Sherin Khankan

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Sherin Khankan
Sherin Khankan.jpg
Ann Christine Khankan[1]

(1974-10-13) 13 October 1974 (age 44)

Sherin Khankan (born Ann Christine Khankan; 13 October 1974) is Denmark's first female imam who has led the foundation of a women-led mosque in Copenhagen called Mariam Mosque. She is also an activist on Muslim issues including female integration and extremism, and has written numerous texts discussing Islam and politics.


Early life[edit]

Khankan was born in Denmark in 1974 to a Syrian father and a Finnish mother. Her father was a political refugee and a feminist. Khankan studied in Damascus and returned to Denmark in 2000. She sees herself as being born between two worlds and considers her goal to reconcile opposites.[2]

She holds a Masters in Sociology of Religion and Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen.


Khankan had led the foundation of a Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen. The mosque differs from other Danish mosques because it is led by women. Normally, women would watch religious ceremonies from a balcony. Similar mosques exist in the US, Canada, and Germany but, in Denmark, this was novel. Khankan founded an organisation called Critical Muslims who were interested in the link between religion and politics. In 2007, she published a book titled Islam and Reconciliation - A Public Matter.

Khankan notes that Christianity, Jewish, and Muslim institutions have become patriarchal, and she sees women-run mosques as a challenge to this tradition. She has had some moderate opposition but, in general, she says the reception has been supportive. The mosque opened in February 2016 but it did not have a formal service until August. Khankan gave the call to prayer and 60 women gathered above a fast food shop. Another imam, Saliha Marie Fetteh, took the service where she spoke on the subject of women and Islam. The new mosque has conducted several weddings. The mosque marries couples of different religions, which some mosques will not allow.

She stood for parliament as a candidate for the Danish Social Liberal Party.[2]

Khankan was named one of the BBC's 100 Women of 2016.[3]


Khankan has two daughters and two sons. She is divorced.


  1. ^ Emil Eller (24 March 2019). "Kontroversiel genforening: Vermund og kvindelig imam var barndomsvenner". DR Nyheder (in Danish).
  2. ^ a b Jensen, Sanni (30 March 2015). "Denmark's First Female Imam". Berlingske (in Danish). Berlingske Media. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  3. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2016: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.