At the centre of the escalating dispute at Glasgow Central Mosque is the meaning of two words: "community" and "participation".

The short version of the situation is this: factions are emerging between the “Old Guard”, those who first set up Scotland’s largest mosque, and those who deem themselves the “Young Progressives” who want to see change in how the Mosque is run.

These issues are no different to the variances in culture that exist in every community and in every religious building.

The Herald: Friday prayers at the Central Mosque in Glasgow

The tension is higher in the Muslim community for one reason and one reason alone – we’re defensive, because the community is too often and unfairly attacked – the unacceptable actions of some are repeatedly tarnished as the actions of all.

Background: Mosque liberals quit amid threats claims

As we modernise, we want change, but attitudinal and cultural change is like attempting to walk in treacle. If it were easy, we feminist women would not be nearly as tired as we are.

But what the “Old Guard” and “Young Progressives” don’t realise is that they have something in common. They are all men.

While reading the unfolding drama, it was striking that every single voice commenting was a man. All those involved were men. And all those approached by the media for comment were men.

This begs the question; whether old guard or new – how different would it really be?

If we want a more representative leadership within the Muslim community, it must reflect what that community actually looks like. That means it must go beyond Pakistani heritage, and continue the work recently started of the Mosque of opening its doors and welcoming Muslims from all backgrounds.

It must reflect a range of ages and it absolutely must include women. Not just spaces for women committees within the organisational structure, as suggested in social media forums as a get out clause, but alongside the decision-makers on the Executive Committee, where we play our part as community members.

It would be right to ask for half of those spaces to be allocated to women, considering that we make up more than 50 per cent of society. As Muslim women, we are given respect in the Quran for the multiple roles we play in society and our families.

We have a legacy of strong women leaders in Islam, but today it is the cultural values and norms of the patriarchy, mostly of Pakistani and Kashmiri descent, who decide what role we are given, as they go forward.

To be truly bold and progressive, we should welcome healthy discussion into mosques and provide not just an education in how to pray but on the difference between culture and religion.

The former, after all, currently does an injustice to the latter.

The culture is one where many still believe that having a daughter is to be mourned whereas giving birth to a son is to be praised, where education and opportunity is still reserved for those favoured sons.

Yet this attitude is explicitly forbidden if we go by what is written in scripture rather than what men in charge have told us over the generations.

Is this not in itself, reason enough for more women to be involved?

It has been exhausting reading about men who bemoan the lack of women community leaders.

So we say this to male commentators: Put your money where your mouth is. If you believe women should be better represented, how about giving a Muslim woman that space? Move aside and make way for better and fairer representation.

There are so many talented, opinionated Muslim women across Scotland who Mosques and media can turn to and we write this in a hope that these very women get the space they deserve to shed light on a much richer and diverse culture than is stereotypically thought of when people think of Islam.

In the same vein, we need to start talking about and teaching others about the strong women who make up the historic tapestry that is Islam; Whether it is Kadijha, who was a 40-year-old business women and the breadwinner of the family, or Aisha, a respected scholar of her time.

These women were given the space in history they rightly deserve, yet are forgotten in the present, much like the voices of Muslim women today.

A progressive community, regardless of what religion or culture it is associated with, remains regressive until it fully includes women at all levels. It’s time to make way.

Talat Yaqoob is a feminist campaigner and chair and co-founder of the Women 5050 campaign

Nighet Nasim Riaz is a PhD researcher on social equality and justice, and is a women’s rights campaigner