Professor Comments on Gender-Inclusive Mosques

By Dan Verderosa, August 5, 2019
IC professor Asma Barlas spoke to the Chicago Tribune about the role of women in Islam.

Asma Barlas, a professor in the Department of Politics at Ithaca College, is featured in a Chicago Tribune article about the rise of women-only and gender-inclusive mosques.

In most mainstream mosques, men lead prayers and men and women pray separately. However, the Tribune reports that an increasing number of U.S. mosques allow them to pray together, with women sometimes leading prayers. Barlas, the author of “Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an,” told the Tribune that Islam’s holy book does not declare men to be religiously superior to women.

“In Muslim patriarchies, men’s authority is underwritten by specific interpretations of ‘Islam.’ I put ‘Islam’ in quotes because, if we are speaking about the Quran, then there is nothing in it — not a single verse — that says women cannot lead a prayer and only men can,” Barlas says. “Nor is there a single statement to the effect that men are morally or religiously or ontologically superior to women. Not one.”