The first mosque in which men and women pray together opened last month in Berkeley, near the city of San Francisco. Mrs. Rabaa Kabili, founder of « Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque » describes it as « a place for women to worship in the sanctuary, to not be hidden away in dank rooms ».
At Qal’bu Maryam, there is no imam (the cleric who conducts worship at a mosque). Rather, female lay leaders will rotate in leading the prayers and the talks.
Generally, mosques around the world admit both genders but separate men from women. Thus, this experience has drawn widespread criticism from Muslims who strongly opposed it as a violation of the rules of the Islamic religion.
Keeble is a 40-something convert from Christianity with a master’s degree in religious leadership from the Starr King School of Ministry, a seminary affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley which has donated space for the mosque.