On March 12, 2018, four women gathered in Istanbul’s iconic Fatih Mosque. Known today as members of the “Women in Mosques” (Kadınlar Camilerde) campaign, these women, many of them young and university educated, have been gathering in various mosques in Istanbul since October 2017 to address concerns pertaining to women’s use of prayer spaces in Turkey. Some of these concerns include lack of ablution rooms for women and their maintenance; lack of prayer space—especially in smaller mosques—for women to attend Friday prayers, when “women’s spaces” are allocated entirely to male members of the congregation; and women’s overall sense of belonging to, and spiritual experience in, mosques.

While women’s socialization in mosques is encouraged in the Quran and also mentioned in various hadiths, in Turkey it is the private home, not the mosque, that is considered the space of...

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