman cannot be an imam. And it is not a woman's goal to be an imam. The main aim of coming here is to know oneself, to come to know what kind of a human being a person is,' Isakova said. A graduate of the Islamic University in Bishkek, Isakova is a self-confident young woman who readily gives her interpretation of the complex issue of the place of women in Islam. She sees her mission mainly to teach students to read the Quran, and to instruct Muslim girls to behave properly."