Is Sherin Khankan the future of Islam?

She is a controversial figure – not just as a female imam, but as a woman who has called for the reformation of Islam with a feminist agenda. Janice Turner meets Sherin Khankan at Europe’s first all-female mosque

Sherin Khankan, 43, at the Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen
Sherin Khankan, 43, at the Mariam Mosque in CopenhagenJUDE EDGINTON

Last year Sherin Khankan’s husband gave her an ultimatum: she could continue as Denmark’s first female imam or remain his wife. “Blood will be spilt and marriages dissolved when women challenge male dominance,” she concludes in her new book. “That’s the price of change. I know, because it happened to me.”

It was not that Imran Sarwar opposed her creation of the Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen where she leads women – both veiled and bare-headed – in Friday prayers. Rather, Khankan insists, he was concerned for their four young children and frightened for her. When a Le Monde journalist asked what trait enabled his wife to combat Islamists and Islamophobes alike, he replied, “Fearlessness.” “And he’s afraid of that fearlessness,” she says. “I think that many people…

Janice Turner


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