The imam was looking forward to opening a liberal mosque in France, where men and women could pray together.
On February 22, the female imam published a tweet expressing her satisfaction with the “great emotional moment,” commenting on the first mixed prayer at the Fatima mosque and her experience as an imam.
Bahloul is the founder of the Fatima mosque. She opened the prayer space to reflect “liberal Islam.”
Around 22 people attended the sermon, including 12 men, according to Le Monde.
The mosque, located in a rented room in Paris, will see both men and women leading prayers.
Some women attended the mosque without a headscarf, something that is traditionally not allowed in Islam rituals.
Women leading prayer is also against Islamic law.
Un grand moment hier, fort en émotions…la première djumu’a (prière collective du vendredi) de la Mosquée Fatima et mon premier prêche en tant qu’imamehttps://t.co/VBifLrK23s
— Kahina BAHLOUL (@Kahinaba) February 22, 2020
The news of first mixed-gender mosque stirred a backlash from many Muslims.
One Twitter user called it a “Western game against Islam.”
In a previous interview with FrenchèMonegaqsue Radio Monte Carlo (RMC), Bahloul said: “It is important for Islam to establish a new model where men and women have the same role in mosques. In traditional mosques, the main prayer room is exclusive to men. This is not acceptable in the 21st century.”
She also thinks that headscarves are not a religious obligation.
“I have studied many religious texts and I believe that the Quran does not oblige women to conceal their hair,” she said.
Bahloul is a graduate in Islamic Studies from the Practical School of Higher Studies in Paris.
A woman leading a prayer comes as no surprise as the move has precedent in France.
Last year, two female imams led a prayer gathering both women and men in France.
One of the two female imams, Eva Janadin, described the moment as important for Islam.
“This prayer guarantees gender equality in Islam,” she said.