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Mosques as Gendered Spaces: The Complexity of Women’s Compliance with, And Resistance to, Dominant Gender Norms, And the Importance of Male Allies

Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK
Religions 2019, 10(5), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10050321
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
Women’s presence and role in contemporary mosques in Western Europe is debated within and outside Muslim communities, but research on this topic is scarce. Applying a feminist lens on religion and gender, this article situates the mosque as a socially constituted space that both enables and constrains Western European Muslim women’s religious formation, identity-making, participation, belonging, and activism. Informed by qualitative interviews with twenty Muslim women residing in Norway and the United Kingdom, the article argues that women’s reflexive engagement simultaneously expresses compliance with, and challenges to, male power and authority in the mosque. It contends that a complex practice of accommodation and resistance to “traditional” gender norms is rooted in the women’s discursive positioning of “authentic Islam” as gender equal. While men typically inhabit positions of religious and organizational power in mosques, the article also suggests the importance of male allies in women’s struggles for inclusion in the mosque. View Full-Text
Keywords: authentic Islam; imams; inclusion; mosque governance; mosques; Muslim women authentic Islam; imams; inclusion; mosque governance; mosques; Muslim women
MDPI and ACS Style

Nyhagen, L. Mosques as Gendered Spaces: The Complexity of Women’s Compliance with, And Resistance to, Dominant Gender Norms, And the Importance of Male Allies. Religions 2019, 10, 321.

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