October 17, 2008

Anger at woman leading Muslim prayers

by David Masters

A woman is to lead Muslims in their Friday prayers for the first time ever in Britain today, at an Oxford education centre.

Islamic scholar, Professor Amina Wadud, will lead the congregation in prayer at the Banbury Road Muslim Education Centre and deliver the khutba, or sermon.

Wadud is famous for leading a Muslim prayer service in New York at an Anglican church.

The church location was chosen because local mosques refused to allow a woman to lead prayers.

A museum that had agreed to host the prayers pulled out after it received a bomb threat.

Following the New York service, Wadud received death threats from angry conservative Muslims.

Today’s event in Oxford – which will mark the opening of a conference on Islam and feminism – has also sparked anger among traditionalists, who say the Qur’an clearly states that prayer should be led by men.

Police will on standby at the service to ensure that any protests do not get out of hand.

Organisers of the service are celebrating it as a ‘leap forward’ for Islamic theology.

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