I am an activist in the female authority movement in Islam which means for me shared and equal authority for all Muslims regardless of their gender or sexual orientation/identity/expression.
In 2006, I co-founded with Sohail Mamdani the (now defunct) website progressiveislam.org (with the tagline “Sheep are for Eid”) an open-speech blogging site for Muslims to speak to other Muslims about controversial issues in the community. I organized the women’s health pages on that site on which we discussed gender and sexuality issues, physical and sexual abuse of children and adults, as well as a providing a downloadable pdf on marital rape for distribution in mosque communities (co-authored with Dr. Debra Majeed).
I am a former board member of the Progressive Muslim Union of North America and was the director of the organization’s online presence concerning woman-led prayer following Amina Wadud’s historic prayer in March of 2005.
I have been organizing woman-led prayers since that time, early on with Nakia Jackson, and now with El-Farouk Khaki and Troy Jackson with whom I co-founded Toronto Unity Mosque of Toronto, the first Gender-Equal/LGBTQ-Open prayer space in Canada, and possibly elsewhere (we are eager to learn about and make contact with similar communities around the world). Toronto Unity Mosque also offer resources and guidance to other Muslims to establish their own equal and open juma services. Please visit the website for our mosque and a Toronto Star article highlighting our mosque and vision.
With Ahmed Elewa, I published an article on the permissibility of woman-led prayer according to classical legal principles. That article can be downloaded here.
My blog post in support of woman-led prayer written in 2005 can be found in The Columbia Source Book of Muslims in the United States alongside pieces by Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Imam Zaid Shakir.
For a detailed analysis and history of the woman-led prayer movement and the broader struggle for women’s religious authority in Islam specific to North America, please take a look at Juliane Hammer’s excellent work American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism: More Than a Prayer.