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Full Access Gender Justice in a Prayer: American Muslim Women’sExegesis, Authority, and Leadership

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Gender Justice in a Prayer: American Muslim Women’sExegesis, Authority, and Leadership

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The 2005 woman-led Friday prayer in New York City generated broad media attention and significant levels of intra-Muslim debates about women’s inclusion in mosques, gender roles, and textual interpretation. This essay examines the prayer event within the larger context of American Muslim women’s contributions to reinterpretations of the Qur’an and their negotiations of religious authority, leadership roles, and mosque spaces in a North American context. The essay is based on the writings of American Muslim women on gender discourses and on media coverage, documentaries, and Internet sources produced by and about them. I argue that some of the initiatives toward gender inclusiveness in American mosques and communities should be read as an embodiment of gender-just interpretations of the Qur’an, and as products of particularly American and transnational constellations of Muslim discourses on gender. Another women’s ‘sit-in’ at the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., in February of 2010 serves as an epilogue to the essay.

Affiliations: 1: George Mason University, Email: jhammer1@gmu.edu

10.1163/156920810X504531
/content/journals/10.1163/156920810x504531
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The 2005 woman-led Friday prayer in New York City generated broad media attention and significant levels of intra-Muslim debates about women’s inclusion in mosques, gender roles, and textual interpretation. This essay examines the prayer event within the larger context of American Muslim women’s contributions to reinterpretations of the Qur’an and their negotiations of religious authority, leadership roles, and mosque spaces in a North American context. The essay is based on the writings of American Muslim women on gender discourses and on media coverage, documentaries, and Internet sources produced by and about them. I argue that some of the initiatives toward gender inclusiveness in American mosques and communities should be read as an embodiment of gender-just interpretations of the Qur’an, and as products of particularly American and transnational constellations of Muslim discourses on gender. Another women’s ‘sit-in’ at the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., in February of 2010 serves as an epilogue to the essay.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156920810x504531
2010-07-01
2016-12-02

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