Manhattan’s Soho stages historic breakthrough for Islam

In an event organized by the progressive Islamic organization Muslim Wake Up!, the traditional Friday prayers will be led March 18 by a woman, Amina Wadud, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Hailed as an historic first for Islam, the prayers will be held at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Lower Manhattan’s Soho district. The event has already resulted in death threats for some of its organizers, Newsday reported March 10. Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid of Harlem’s Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood, deputy amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), has dismissed the event as a "publicity stunt." Wadud, who argues that women’s equality is rooted in the Koran, said she had no interest in "putting on a show." She told Newsday: "My intention is to participate in demonstrating that it is possible for worship to be led by women, as well as by men."