It was Friday prayers with a difference. Outside the prayer hall, a woman breastfed her baby, while another applied lipstick. There were hugs and kisses, and peals of laughter. The adhan – the call to prayer – was sung in a clear, feminine voice.
A little bit of history was made in Copenhagen this week with the first Friday prayers led by two female imams, marking the official opening of the first female-led mosque in Scandinavia, and one of only a handful worldwide outside China.
More than 60 women crammed into the Mariam mosque above a fast-food outlet in a city centre street. Volunteers had worked late into Thursday night to put the final touches on the premises' refurbishment. Cream curtains with a subtle mosaic-motif trim had been hung, a calligraphed verse from the Qur'an displayed, flowers and candles arranged.