A new era for Muslim women at the Baton Rouge Mosque
BATON ROUGE- The number of Muslim women in leadership is slowly increasing across the world and those changes have made their way to Baton Rouge’s Mosque.
More than 25 years as Muslim and Jane Aslam never saw herself pioneering change in the Islamic community.
“It's amazing journey dude, an amazing journey,” Jane said.
Now that journey hasn’t been easy. In Baton Rouge, there has always been nine men on the mosque's board and no women. It’s like that at most mosques in the United States and it also hasn't changed much in the Middle East.
Every year in Baton Rouge there are board nominations but every year it’s all men but 2019 marks history.
“After 20 years of me being in the community I've never seen a woman's name on the ballot and to see four I automatically knew there was change in the air this is a season for change,” Jane said.
Change is sweeping through the Muslim world for millions of women. They are now allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Across the world, nearly 40 million have joined the labor force and two were elected to Congress. In the United States, women did not serve on the board of mosques until the last two decades and it wasn't until this year, the Baton Rouge mosque embraced that change.
Jane said being on the board was something she never wanted, her only goal was to fulfill Allah's will and when she realized this was it she says it brought her to her knees and tears to her eyes.
"I found myself on the floor, upstairs in the women's area with my face on the floor weeping before our creator thanking him for the opportunity and praying for good guidance and strength that his will be done both on earth as it is in heaven,” Jane said.
She is now taking up the role with humility and gratitude. Jane's determined to represent the women that feel like they were never heard.
"In having two females on our board it allows an opportunity for the voice of our women, our women's population in our community to be able to have connectivity that they did not have before,” Jane said.
Though it wasn't in her original five-year plan, she's prepping board members for the shake-up to come
"I've already made public apologies to our board telling them that I really do feel sorry for you and for what is to come because I expect that I will be a pain in your neck for the next two years," Jane said.
Now Jane has simple advice for any woman that feels like she can’t be the change.
“If you learn to communicate, collaborate, cooperate and coordinate together in society then you are able to accomplish great things that you never thought were imaginable,” Jane said.