Women in Britain’s First Muslim Mosques

Women in Britain’s First Muslim Mosques

Women in Britain’s First Muslim Mosques: Hidden from History, but Not Without Influence

Sariya Cheruvallil‐Contractor

Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 2TL, UK; ac0967@coventry.ac.uk

Received: 30 November 2019; Accepted: 26 January 2020; Published: 28 January 2020

Abstract: Two of the earliest Muslim communities in Britain evolved around the first mosques in Liverpool and Woking (both—1889). The history of these early British Muslims is being recovered but little is known about the women (usually converts) in these communities. This article will draw upon original findings from archival research, to examine ‘leadership’ that women in these communities undertook and their influence in shaping their nascent British Muslim communities. The practical, theological and philosophical negotiations around gender roles, female leadership, and veiling and the social contexts within which they took place are examined. By uncovering historical responses to issues that remain topical in British Muslim communities, this article provides historical grounding for contemporary debates about female Muslim leadership in British Muslim communities.

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