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NEWS: Woman to Lead Muslim Prayer Service in New York

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posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 04:07 PM
In an almost unprecedented move, a female professor of Islamic studies is set to lead the evening prayers friday at St. Johns Cathedral in New York. The move has sparked angry criticism from many in the muslim community, both in America and abroad. The woman, Amina Wadud, has defended her decision, saying her goal is not to be controversial, but rather to draw attention to the plight of muslim women around the world, who are often perceived as second class citizens in their traditional roles.
Even as a woman professor was preparing to lead an Islamic prayer service, her plans drew sharp criticism from Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East.

Amina Wadud, a professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, was scheduled to lead a two-hour service Friday at Synod House at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, an Anglican church in Manhattan.

The event was meant to draw attention to the "second-class status" of women in Muslim spiritual life and Muslim life in general, said Asra Q. Nomani, an author and former Wall Street Journal reporter who is the lead organizer of the prayer.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This is a very interesting development, and could be a very good thing, or a very bad thing, depending on the sort of reaction it elicits. It wasn't too long ago a woman disguised herself as a man to lead prayer services, and ended up getting dragged from the stage when her deception was revealed. The muslim community is divided on this issue; moderates see it as a sign of progress, while fundamentalist muslims perceive it as a threat to their religion, and indeed, their very way of life.

The role women play in Islam may be hard to understand for many outsiders. The reasons center around removing sexual desires and placating the bestiality so destructive to man's endeavors. Progressive muslims see the integration of woman as integral to the growth and modernization of Islam.

There are no official protests planned, but the venue for the prayer service was moved at least three times due to refusals by various mosques, and once due to a bomb threat on an art gallery that agreed to host the service. Security for the event will be light, and it's unclear how many people are expected to attend. Here's hoping it goes off without a hitch.

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 05:11 PM
interesting, a muslim leading christians in prayer...

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 05:17 PM

Originally posted by WyrdeOne

This is a very interesting development, and could be a very good thing, or a very bad thing, depending on the sort of reaction it elicits.

I think it's a good thing regardless of what type of reaction it elicits. People worldwide need to recognize the importance of gender equality.

Bold steps take courage. I applaud this woman!!

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 06:48 PM
I agree
Also hopeing it will go off with out a hitch

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 06:55 PM
She's not leading a Christian prayer service, it's a muslim prayer service as stated in the article. The event is taking place in St John's Cathedral ( a beautiful work of architecture I might add) because this woman was turned away from three mosques, and an art gallery after threats of violence.

Can you imagine the turmoil if she were to hold this service, and a bomb were to go off? If we think the Chrisitan Vs. Muslim rivalry is bad now...

Just think about the reaction if St John's, probably the most beautiful, historically important church in the western hemisphere, were to be damaged in an explosion targetting the muslim woman speaking there. Speaking as a theologian, that would be an event to rival 9/11 in terms of its impact on the world, and on the opinions of the masses.

It could be the final straw to break the camels back, and lead us into a full fledged, out-in-the-open holy war. I for one am hoping nothing happens. The service itself is a good step in the right direction, and the church is one of the most beautiful man-made structures I've ever had the pleasure of spending the night in. If something were to happen to it, or to the woman making this bold step, it would be very upsetting personally, and I'm sure many people, Christians and Muslims alike, echo that sentiment.

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