The Women’s Mosque of America opened its doors on Friday in central Los Angeles, welcoming a crowd of Muslim women from around the country.
By Antonia Blumberg|The Huffington Post
L.A.-based professionals M. Hasna Maznavi and Sana Muttalib serve as president and co-president of the mosque’s board, respectively, and have worked with the rest of their team for months to bring the project to fruition. By day, Maznavi is a filmmaker and comedy writer, while Muttalib works as an attorney. They teamed up with the Pico Union Project, an interfaith worship space in Los Angeles, to house their mosque, and held the first juma’a, or Friday prayers, on Jan. 30. Edina Lekovic, the director of policy and programming at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, led the mosque’s inaugural khutbah, or sermon, and congregants were invited to join in a post-juma’a discussion and Q and A.
The Women’s Mosque is making its debut at a time when many American Muslims are questioning the traditions and norms they grew up with. The Chicago-based writer Hind Makki started a website in 2012 called “Side Entrances,” which invited women to post their photos and experiences at worship services. Mosques are often segregated by gender, sometimes with wall dividers marking off each area. Many women have expressed frustration at these divisions, and as Makki told NPR earlier this month, many men had no conception of the women’s experience.