Asra Nomani and I have a “e-relationship.” I first heard about her in 2003 when she and her mother, Sajida, entered their mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia, by the front door and prayed in the same room with men. By gender-integrating the mosque, they broke a practice on the rise in many mosques in which women are forced to pray behind partitions or in basements. I e-mailed Asra right away to send my support and find out more about her and the movement of progressive Muslim women that she’s helped to shape. We’ve been “e-friends” ever since.
Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, has been very generous in introducing the readers of Sojourners magazine to the progressive face of Islam. In the latest issue of Sojourners, her article “A Faith of Their Own” highlights another aspect of the gender jihad – namely, Muslim women reforming male-controlled Islamic jurisprudence. Also listen to Amy Goodman’s recent interview with Asra on “Democracy Now!”
Rose Marie Berger is an Associate Editor and Poetry Editor for Sojourners magazine.