First Bay Area women-led mosque opens in Berkeley

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- In the East Bay Thursday, a new mosque is getting ready to hold its first prayer services, but this one is unique -- it's led by all women.

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Rabi'a Keeble is boldly going where few women have gone before -- Friday, she will open the first women-led Mosque in Northern Calif.

Keeble a graduate of Berkeley's Starr King School for Ministry.
Keeble heard the calling when she converted to Islam more than a decade ago.

"In Islam, there doesn't seem to be a clear track for women who have that calling," she said.

Keeble decided to open Qal'bu Maryam Women's Mosque in Berkeley to give Muslim women a voice, in a religion often dominated by men.

"Everybody should get in where they fit in," she said. "But I think there should be a place for women, allied with men -- not behind men."

Men are welcome at prayer services too.

"It's not a women's mosque for women," said Soraya Deen of the mosque. "It's a women's mosque for everybody, but women will be teaching and preaching."

Crystal Keshawarz says unity for all should be the message here. "It's important to empower Muslim women, Christians, and Jewish women too."

Keeble has received criticism from fellow Muslims about what she's doing, but she's not stopping.

"I'm motivated to see it through," she told ABC7 News.

Service at the mosque begins at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Click here to learn more about the mosque.
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