Our local mosque is getting ready to face what I think is a rising issue in many communities here in the US... There is a drive to make a change in the way the partition in the women's area is set up. Our mosque is an old church, and qibla is on the left hand side wall if you are facing the "front" of the sanctuary. So, we divided it in half lengthwise and have the two entrances (one to each section) from the outside, and two staircases to the lower level (one from each section). It started by cutting a hole in the partition wall. Now, we are debating the usefulness of having two sections for the women; one in front with only half wall to designate the area, and one with a full partition for women (I have been pretty vocal about wanting some separation) to be separated entirely if they wish.
I have been debating it. And I know that in the time of the prophet (SWS) there were no separate areas for women... But I like my divider, I like my privacy. And I think that making it like we are saying will put an odd strain on the women attending jummah. "Oh, you know sister so and so, she's a in front of the partition type." Plus, our masjid is mixed sects... And the sister who is most concerned about this is shia, so I feel there is a risk that people will view it as a shia issue... Which of course it is not.
Are we headed towards a day where we will have reformed Islam? There will the orthodox mosques, and reformist mosques? Can our communities handle further division? We are already so divided, even if it is not official divisions. Shia and Sunni. Affluent and Working Class. Asian and Arab. The list goes on. I know it is idealistic... But can't we all just come together in this country where I am starting to get the distinct impression that everyone else is against us? Maybe if we were a little more unified we wouldn't be such an easy target.