Side Entrance
"Ramadan 27 - waiting for the start of taraweeh prayers at the central German-speaking I.I.S Mosque in Frankfurt, Germany. The men’s section has two entrances - one from the street and one from the parking lot; the women’s entrance is separate and also from the parking lot. Barriers are normally lower during jummah prayers and one can see the khateeb depending on where one sits." Photo submitted by Sarah Karim

"Ramadan 27 - waiting for the start of taraweeh prayers at the central German-speaking I.I.S Mosque in Frankfurt, Germany. The men’s section has two entrances - one from the street and one from the parking lot; the women’s entrance is separate and also from the parking lot. Barriers are normally lower during jummah prayers and one can see the khateeb depending on where one sits." Photo submitted by Sarah Karim

"Ramadan 29: gathering for a Khatam-ul-Quran during taraweeh (night prayers), Frankfurt, Germany.
Pak Muhammadi Moschee in Frankfurt, Germany. Men and women enter from opposite sides of the building, with the women’s section on the 2nd floor (German 1st floor).
It could have been any desi mosque in the US, complete with crooked saf (rows) until announcements had to be made to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder,’ the political differences with the two other desi mosques 10 minutes away, the shalwar kameezes worn by almost all, the aunty that berated me for not wearing more make-up and jewelry given its my first year of marriage and the toddlers and kids in the back room intermittently crying for their mothers.  Yet, the announcements were successively in German and Urdu (the primary two languages of the attendees), with a space accommodating for women with equal (but separate) entrances and a wide open, comfortably air-conditioned (a rarity in Germany for any building!) space with soft carpets.  An incredibly different cultural experience (culture shock?) from the German-only speaking multi-ethnic women-accommodating central Frankfurt mosque, but the pakoras, desi fruit chaat and duaa in a language I can speak and understand - Urdu - just hit the right (spiritual) spot. Alhamdulillah.” Photo submitted by Sarah Karim, living in Frankfurt, Germany

"Ramadan 29: gathering for a Khatam-ul-Quran during taraweeh (night prayers), Frankfurt, Germany.

Pak Muhammadi Moschee in Frankfurt, Germany. Men and women enter from opposite sides of the building, with the women’s section on the 2nd floor (German 1st floor).

It could have been any desi mosque in the US, complete with crooked saf (rows) until announcements had to be made to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder,’ the political differences with the two other desi mosques 10 minutes away, the shalwar kameezes worn by almost all, the aunty that berated me for not wearing more make-up and jewelry given its my first year of marriage and the toddlers and kids in the back room intermittently crying for their mothers.

Yet, the announcements were successively in German and Urdu (the primary two languages of the attendees), with a space accommodating for women with equal (but separate) entrances and a wide open, comfortably air-conditioned (a rarity in Germany for any building!) space with soft carpets.


An incredibly different cultural experience (culture shock?) from the German-only speaking multi-ethnic women-accommodating central Frankfurt mosque, but the pakoras, desi fruit chaat and duaa in a language I can speak and understand - Urdu - just hit the right (spiritual) spot. Alhamdulillah.” Photo submitted by Sarah Karim, living in Frankfurt, Germany

"After a delicious iftar at Anmol on Devon Avenue, we headed to Tahoora for some falooda. All three of us are converts, always left out in some capacity and never feeling 100% accepted by any one mosque or community. We open the door to the men’s entrance, see that no one is there and decide to all pray isha together. As we walk out, Shyam says "let’s take a photo of you two by the door to send to Side Entrance!" Submitted by Agnieszka Karoluk, photo taken by Shyam Sriram.

"After a delicious iftar at Anmol on Devon Avenue, we headed to Tahoora for some falooda. All three of us are converts, always left out in some capacity and never feeling 100% accepted by any one mosque or community. We open the door to the men’s entrance, see that no one is there and decide to all pray isha together. As we walk out, Shyam says "let’s take a photo of you two by the door to send to Side Entrance!" Submitted by Agnieszka Karoluk, photo taken by Shyam Sriram.

So the other night me and Mr were out shopping before iftar… We went to mosque we’d never been to before and it was absolutely beautiful… The women’s section, however, was the size of a small closet. So after prayer, we leave… We were gonna have dinner and go back so I told my husband about the women’s section, he said “Oh uh uh. We’ll go to one closer to home”… We get closer to home and drive by another masjid, people were crowded around outside, I roll down the window “ASA, Wheres the women’s entrance”… response, “There’s no women allowed inside”. So Mr. says you know what, never mind, I will lead you in salat at our home…. And that made me feel sooo good but sooo sad at the same time. We have to do better about being more welcoming to women. There’s no reason I should live in a metro area and not be able to find a decent space to pray for miles and miles! May Allah guide us and bless our communities with the compassion and willingness to make the houses of Allah as welcoming to women as they are for men.
Ameenah Doumbia, Chicago IL
"At the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, the Womens entrance is around the corner of the huge building. This is the prayer area, which is upstairs is for women with NO CHILDREN only." Photo submitted by Umm Yaqoub

"At the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, the Womens entrance is around the corner of the huge building. This is the prayer area, which is upstairs is for women with NO CHILDREN only." Photo submitted by Umm Yaqoub

Children & Segregated Vs. Mixed Congregations

"When my kids pray in a Mosque where brothers and sisters pray in the same space (like As-Salam Center in Boca Raton, FL), they are very peaceful, in awe and reverence. They are more attentive to what the Imam is saying and they generally have a more religious/spiritual experience.

Contrast this to when they pray in the Mosque where the sisters pray in a different area and where sisters with children in yet another special room, they become very agitated. They don’t behave like they are in a house of worship. Especially because most of the times the other kids have made a zoo where chaos is running amok in that room for children. Its definitely a very palpably distinct experience, these two scenarios.” Submitted by Umm Yaqoub

May Allah protect our children and preserve true, sincere faith in their hearts.”

"Women (at the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, FL) with any children (loud or quiet) have to pray in this very noisy room with tons of little toys everywhere." Photo submitted by Umm Yaqoub

"Women (at the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, FL) with any children (loud or quiet) have to pray in this very noisy room with tons of little toys everywhere." Photo submitted by Umm Yaqoub

"About a mile down from As Salam Center, is the Islamic Center of Boca Raton. This is the beautiful Men’s prayer area. Women who have dared to pray in the back (when the sisters area is locked) have been told they are not allowed to do so." Photo submitted by Umm Yaqoub

"About a mile down from As Salam Center, is the Islamic Center of Boca Raton. This is the beautiful Men’s prayer area. Women who have dared to pray in the back (when the sisters area is locked) have been told they are not allowed to do so." Photo submitted by Umm Yaqoub

As Salam Center, a Mosque in Boca Raton, FL where brothers and sisters pray in the same main sanctuary. My kids always enjoy praying here and feeling part of the congregation. Contrast this with pictures from a Mosque not even one mile down the road. 

As Salam Center, a Mosque in Boca Raton, FL where brothers and sisters pray in the same main sanctuary. My kids always enjoy praying here and feeling part of the congregation. Contrast this with pictures from a Mosque not even one mile down the road.