Pray-In Updates & Merging Oursides Blog

At the most recent pray-in at the Islamic Center of Washington DC, we made progress with some of the mosque officials. One male staffer held the front door open for us as we entered the main prayer hall. And when the women began to offer their sunnah prayers, the acting imam for that day defended our presence and our right to pray in the main hall outside of the “penalty box.

The acting imam also overruled one male staffer who said he wanted to call the police to remove us. The imam mentioned the hadith referring to the best rows for the men and women to pray and told the small circle of men who had gathered around that it was none of their concern where we prayed.

It’s so inspiring how the simple act of praying can be both an act of complete submission and revolutionary. Pray-ins present a direct challenge to those who wish to keep women marginalized in the Muslim community.

In today’s USA Today, journalist and author, Asra Nomani argues that mosques and other houses of worship should lose their tax-exempt status if the discriminate based on gender. The local and federal government has already legislated non-discrimination clauses for a variety of protected classes.

Going forward, I’m going to discontinue posting to my Oursides: Muslim Women’s Prayer Spaces photoblog and post here instead.

Unidentified mosque staffers

Sorry for the blurry pictures, one of the mosque officials (pictured left in an orange fleece from an earlier pray-in) was harassing me to not take photos while he himself proceeded to take photos of me. He encouraged us to pray in the penalty box, which was closed off more than usual with yellow caution tape.


  1. salaam alaykum. sorry about your experience…you really should go to imam al asi’s khutbah’s will learn much more than you will ever learn inside the ‘mosque’. you are very lucky to be so close to such a great teacher, a truly committed muslim – i would kill for the opportunity to attend jumuah with him at the mimbar…street or wherever, im sure you know the history behind that!! wasalaam. shingi

  2. Wa alaykum salaam shingi, I’ve only been to jumu’ah at the Islamic Center once and have no intention of going back. Maybe things have since change but the day I went the women were forced to pray into a very small and narrow space with that cheap faux grass carpeting. There were no visuals at all and only piped-in audio. The room was stifling.

    I prefer in places where women are not forced behind a barrier or in a separate space and we can see and hear the imam directly.

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