Friday, 10 December 2010

Female Imams In China

Here's a multimedia feature on Female Imams in China by Sharron Lovell, a freelance photographer currently based between Tel Aviv and Shanghai, and represented by Polaris. She prefers storytelling over single images, and has covered a number of issues in China from HIV/Aids, Islam and internal migration.

Sharron also completed assignments on Afghanistan’s first elections and the commercial sex caste in Pakistan. Her work was featured in National Geographic, The Guardian, Le Monde, Newsweek, Global Post, Politiken and various UNICEF campaigns.

NPR informs us that China has an estimated 21 million Muslims, who have developed their own set of Islamic practices with Chinese characteristics. The biggest difference is the development of independent women's mosques with female imams, something scholars who have researched the issue say is unique to China. In most of the Muslim world, women pray behind a partition or in a separate room, but in the same mosque as men.

It seems the Qur'an does not address this issue, and it's debatable whether the practice in the Arab world is reflective of true Islam, and not the result of patriarchal (misogynist) interpretations of religious texts.