A online survey entitled “Women’s Perceptions of the Mosque” was run in 2019 by The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK. The survey built upon a local study of women in Nottingham run by the An-Nisa Network in 2013-14 and has gathered initial data on this topic. In January 2020:
- The #WomeninMosques Conversation Toolkit (see below) was launched to encourage community members (female and male) to hold focus group sessions to discuss the issue and generate practical solutions at a local level.
- The data gathered will also be reviewed and used to publish a report with practical recommendations for mosque leadership teams, community activists and wider Muslim civil society organisations to address the issue and make access better for Muslim women at mosques in Britain today.
Toolkit Top Tips
Once you’ve found 3-8 people to take part in the conversation (either all female, or male & female), you should:
- Choose A Time: Find a time when people meet already at your local mosque or other venue. This could be for a halaqa, class, a coffee morning, after daily prayers or the jumma prayer. The conservation duration should be circa 60-90 minutes.
- Choose A Venue: Your local mosque is a good location provided you can guarantee a quiet spot without interruption. A coffee shop or public venue or homes can also work, but beware of disruptions. Choose the location based on your attendees preferences.
- Promote: Once you’ve chosen a time and a venue, publicise this among your 3-8 participants and ask them to confirm their attendance.
- On The Day: Appoint one person as chair, whose responsibility it is to ask the questions, run the session, and keep the conversation fair and flowing.
Download the toolkit for more top tips and guidance on organising your conversation.
Why is this important?
One of the conclusions of Citizens UK The Missing Muslims report (2017) was that: “What is clear is that there is no shortage of talented [Muslim] women who could make a significant contribution both to the UK and to their own community, if some of the barriers standing in their way could be removed.”
One of these barriers internal to Muslim communities is access to the mosque, with “many mosques remain wanting in respect to standards of governance and many are not welcoming to women’s participation at any serious level.”