Female Imam Zara Mohammed BBC Interview
Newly-elected Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General Zara Mohammed‘s interview with BBC Woman’s Hour went viral when she was asked by the presenter why there are no female imams. Social media was flooded with responses supporting Zara Mohammed answering to a difficult line of questioning. Islam Channel’s Digital Producer Nailah Edwards re-watches the interview and reacts
BBC’s controversial interview with Zara Mohammed | Nailah Edwards
The BBC recently interviewed the first female secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Zara Mohammed. During the interview, the presenter asked a controversial question, “Why are there no female imams in the UK?” This has sparked a lot of conversation online, and we’re going to be reacting to it today.
Presenter: In Britain, as far as I’m aware, there are no female imams. And I was wondering why that was the case and whether that’s something that you would like to see change.
Zara Mohammed: So, I think that’s a really interesting point because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the Islamic faith. There are different perspectives and different understandings, and so the role of the imam is really to be a scholar and a teacher and to lead the prayer.
So, the presenter’s question is a common one, but it’s also a problematic one. It assumes that there’s a lack of female leadership within Islam when that’s not necessarily the case.
So, there are actually women who are imams, but they might not necessarily be called imams. They might be called scholars or teachers.
As the Muslim woman in the clip explains, there are women who are scholars and teachers in Islam. They may not have the title of “imam,” but they are still leaders in their communities.
Zara Mohammed: We have women leading prayer in their communities, we have women who are chaplains in hospitals, in universities, in prisons. So, I think the question isn’t necessarily “Why aren’t there female imams?” but it’s “How can we support women in leadership positions within the Islamic faith?”
Zara Mohammed makes an excellent point. Rather than focusing on whether or not there are female imams, we should be asking how we can support women in leadership positions within the Islamic faith. Women are already making significant contributions to their communities, and we should be celebrating that.
There are women who are doing incredible work within their communities but maybe aren’t given the same platform or the same recognition as some of their male counterparts.
So, rather than focusing on the absence of female imams, we should be highlighting the work that women are already doing in their communities, and supporting them in their endeavours.