BERKELEY, Calif. - Northern California's first female-led mosque officially opened its doors in Berkeley on Friday to the public.
The sign outside the Qal'bu Maryam Mosque makes it clear -- this is a place where women not only feel welcome, but also powerful because they are running the show.
Friday afternoon, dozens of women and men attended a prayer ceremony to dedicate the mosque, located at the Starr King School for the Ministry, part of the Graduate Theological Union.
"Religion is a powerful tool to keep people quiet and squabble. And it is an extremely important tool for the people who govern. We can't fall into that trap today," one speaker said at the ceremony.
The mosque is getting a lot of attention as only the second women-run mosque in the U.S. The first is in Los Angeles.
Mosque founder Rabi'a Keeble is a graduate of Starr King. She wanted a place where women can learn about and celebrate Islam without the male dominance.
"Little did I know that this dedication of this mosque would be during Holy Week for our Christian brothers and sisters and on Good Friday," Keeble said.
You'll notice that unlike many other mosques, men and women sit together here. There's no separation.
That's the idea here. Everyone is welcome -- all genders, all religions, all colors.
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