CATONSVILLE, Md. (AP): Azam’s ability to connect with her students is just one of the reasons she was recently named the Islamic Society of Baltimore’s first female resident scholar.
Lead Resident Scholar Yaseen Shaikh said a resident scholar is another name for an imam who lives and serves within the community.
Responsibilities include planning and speaking at community events, addressing issues facing the Muslim community, and providing religious guidance, Azam said.
Azam wants people to understand that while she’s certainly breaking stereotypes, roles like hers have always been open to women in Islam.
“Our religious legacy is basically: Women have been in this position for years, or like in leadership positions for years,” Azam said. “People often stereotype Islam with women don’t work or women don’t serve as leaders of the community and women are oppressed.”
Azam added that while she’s the first female scholar at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, women in her position are “actually more common than we know,” it just may not be as prominent in certain cultures.
“When you learn Islam properly, you really realize that nothing is stopping you. Your religion is not stopping you, definitely,” Azam said.