Women in Britain’s First Muslim Mosques: Hidden from History, but Not Without Influence

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Two of the earliest Muslim communities in Britain evolved around the first mosques in Liverpool and Woking (both—1889). The history of these early British Muslims is being recovered but little is known about the women (usually converts) in these communities. This article will draw upon original findings from archival research, to examine ‘leadership’ that women in these communities undertook and their influence in shaping their nascent British Muslim communities. The practical, theological and philosophical negotiations around gender roles, female leadership, and veiling and the social contexts within which they took place are examined. By uncovering historical responses to issues that remain topical in British Muslim communities, this article provides historical grounding for contemporary debates about female Muslim leadership in British Muslim communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number62
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This research was funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust small grants scheme (grant number SG151945)


  • British Muslim studies
  • mosques
  • Muslim women
  • leadership
  • British Muslim history
  • feminism
  • feminist history
  • British Islam
  • Mosques
  • Leadership
  • Feminism
  • Feminist history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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