Side Entrance
"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. 

It was after Asr and folks were bustling out of the mosque. A swirl of starched white over garments, bright headscarves and ebony skin filled the doorway. A lady sat on the prayer carpet with an infant nestled in her lap. Her oversized scarf covered the sleeping baby protecting him from the flies. She looked like she was young.

Suddenly she busted out in a song. Her voice echoed throughout the mosque getting louder and louder. Her eyes were closed and her body swayed to the melody. She sounded strong yet her undertones were soft just like a woman. She was singing a Nigerian (Hausa) nasheed (song of worship).

She sang like she was in her kitchen preparing a meal or perhaps lulling her baby to sleep. Her voice was beautiful and my heart connected to her words, though they were foreign. Onlookers would take a quick glance but kept going about their business.

No one stopped her.

No one scolded her.

They let her sing.

She claimed her space and rightfully so, or maybe in my mind that’s what she did. It was refreshing for me to witness this moment. Even though I don’t understand a lick of Hausa I connected to her song. Almost like she was singing for me as well.

When I come back to certain parts of Africa I have these moments where I am reminded of the status women embody. Women are an inclusive part of society and are not viewed as problems or temptresses, contrary to the communities I was raised in.

Muslim communities in the US could learn a thing or two about the treatment of women in majority Muslim African countries.

American nurse Ihssan Tahir, on her experience in Kaolack, Senegal
When I was in Hartford, I had the chance to pray at the new Farmington Valley American Muslim Center. You may think praying in a former church would be distracting but there were elements, i.e., the high ceiling and dim lighting, that are more conducive to prayer than the blaring office lights I have encountered in some masajid. Of course, money is an issue. But it was not only that this building was purpose-built with worship in mind but also that the Muslims who took over made a deliberate decision to allow women in the main prayer hall to the side. This meant that when there was a sajda I immediately knew and was not standing for several seconds puzzled. If dress is such an issue, I quickly realized that one is more apt to wear modest clothing to the masjid if they know the other gender is within view. It’s been a long time since I entered the mosque and felt like I was a human being and not an optional appendage to the “true” worshippers.
Tricia Veknach
"Yummy iftar & prayers at the not yet finished Gwynn Oak Islamic Center in Baltimore. No #SideEntrance, no barrier.” Photo submitted by Ify Okoye

"Yummy iftar & prayers at the not yet finished Gwynn Oak Islamic Center in Baltimore. No , no barrier.” Photo submitted by Ify Okoye

"Friday prayer at Masjid as-Saffat (est. 1971) in Baltimore, beautiful yet simple one-room space, no Side Entrance" Photo submitted by Ify Okoye

"Friday prayer at Masjid as-Saffat (est. 1971) in Baltimore, beautiful yet simple one-room space, no Side Entrance" Photo submitted by Ify Okoye

Women and men pray Taraweeh in the same hall at Ashton Place, in Willowbrook, IL. The community is currently building a mosque, with plans for two spaces for women: one space in the main hall and the second space for women who wish to pray in a separate room. Photo submitted by Dr. Calara Hardin

Women and men pray Taraweeh in the same hall at Ashton Place, in Willowbrook, IL. The community is currently building a mosque, with plans for two spaces for women: one space in the main hall and the second space for women who wish to pray in a separate room. Photo submitted by Dr. Calara Hardin