On Friday, April 14, 2017, Starr King students, graduates, faculty, staff, community members, and the mayor of Berkeley gathered in celebration and prayer for the opening of the Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque, Northern California’s first women-led mosque and the second in the United States.
Unlike the first, which was founded in 2015 in a Los Angeles interfaith center, this radically inclusive space is open to all who come in peace and solidarity with Muslim women — new converts, reverts, born Muslims, immigrants, all races, genders, and orientations — making it the first of its kind in the country.
It’s not a women’s mosque for women. It’s a women’s mosque for everybody, but women will be preaching and teaching.” ~Soraya Deen, Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque
The mosque was founded by Starr King graduate Rabi’a Keeble, who received her Master of Arts in Social Change (MASC) from Starr King, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Islamic Studies at the Center of Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union. Her vision for Qal’bu Maryam was inspired in part by progressive Islamic scholars such as Starr King Faculty/Research Scholars Dr. Amina Wadud, Dr. Ghazala Anwar, and Former Provost Dr. Ibrahim Farajaje (1952-2016).
The spirituality we espouse in this space is one in which we harmonize, rather than dominate. Where we celebrate questions. We celebrate the search for knowledge. We celebrate the process of learning, rather than hard and fast rules and regulations, and deciding who is right and who is wrong. We understand that each person has their own way of engaging with their faith.” ~Rabi’a Keeble, Founder of Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque, Starr King Graduate
Friday’s opening ceremony and Jumu’ah prayer – led entirely by women – demonstrated Starr King School for the Ministry’s ongoing legacy of not only welcoming but empowering those on the margins of their faith traditions. Starr King congratulates Rabi’a Keeble and all who helped make this extraordinary event possible. We are grateful to be trusted with holding this sacred space and look forward to seeing the Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque flourish.
Please join us for Jumu’ah prayer each Friday at 12:30pm PDT at Starr King School for the Ministry (2441 Le Conte Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709).
Watch the dedication of the Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque here:
For more in-depth coverage of the opening of the Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque, please visit:
Huffington Post: Muslim Women are Opening a New, Inclusive Mosque in California
San Francisco Chronicle: Empowering Women: Female-Run Mosque to Open in Berkeley
The Daily Californian: First Northern California Women’s Mosque Opens in Berkeley