[empower] women religious leaders

We, the Violence is not our Culture Campaign, stand in solidarity with the US-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) who has been the target of an unprecedented crackdown by the Vatican. The LCWR is a world-renown highly respected organization of women religious individuals and groups who has a track record spanning decades in promoting human rights and social causes in the United States and abroad. The Vatican subjected the LCWR to a long-drawn investigation and is now using its findings to justify asserting control over the organization.  The LCWR leadership said that the move by the Vatican has taken them by surprise.

It is 5:50 in the morning, and dark shadows scurry through narrow alleys to the mosque, as the call to prayer echoes from a minaret in Kaifeng. This city in central China's Henan province has an Islamic enclave, where Muslims have lived for more than 1,000 years. In an alleyway called Wangjia hutong, women go to their own mosque, where Yao Baoxia leads prayers. For 14 years, Yao has been a female imam, or ahong as they are called here, a word derived from Persian.

A woman led Muslim prayers in Oxford last week. Her actions and those of others like her, across faiths, deserve our support. Only Muslim women from abroad dare lead men in Friday prayers in the UK.  Canadian, Raheel Raza, became the second Muslim woman to do so at the Muslim Educational Centre in Oxford last week. African American convert, Amina Wadud, was the first Muslim woman to lead mixed prayers at the same centre in 2008.  It’s not surprising that British Muslim women are not brave enough to follow their footsteps - both have been demonised, labelled as heretics and have received death threats after leading men in prayers in their own countries.

فى خطوة تثير الكثير من الجدل قامت المؤلفة الكندية المسلمة راهيل رازا بإمامة المصلين في صلاة الجمعة اليوم في المركز الإسلامي بمدينة أوكسفورد البريطانية لتكون أول امرأة ـ ولدت مسلمة ـ تتولى هذه الإمامة في بريطانيا. وكانت رازا والتي يطلق عليها أحيانا "راحيل رضا" قد دعيت لهذه الصلاة من جانب الإمام تاج هارجي الذي يدير المركز التعليمي الإسلامي في أوكسفورد والذي يؤيد الصلاة متعددة الأجناس ولا يعارض إمامة النساء في صلاة الجمعة. وتعد رازا ناشطة حقوقية من مدينة تورنتو الكندية ومدافعة عن حقوق المرأة المسلمة وتوليها الأدوار القيادية في المساجد، وقد تعرضت لبعض التهديدات بالقتل بعد أن قامت بإمامة المصلين ـ من الرجال والنساء ـ في صلاة الجمعة من قبل في تورنتو قبل خمسة أعوام.

For the first time in the history of Palestine, two women were appointed as judges to the Islamic Sharia court in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Ramallah.
"The Masjid was inaugurated on August 29, 2008 and about 150 women took part in prayer on the very first day. ‘It’s a gift to our mother and sisters for the Ramadan’, said Sayedullah Nongrum, MLA and Secretary of the Shillong Muslim Union since 1982."
The Mufti of Australia wants men and women to worship together in mosques, it is reported.
A Muslim woman on Thursday became the first ever female allowed to conduct marriages in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates and throughout the conservative Gulf, the official WAM news agency reported.
In her boarding schools, Lily Munir teaches women and children that their religion supports gender equality.
"Born in 1952 to a Methodist father and a mother of Muslim heritage in Maryland, Ms Wadud, who has written books on the Koran and memorised most of it, first delivered a Friday sermon in Cape Town, South Africa, in August 1994."
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