Submission from Norway

I saw your trailer on youtube a while ago and subsequently found your website, read submissions, etc. and have now pre-ordered the documentary. Am I living in the US? No, I actually live in Norway, but was born and raised in Germany. Interestingly enough though, the subject spoke to me regardless, which makes me think that this is a problem muslims face in many many countries....I`ve also lived in Jordan for a year and can therefore compare things a bit.
When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in the masjid in my hometown in Germany. I loved it - activities, friends, everything was going on in the mosque! I think I was too little to understand certain things, plus when you experience them since you were small, you think they must be normal: the trashbins in front of the womens entrance, the dirty carpet, the broken devices...I never saw the imam, and most of the time I didn`t understand him either. As I was growing up I realized that in a way the girls group I was a part of was maybe the only really active group in the mosqued - pretty confined to our own room and with no contact to anyone else, but as long as we kept to ourselves and didn`t ask for anything...then the "open house" day came along, and guess who suddenly was asked to clean the mosque and the bathroom - yes....the women. And those uncles that had screamed at us when we came to the mosque from the window close to the womens entrance, asking who we were, what our fathers name was and what exactly we wanted in the mosques - were now in the name of dawa shaking hand with nonmuslim women who could even enter the mens prayer hall on the Open House Day. That hurt.

Never mind all those days we would come to the mosque and the door was locked. I remember one winter day, it was freezing with the first snow falling, and the door was locked. At that time it didn`t even occur to me that I could enter through the mens entrance - I prayed outside, on my jacket.

Years later that same masjid built a new building. We were thrilled - then we realized that our ideas and thoughts were of course not listened to. When the new building was finished....the women had a nice, new room, with an Aya on the wall: "And stay in your homes and do not display yourselves like the ways of the time of ignorance. And establish the prayer, pay the zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger...} Al-Ahzaab:33

Additionally, almost as a way to help women to "stay" in our homes, the womens entrance was not on ground level but had to be reached by walking up around 30 stairs, which is nonsense when you think about women with prams, with toddlers, maybe more than one. Oh, and to reach the womens bathroom you had to step out of the womens prayer hall, walk down about 15 of those 30 stairs, and enter through another door. Very convenient, especially during the winter / with kids, etc....

Because this is getting too long I will not write about the mosques in Jordan or Norway.....

As I`m writing this I`m asking myself - why on earth did we, the women, endure this? Why didn`t we protest? I guess it`s part of that experience, you become mute in a way...

Thank you and jazakumuLLAHUkhayran to the filmmakers and everyone involved. You have done a huge service to muslimes everywhere by highlighting this issue, may Allah reward you - and may we, the muslims, start doing the right thing inshaAllah...

Film review by Heather Swindell

Salam aleikum. I just finished watching the documentary. SubhanAllah. You guys put into words everything I've felt when it comes to dealing with the masajid I've attended since I converted to Islam in April 2011. I've attended three different masajid, and two of those three were rife with pretty much every issue outlined by this documentary. I attended another masjid once, but was so turned off by their begging for money and the PVC-pipe-and-plastic-tarp partition to hide the women that I never went back. (I still need to go back there, if only to snap a picture of that dreadful "partition" for Side Entrance, inshAllah.) I believe this documentary should be seen in every masjid and Muslim community - and the ones who think "we don't have this problem" are the ones who may need it the most (or they may be a fortunate minority of masajid who are honestly functioning and being relevant and meeting the needs of the community). The situation in too many communities is CRITICAL - illustrated in the ending photo of a masjid with a "For Rent" sign in the window. The opportunities for real dialogue and transparency between mosque boards, imams, and the communities they're meant to serve are long overdue. I can't wait to go back to my masjid and ask them to show this documentary and get a dialogue started, inshAllah. JazakAllah khairan for this.

Post by Mary Jean

And to all the brothers who say this film may be bias, come make salaat in a shoe room, someday. Try not being able to see the beauty of the masjid because you've never been inside or seen the minbar. It's especially hard hitting when your marginalized because your a convert. For me, this film hits home.

Post by Amjad Tarsin

"Girl takes her shahada at the masjid today. Guy on the mic announcing her shahada says, "Brothers, get in line if you want to marry her!"  That's not the adab of Islam."

