All-Female Mosques in China

One of the stereotypes of Islam is that  it forces women to be subservient and prevents them from full participation in society. While there are societies that I would argue do misappropriate the faith to serve their own interpretations, numerous examples exist of how Muslim women not only participate, but take on leadership roles. One such example is in China where Muslim women not only have their own mosques, but also have their own female imams.

China is not often thought of when one discusses Islam, but it should be. Not only does it have over 20 million Muslims (much larger than the American Muslim population), it has the unique tradition of independent all-women mosques. Some of these mosques date from over 100 years ago and the imams are formally trained. Many of the women’s mosques began as Qur’anic schools for girls, providing education they were not able to find elsewhere. Continue reading



Regions & Themes


Lectures: Islam in Russia and the NIS

Back to Eastern Europe and Central Asia

This series of digital lectures provides an overview of Islam in the Russian Federation, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. In this series, prominent scholars of history, sociology, religious studies, and literature discuss themes such as the history of Islam in the region, how religious belief and practice survived seven decades of state-sponsored atheism during the Soviet period, and the reemergence of Islamic practice, culture, and scholarship today in Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. The lectures were originally recorded in June 2008 during a three-day a workshop for middle- and high school teachers, sponsored by the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Continue reading