What I Learned From The Mosque in Morgantown

by Dylan Chambers

Asra Nomani is a woman with a mission.  She wants to equalize the role woman play in the Muslim community.  Also she wants to pray next to men in service and be in the same room during celebrations such as Ramadan.  Others may say that it goes against tradition but, in Asra’s defense, in the Qur’an, just like the Bible for Christians, it never states that a woman cannot sit next to a man.  It seems all these rules were manmade and are not against any spiritual rules.

As an eleven year old, I don’t understand why something like this causes such an uproar.  It seems like it shouldn’t matter. From watching the program, I don’t think that a woman praying next to a man would change or worsen the experience when at service.

As some of you may know, Asra was an amazing reporter for the Wall Street Journal for fifteen years.  And she worked alongside a very honorable man named Daniel Pearl, a man who was kidnapped by Muslim extremists and killed.  The footage of him being killed was sent to the U.S to watch.  Asra was one of the last to see him and saw him the day he was kidnapped.  It is a very sad and tragic story.

She now has also written two books and has gone on at least one book tour.  When on this tour, she met some very supportive and unsupportive people.  At one stage of the tour, Asra went into a mosque and sat next to some of the men there.  Some people asked her what she was doing, and she simply stated that she was praying.  After talking a while they threatened to get men to pick her up and take her outside.  Finally, they gated off that section and brought other women over there.

After the service she talked to some members, among many things a woman said ‘”You should be ashamed of yourself!”  Asra replied by saying, “ I pray for you.”  The woman said, “I do not need your prayers.”  I find this to be quite rude.

I have learned a lot from Asra and THE MOSQUE IN MORGANTOWN, and I would recommend it to people of all ages.  To me, Asra is an amazingly kind and wholesome person who is definitely one of my heroes.  I feel like I have met her through the documentary and that is truly an honor.

I would like to leave you with one final but very important thought about my faith.  While Catholics may get to sing, sit, and celebrate together, we are still not fully together.  I don’t mean to question anyone’s faith, but if Asra can try and get woman to have a higher place in her religion, why do so many Catholics believe that women can’t be priests or other higher members of the church?

After all, I believe good people all go to heaven.  Maybe we need someone as brave and courageous as Asra to lead us.  While Asra is still fighting, I pray she will succeed.  My question is, why can’t we all be equal?  And, yes, I am a boy.


Dylan Chambers is an 11-year-old aspiring writer living in the Cincinnati area.

Tags: , ,


  1. In response to the comment from the Muslim woman on August 24 who wrote ” Dylan [Chambers] is an incredibly precocious 11-year-old,” I agree that he is. He is a voracious reader and has long been fascinated with topics unusual for a child his age. He attends a Catholic school that fortunately encourages critical thinking and open discussion of issues particularly in religion classes; in his school, students can express views that sometimes differ from the official position of the Catholic Church. Not accepting every position of official Church doctrine is in no way interpreted as loving God less or as being a “bad Catholic.” Because Dylan has been educated in such an environment, is an avid reader, listens to NPR, and watches PBS documentaries, he perhaps does have a voice that is different from many eleven-year-olds. Enjoying creative and independent thinking, Dylan wrote this essay entirely his own–he discussed his reactions with no one prior to writing them.

    When he read the Muslim woman’s comment, his response to me was simply, “Mom, you don’t need to respond. I’ll take it as a compliment. At least, she recognizes I write well beyond my years!”

    Regina Chambers–mother of an aspiring writer and precocious eleven- year-old son

  2. Muslim Woman says:

    EIther Dylan is an incredibly precocious 11-year-old, or an adult who is a big supporter of Nomani “helped” Dylan write this essay.
    It is not the voice of an eleven-year-old kid, really.

Please wait