Comments -> 

Abdul Belgasem That's just an ugly thing to say during the best moment! Just totally kills the whole beauty of the Shahada period! Someone should actual educate the person saying that... It maybe okay but not the greatest way to welcome someone into this Religion... Also makes us seem like dogs can't wait to be let out of the cage...

Ahmed Salim i'm pretty sure the guy was joking, and best case scenario, she just did that awkward laugh that everyone does when the joke isn't really all that funny and then forgot about it. well, maybe she won't forget, but i don't see why that wouldnt become a funny story. the guy is the one who needs some sensitivity training though, since that could constitute sexual harassment. dude probably doesn't have enough experience talking to women, poor guy lol

Veda Sultanfuss I have had this conversation many times... As a convert we dont feel safe or respected i can only speak for women here. But comments like this or being told are "culture" isnt good enough therefore i need to be desi or arab to be muslim enough?! Or the authenticity issue where converts couldnt possibly know anything.... What can we do...

Kameelah Mu'Min Rashad Horrifying and heartbreaking. I pray your wife is able to connect with her.

Film Reflection by Shaykha Muslema Parmul

I'm inspired by film-maker Ahmed Eid and the team that produced the documentary "Un-mosqued." The film is a conversation starter and as such, allows an audience to nuance their thought through the discussion that follows.

The Orange County screening was also very blessed to have Dr. Jackson co- host the discussion and bring even more layers to the way we think about engagement of masajid.

I encourage folks who are hesitant to watch the documentary first before making a call on its worth. A good conversation reflects many points of view and this was something I appreciated both within the documentary and the discussion it sparked afterwards.

I would also encourage communities to host a screening, and make it a reason to come together explore the possibilities of the future together. Let's build.

‪#‎unmosqued‬ ‪#‎remosqued‬

Mersiha Hadziahmetovic-Rashid on "Haram Police"

 I'm sick and tired of the haram police. No wonder <5% of American Muslims attend a masjid. It's because you make Islam hard when it's not supposed to be hard. Air, grass and water are not the only halal things. If men and women can pray together at the holiest of sites, well by golly, they sure should be able to pray together in small town America!!! And women in the saws's time were included in everything, in fact women would chime in during khutbas, which Implies they sat near to saws and other men so that everyone could hear their comments. So, stop it already with your petty issues and stop injecting sexual thoughts where nobody is even thinking about that. You're SO losing the forest for the trees. As long as this stupid theme of ostracizing women persists, the Ummah will be nothing more than a hemiplegic body, ie, not capable of solving its own problems, let alone contribute anything worthwhile to society at large.

Source: Comments

Reflection by Abdul Nasir Jangda

“I have a mother, a younger sister, a wife and two daughters. And I worry about how I will explain to my two baby girls why they are second class citizens in our mosques.”

Abdul Nasir Jangda, the founder and director of the Qalam Institute in Dallas, TX at #isnaMosqueForum2014

Photos from Masjid Noor al Islam in San Francisco depict a poorly maintained women’s prayer space

via Side Entrance

"The mosque is in a poorer area of SF but still the closest one to the convention center & expensive hotels. The website listed convert services & tours so I figured it might be a reasonable mosque and took a quick cab ride there.

I opened the mosque front door. Straight ahead was a wide hall that led straight to the men’s prayer area ( got a pic of this too and can send it), and to the left between me and that space appeared to be the edge of a wudu area. Standing just inside the main entrance, to my left was a door with a sign that said “women”. I opened it and through the darkness I could see it was supply storage. I closed the door & conformed the sign said women and opened the women’s door again and squinted & saw that in fact this supply closet had another door at the opposite end. I closed the women’s door and stood for a second so my eyes could adjust to the darkness (that’s the second pic & 8th & 9th pic attached) and tried to step through the dark room and not fall over anything. There were printer cartridge boxes to my left, telecom equipment & wires to my right. I walked to the far end of this room and opened the door and there was sunlight! Woohoo! But it was another hall (see 6th pic). The first room to my left had the door open, but was some sort of storage room as well, albeit nicely lit. The only other door open was the next one to the left. It led to a dark room - I reached my hand in until I found the light switch. It was clearly the prayer room per the lines on the carpet. There was a good sized flatscreen tv on the far wall, which was a good sign as well. It looked like there was a window next to it - nice! I walked to it and it had been closed off, therefore no daylight could get through. The carpet was disgusting - I found a container or snacks which was clearly the culprit (see third pic). Next to the bin with snacks on it was a shelf with Qur’ans. After I prayed, I had to check my forehead & clothing to see if litter was sticking to it. There was a door with a sign on it for dua’s before/after leaving the toilet - so this must be the bathroom/wudu area…. I tried opening the door but it was locked from the other side (the men’s side). No women came in at any point, which gave me the great opportunity to take pics & video. I then shut back off the lights & closed the doors behind me as I left, feeling a bit invisible knowing nobody knew I was ever even there.” Photos and commentary were submitted by Kelly Kaufmann.

