1st woman leader in North America

The biggest Muslim group in North America elected its first female president, a move that indicates growing support for women leaders throughout the Muslim community, the Associated Press news agency reported.

1st woman leader in North America

Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian convert to Islam and an Islamic law scholar at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, was elected to lead the Islamic Society of North America a few days ahead of its annual convention, due to start next Friday in Rosemont, Ill.

Mattson could not immediately be reached for comment, but Sayyid Syeed, secretary general of the Islamic Society, said: "It's a wonderful message to the Muslim community that Muslim women, who are sometimes seen as less, can rise to these positions."

Established in 1963 and based in Indiana, the Islamic Society of North America is an umbrella group that represents Muslim groups for youth, college students and engineers.

The organization also provides support to Muslim chaplains and mosques in North America. Its annual convention is usually attended by more than 30,000 people.

The president of the organization serves a two-year term, leading the group's committees and executive boards that set policy through consultation among members.

There has been debate in recent years over the role of Muslim women in the United States. Most recently, Muslim leaders discussed the separation of men and women in mosques, and whether women should lead mixed-gender prayers.

However, Muslim women play a key role outside of the religious services, setting up and leading several Islamic organizations throughout the United States.

Syeed said the Islamic Society head is rarely called upon to lead mixed-gender prayers in mosques, but added that she will lead prayers for women.

"That does not in any way limit her role as president," Syeed stressed.

Mattson, a married mother of two, earned a bachelor's degree in Canada from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and a doctorate in Islamic studies from the University of Chicago.

She succeeds Sheik Muhammad Nur Abdullah, director for the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, as the Islamic Society president.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16