THE ORGANISER of a seminar aimed at increasing female participation in Islamic religious institutions intends to continue her


after the success of a day-long workshop.

Dr Sahira Dar, chair and founder of Vibrant Scottish Mosques, aims to build on the organisation’s “management and leadership training masterclass”, held in Scotland last month.

Speaking to Asian Image, she said: “We have been approached by many motivated women who wish to be active participants on their local mosque committees. Our aim is to advise and support them and offer a place where they can share good practices.

“Those committees which place greater emphasis on diversity, which includes working towards a better gender balance, are more reflective of the communities they serve.

"They bring with them a different perspective and can draw on different resources, therefore able to provide various services outwith prayer and Quran classes. I’m referring to mother and toddler groups, counselling, leisure activities to name a few.”

Dr Dar added that some of those who participated in the training had approached imams at their local mosques, highlighting the significance of “inclusivity”, along with the importance of increasing provisions for females and young women.

She concluded with: “From my research and experience it was those mosques that had active female participation that quickly responded to challenges of Covid.”

Shaukat Warraich, CEO of Faith Associates, led the workshop in Glasgow. He covered a number of subjects, including the impact of the pandemic on Islamic places of worship, along with those mosques which had gained Beacon status.

He believed that those mosques which “quickly adapted” went on to “survive and thrive” due to the “emergence of new diverse leadership”. He added that the Muslim community had “stepped up” during the pandemic by becoming “focal points” in their local communities.

He explained: “Mosques have served entire communities and not just local Muslims and that’s the role of a mosque, serving all of humanity. They have set up food banks, provided provisions for asylum seekers and refugees, and acted as vaccination centres. I feel that from a non-Muslim perspective, the perception of mosques has totally changed.”