via Side Entrance

Reflection by Hind Makki

I've worked internally in a mosque, at a Muslim legal rights org and at a regional umbrella Muslim org for abt 6 years. Even with all my privilege (hijabi, Arabic speaking, Islamic school and Ivy League grad, raised in the community and the daughter of two highly respected activists fil 3amal al Islami), I still got routinely dismissed or insulted for having and respectfully voicing my opinions by the uncles in my community. After years of that, I left. Then, I got so much respect (and agency) in the same Muslim community, by the same uncles, who didnt want to hear from me, once I started to work at a national interfaith org that afforded me access to philanthropies, governments & higher education leaders, and now as an independent consultant. Sometimes the only way to be heard is to work outside the box, or in my case, the mosque.

Source: Comments

Post film reflection by Fatima Salman

Before watching Unmosqued, always had a nervous feeling of what the film is about. Is it pushing people out of the masjid and giving them legitimacy to their gripes? The Hadith of the youth attached to the masjid and his rewards on the Day of J rang loud through my head. After last nights viewing and beautiful, healthy, and robust discussion...realized that that youth won't even be in the masjid if he/she doesn't feel comfortable or accepted to be in the masjid itself. Thank you to all who came out yesterday. This is a must watch documentary and there is still time for communities to get the DVD, just visit the Unmosqued website. I have never witnessed a room of 150+ people be so charged and contemplative like the way they were after watching Unmosqued. (The discussion literally kept me up all night thinking) The masjid is clearly a topic so near and dear to all of our hearts...young, old, black, white, desi, Arab, convert, immigrant, indigenous, woman, man, attendee, volunteer, board member, or imam. Our masjid cultures need to change...and iA this is the first step of several to start that change.

On giving up on mosques and privilege

unMosqued post film reflection by Suleiman Salem

It's ironic when the people who should be watching Unmosqued are not watching Unmosqued. There are some things I disagree with in the film, but there are numerous beneficial and significant points that should be *publicly* discussed by the Masjid boards with their communities, to move forward together to create a better environment in the masajid. I've seen two mosques discuss the film's major points together and work out solutions for their problems; hopefully many more will follow. #Unmosqued

unMosqued post film reflection by Sami Elmansoury

I urge folks to watch Unmosqued, and to start potent conversations. Alongside Exec. Producer Ahmed Eid, I led a panel last night at a screening of his team's newly released film. After finishing the remarks, we opened the floor to a Q&A session that lasted well past 11 PM, and discussion ensued until midnight. A session that was at times inspiring in its frankness - and at times troubling, particularly for those who, regrettably in my opinion, see little inherent concern with the dismal status quo.

Unmosqued raises critical questions and concerns about women's roles in mosques, and their undeniable placement as second class citizens in many centers, ethnocentrism and cultural arrogance, and the access of a new generation to the leadership of American mosques. It is arguably the first film to do so with little subtlety.

Within the film, I am very proud of the honest and candid contributions ofTarek El-MessidiHind MakkiAmanda QuraishiJason GravesAbu Zaynab GallardoImam Shamsi Ali, and several other friends.

I'm also incredibly motivated by the efforts of filmmakers Ahmed Eid, Marwa AlyAtif Mahmud, and their team. It's most definitely worth hosting a screening in your area - let's keep elevating this conversation. I know that on my part, I'll continue to do so, without shyness - until we see substantive change.

Reflection by Krista K Meadows

It's funny to see that most comments stating that women should stay at home and don't need to pray at the Masjid are Muslims not from the USA, it goes to show that cultural practices and not true Islam is being practiced and preached. This is the real problem. Women and Men are equal in Islam and should both have adequate areas for praying at masjids. Especially in areas with a lot of reverts since most cannot pray at home. To say a women's place is only at the home and they shouldn't show their faces in public goes to show how ignorant some of us are on our religion. How culture has replaced and taken over the religion.

Source: Comments