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A Women-Only Mosque Congregates in Los Angeles For the First Time

The Women’s Mosque of America appears to be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Edina Lekovic address the Women's Mosque of America.

Inside the stain-glassed windows of the Pico-Union Project, a multi-faith synagogue in East Los Angeles, the pews were pushed to the side, against the walls, and long strips of cloth were spread out on the floors. These would serve as prayer mats for the hundred or so Muslim women congregants who would fill the room for the first ever Friday prayer at the Women’s Mosque of America.


More than 100 women began filling up the room at noon, and by 1 p.m., the men were asked to leave, the doors were closed, and the all-women program began. Edina Lekovic, the director of policy and programming at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, inaugurated the space with the first Friday sermon.

“Today is not a departure from our tradition as Muslim women,” said Lekovic in her address. “It’s a continuation of the proud legacy of Muslim women, throughout 14-plus centuries, who have participated in the spiritual life of their communities at all stages and in all places—inside of their mosques, inside of their homes, and in their broader societies—as scholars, as teachers, as leaders, and, fundamentally, as partners.”

The Women’s Mosque of America is not the first of its kind in the world—other women-only mosques around the globe have set precedents for this kind of gathering. In China’s Henan province, women imams lead prayers at women’s mosques, which were originally intended as girls’ Quran schools. Sudanese women in Khartoum have been managing women’s mosques since the ‘90s. In 2005, Dutch Muslim women in Amsterdam inaugurated the first women’s-only mosque in the country. However, the Women’s Mosque of America appears to be the first ever of its kind in the U.S.

Although most American mosques accomodate women, with shared or separate spaces, many Muslim-American women say they are often marginalized in their mosques. A Tumblr blog called Side Entrance, started by Chicago-based Muslim activist Hind Makki, documents Muslim women’s prayer spaces in mosques and recieves submissions from all around the world. Makki started the project because she, among many other Muslim women, felt that mosque leadership treated women’s spaces and concerns as secondary. The Muslim Women’s Mosque emerges out of a community that is striving for a larger share in the collective identity.

“It’s special because of the sisterhood that’s present within this room,” said Lekovic. “That over 200 women and girls said that they would be here today, to see that people have come from far places to be a part of this community, says that we want this type of space. It says that we are yearning for spiritual nourishment in the company of other women.”

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Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

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Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

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The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

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via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

However, there are many people out there who fraudulently claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. These trained animals can cause disturbances in businesses or on public transportation.

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