Women-Friendly Mosques Gain Momentum

ISTANBUL— Catering to the needs of Muslim women, a growing number of mosques across the globe are going “female-friendly” by offering more space for women and seeking their  involvement in worship places.2-600x399_compressed post

“We began questioning why we are not catering to women's needs and not creating architecture to meet the needs of men and women,” Fiyaz Mughal, the founder and director of the UK-based non-profit organization Faith Matters, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday, November 16.

“Now, that change has been taking place over the last 10 years and is really starting to show itself today.”

Mughal echoed the requests of millions of Muslim women who have been calling for more accessibility to mosques.

Hatice Eser, a 21-year-old, Turkish student shared a similar request.

“I spend most of my free time outside of home, which means I need a space to pray,” Eser said

“We already have a number of mosques, but the facilities are not satisfactory.”

For Eser and other Muslim women, the dream of a women-friendly mosque will come true soon by the construction of Istanbul’s Çamlica Mosque that will dedicate large space for women with various services.

In a field long dominated by men, a few Turkish women started to get involved in designing mosques in the Muslim-majority country.

With a budget of $66.5 million, Çamlica Mosque is being designed by two female architects, Bahar Mızrak and Hayriye Gül Totu.

Planned to be the biggest in Turkey, the mosque will be built on 30,000 square meter area in the in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul.

The new building will account for “positive discrimination for women,” said Metin Külünk, construction engineer and president of the mosque's foundation.

“With a separate place for women to perform ablution and an elevator taking them to the place where they can pray, women will also be able to use a convenient childcare room,” Külünk added.

A special place for the disabled, a platform where visitors can observe prayers, an Islamic art gallery and museum, a library and a car park for 3,500 vehicles will be also included in the mosque.

Filling Void

Highlighting the importance of female-friendly mosques, Mughal and his colleagues prepared a directory of the 100 most 'women-friendly' mosques in England.

“[It] was initiated to show examples of good practices in relation to the involvement of women in mosques,” Mughal said, referring to the directory.

After its success, the idea of the female-friendly mosques has been adapted by other countries.

A women-friendly mosque, with a combination of Ottoman Islamic architecture and the local traditions of Denmark and Scandinavia, is planned in Denmark's Aarhus city.

Construction will start in 2016 if the local municipality agrees on “a decent location to build the mosque,” said Metin Aydin, the mosque's architect of Turkish-origin.

Approximately 99 percent of Turkey's population is Muslim, the majority of whom are Sunni.

Turkey has thousands of mosques, the most famous of which are Blue Mosque, which is marked with its blue tile work ornamenting its interior walls.

Source : http://www.onislam.net

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