Tahrir Hammad has made history by becoming the first women to be recognized by the Palestinian Authority as a qualified marriage officiant.
Thirty-six-year-old Hammad told the New York Times, "I wanted to show that women could do it. I wanted to ignite sparks. I wanted to throw a bomb."
She is only the latest Palestinian woman to step into a a religious position that was formerly limited to men. In 2009 Sheikh Taysir Tamimi appointed two female Islamic court judges to oversee cases dealing with divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Sheikh Tamimi was also the first person to encourage Hammad to become an officiant.
She has faced notable opposition since her appointment, including a former professor who said that she is "opening a door of metastasizing evil." In particular he warned that women officiants could end up neglecting their families in order to work late and improperly socialize with men.
Hammad says she is not dismayed by the critics, adding that only two couples have refused to let her oversee their wedding, while at least 20 have used her services.
She claims that she is happy with her position and does not intend to advance to a judicial position. "I consider myself too emotional," she explained.