Well, I'm going to be on TV this Wednesday on Vision TV.
Here's the press release:
Muslim women in revolt
360 Vision reports from the front line of a "feminist revolution" in Islam
In a nondescript suburb of Toronto, an unknown American woman makes history. For the first time in any mosque, anywhere, a female voice is heard leading both men and women in prayer. And 360 Vision is there.
In a special report, VisionTV's Gemini Award-nominated current affairs series documents the events leading up to this historic moment. The program airs on Wednesday Jan. 24, at 10 p.m. ET, repeating Monday, Jan. 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Pamela Taylor, the freelance writer and mother of four who led the prayer, says there is a feminist revolution growing within the Muslim world, and that until women are at the front of the mosque, there will be no peace in Islam.
Taylor converted to Islam as a young adult, attracted by the beauty of its theology, its emphasis on social justice, and the many passages in the Qur'an that speak of spiritual equality between the sexes. However, while studying at the University of British Columbia, she was shocked by the segregation of men and women in her mosque.
While studying theology at Harvard, she began to question the role of women in North American mosques. She later watched another Muslim woman face death threats for leading mixed-gender prayer at a church. It was then that Taylor made up her mind: she would be the first to lead prayers in a mosque.
[Note: this is not exactly what happened, I decided that we needed to take some pressure off this other woman -- Amina Wadad -- and that if the opportunity arose I would lead prayers as well. Fortunately for me the opportunity did arise, but not of my own making, rather it was the doing of the Muslim Canadian Congress and the United Muslim Association of Etobicoke. But, that doesn't sound as good for the pr...]
The controversial move would pit her against other Muslims. Even her husband believes that women should not lead mixed congregations.
Here in Canada, a small Toronto-based group was moving in the same direction, trying to organize a woman-led prayer at a local mosque, only to be turned away. Eventually, they held the event in a backyard. Raheel Raza led the prayer.
"I hope this will open doors for many Muslim women who are on the fringe and don't have a safe space in which they can go and pray," Raza tells 360 Vision's Sadia Zaman. "Hopefully this will empower them to understand ... there is nothing in the Qur'an that says a woman can't lead prayer." Undaunted by the controversy, the Toronto group pushed ahead with plans for an event at an Etobicoke, Ont. mosque on Canada Day with Pamela Taylor.
Ottawa-based scientific researcher and consultant Sheema Khan questions the religious arguments used to support the idea of women leading prayer. Still, she acknowledges that it's time for Muslim women to step into leadership roles.
"Our mosques just don't have a place for women ... and I think that's just a metaphor for a wider issue," she tells Zaman. "The wider issue is that the Muslim community ... has not found a way to fully incorporate or use the talents of half of its community."
360 Vision is the only weekly Canadian television program that probes the intersection of spirituality and daily events. Its mandate is to give viewers a compass to help them to navigate the diverse and complex world of belief.
The half-hour weekly series features provocative documentary reports, along with further installments of "Heretics," a series of interviews with world-renowned men and women who have acted on their faith in ways that challenge traditional power structures and orthodoxies.
For more news and information on 360 Vision, please visit http://www.visiontv.ca/