Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World

Muslim Women’s Religious Leadership and Authority in Europe and North America

Thursday 13th – Friday 14th September 2018, University of Edinburgh (Appleton Tower, 11 Crichton Street, EH8 9LE)

Organisers: Khadijah Elshayyal (Alwaleed Centre, University of Edinburgh), Giulia Liberatore (Sociology & Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies/Alwaleed Centre, University of Edinburgh) and Tazeen Ali (Religious Studies, Boston University).

All workshop inquiries: muslimwomensleadership@gmail.com

The workshop will be taking place in the University of Edinburgh's Appleton Tower (Lecture Theatre 4). To find the venue, click HERE.

Workshop Overview

The rise of female Islamic scholarship and leadership in the non-Muslim world is a relatively recent phenomenon that is garnering increasing public attention. Growing opportunities for women to train as scholars, both abroad and across Europe and the US, have facilitated this process and given rise to a number of institutions – for example, the Women’s Mosque of America in Los Angeles, the Muslim Women’s Council in Bradford, England, and the Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen – which actively promote and disseminate female scholarship. Exchanges between female scholars and teachers in North America and Europe do occur, but there are also differences in the experiences, opportunities, forms of teaching, and modes of authority of these public figures across the two continents. Despite public attention devoted to this topic, academic research has been limited. Furthermore, and reflecting a broader trend in the literature on Islam in the West, there is little comparative work on female Islamic scholarship across the two continents.

This interdisciplinary workshop aims to facilitate a dialogue and scholarly exchange on the topic of Islamic female scholarship and leadership. We will be welcoming scholars and practitioners from a range of fields and disciplines to explore these topics and shed light on female Islamic leadership in Europe and North America. The provisional programme can be found below.

Book Your Place

We invite anyone with an interest in this workshop to attend as a workshop delegate. If you would like to attend, please register via the link below. The delegate fees are as follows:

Full Workshop: £40 (student rate £30)

Day 1 only: £20 (student rate £15)

Day 2 only: £20 (student rate £15)

Delegate fees include lunch and refreshments.


Full Programme

Day 1: Thursday 13th September

9.30: Welcome

9.45-11.15: Panel 1: Historical and Transnational Perspectives

Chair: Giulia Liberatore (University of Edinburgh)

Alaina Morgan (Stanford University) Memories of Protest: Bermudian Muslim Women's Educational Leadership – community, memory and transnational alliances, 1977-1990.

Agata S. Nalborczyk (University of Warsaw) Female Leadership in Polish Tatar communities: a decline?

Freeha Riaz (Rutgers University) elder African-American women as role models.

11.15-11.45: Coffee break

11.45-13.30 Panel 2: Muslim women’s religious leadership in the UK

Chair: Khadijah Elshayyal (University of Edinburgh)

Arzoo Ahmed (Centre for Islam and Medicine & King’s College London) Mapping Muslim female scholarship and leadership in the UK.

Alyaa Ebbiary (SOAS, University of London) ‘You can teach the sisters’: Muslim women, education and religious authority in Britain.

Giulia Liberatore (University of Edinburgh) Female Islamic scholarship and guidance in Britain.

Qudsia Mirza (Birkbeck, University of London) Female interpretive authority and expert evidence in family law cases in England and Wales.

13.30-14.30: Lunch

14.30-16.15: Panel 3: Activism as leadership

Chair: Tazeen Ali (Boston University)

Malika Hamidi (EHESS, Paris) ‘Muslim feminist revolution’: spirituality and resistance.

Madinah Javed (Andalus, Glasgow) Spiritual activism: leadership as service.

Maha Noureldin – Gender segregation and women’s leadership in US mosques.

Katrina Daly Thompson (University of Wisconsin, Madison) Gender and sexuality in community: praying as a progressive.

16.15-17.30: Extended Break

17.30-19.00: Keynote Lucture: amina wadud: Towards a Democratization of Authority in Islam

Chaired by Nacim Pak-Shiraz (University of Edinburgh)

Day 2: Friday 14th September

9.30-11.15: Panel 4: Language(s) and terminologies

Chair: Elvire Corboz (University of Edinburgh)

Simonetta Calderini (University of Roehampton) How do you define a ‘female imam’? Uses, developments and adaptations of the term ‘imam’ in the European context.

Jesper Petersen (Lund University) The linguistic frame of Islamic feminism.

Anna-Maria Ramezanzadeh (University of Oxford) Literacy, legitimacy and leadership: Arabic as the missing link.

Mussurut Zia The lived realities of Muslim women in the UK: qiwamah and wilayah

11.15-11.30: Coffee Break

11.30-13.00: Keynote Lecture: Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster University) Rethinking Gender in the Study of the Qur'an and its Interpretation

Chaired by Professor Hugh Goddard (University of Edinburgh)

13.00-13.45: Lunch

14.00-15.45: Roundtable Discussion: Opportunities and constraints for female scholars in Europe and North America.

Chair: Shuruq Naguib

Najah Nadi Ahmed (Cambridge Muslim College)

Safiyya Dhorat (Ebrahim College & Al Muhsinat)

Tamara Gray (Rabata)

Halima Hussain (Inclusive Mosque Initiative)

16.00: Departures


All workshop inquiries: muslimwomensleadership@gmail.com