A Woman’s Place Is In the Mosque?

March 2, 2009

Author: Christopher Landau

Source: BBC News


The role that women play in mosques varies substantially around the Muslim world. Visits to two mosques in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, show just how different women's experiences can be.

The al-Seddeeq mosque, in a prosperous suburb of Cairo, stands in front of a park - unusual enough in an overcrowded city lacking much green space.

The large mosque, built in the last 20 years, forms an impressive focal point in the local community.

But it also represents one potential vision of the future for Egypt's mosques - where women are heavily involved in increasing aspects of the mosque's activities.

As I step inside, I hear sounds I had not been expecting - the raucous shouts of children playing.

About 250 young boys are surrounded by paint, glue, paper and old egg boxes - making artwork from recycled materials.

Earlier in the day, they had been learning to recite the Koran, but by late afternoon it was time for a more hands-on task.

There is nothing unusual about mosques offering educational programmes. But at al-Seddeeq mosque, all of the educational work is run by women.