Women’s Mosques in Chinese Islam


China used to be surprisingly tolerant of Muslims and uniquely had 500 women’s  mosques run by female imams . I learned about them from Dr Maria Jaschok,  Director of International Gender Studies at Oxford. Maria lived and worked in China  between 1980 and 1996  –  when  she fell out of favour with the Security Bureau.  After losing her job she wandered around Henan and stumbled across a woman’s mosque . Like most of us she did not then know that such a thing existed .

Maria loved ‘Brushstrokes in Time’ and wrote a foreword endorsing its authenticity ending it thus.

‘Moving but never mawkish, informed yet entirely accessible this book should have popular appeal …’ To have popular appeal it needs distribution which is tough for a small publisher like Claret Press.She compered the launchof my novel at Blackwell’s. (Maria is the striking red headed lady on left)

Maria was one of my castaways. Her intriguing story and that of her mother’s flight in 1945 is in Oxford Castaways 2 .  A shortened version is in this The Oxford Times  feature .

Maria Jaschok