Empowering families through compassion, support, & education
M. Basheer Ahmed M.D.
The media reports frequently about the high incidents of domestic violence in our society, and Congress renewed the Act on Violence Against Women in October 2002. Many people think that it only occurs in the U.S. and Western cultures, but family violence also exists in Muslim families. In fact, it may exist more frequently in Muslim countries.
The Muslim Community Center for Human Services (MCCHS) “Roshni” Domestic violence program’s main objective is to promote healthy and harmonious family relationships in the Asian, Middle Eastern, and African immigrant communities. We promote the empowerment of women to confront and overcome the cycle of domestic violence and exploitation; help the victims and survivors of domestic abuse improve their access to services, and increase community awareness of various forms of violence. MCCHS “Roshni” provides community education, culture-sensitive peer counseling, professional counseling, case management, client advocacy, information on rights, how to seek help and victim compensation. MCCHS also provides shelter referrals, legal referrals and assists victim in developing a safety plan
Abusive behavior can include:
Psychological Abuse – threats of bodily harm, taking away children, killing spouse or self, control of finances, food or medication, and restriction of socialization, even with family members
Emotional Abuse – cursing, screaming, and degradation by constantly criticizing spouse’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions
Physical Abuse – hitting, kicking, punching, choking, burning, or causing lacerations or fracture
Sexual Abuse – forcing unwanted sexual activity.
According to Muslim women activists in the United States, over 10% of Muslim women are abused emotionally and physically by their husbands. The number of incidents are much higher than are reported.
Islamic Perspective: Under no circumstances is violence against women encouraged or allowed in Islam. The relationship between the husband and the wife should be one of mutual love, respect, and kindness. Quran says, “O believers! Treat women with kindness, even if you dislike them; it is quite possible that you dislike something which Allah might yet make a source of abundant good.” (4:19) Quran also says, “When you divorce women, and they have reached the end of their waiting period, (iddat) either allow them to stay with honor or let them go with kindness. You should not retain them or harm or take undue advantage.”
Domestic violence is a crime. It is not a private family matter. Unless we make concerted efforts to educate about domestic violence, its serious consequences, its effect on the children and the Islamic perspective, very few people will seek help. In order to stop domestic violence in our community, our leaders, including imams and scholars, have to become aware and involved.
Common Anger vs Power, Control and Abuse: Disagreements occur at some point in all marriages. Domestic violence is different from routine arguments and expressions of anger. Similarly, in certain cultures, women are encouraged to stay home an are not allowed to drive. While these are examples of inequality and oppression, they should not be confused or equated with domestic violence.
In domestic violence, abusers show a complex pattern of behavior that may be verbally or physically aggressive in an effort to control the victim. To further confuse the matter, the abuser often maintains a positive public appearance.
Take a stand against domestic violence: Do not accept or excuse violent behavior, Help and support victims of violence, Disseminate information about domestic violence, Your silence is regarded as acceptance of domestic violence.
Our Volunteers: Many of our services are provided by volunteers who speak English as well as Arabic, Urdu, and other languages. MCC volunteers receive training and supervision with a psychiatrist and social worker in: Confidentiality, Communication Skills, Dynamics of Family Violence, Public resources for crime victims.
Other volunteer opportunities include: Publicity, Newsletter, Outreach/ Seminars, Sustainability Planning, General Tasks. We offer, 24 Hour Confidential Helpline: 817-589-0200, Culturally-sensitive peer counseling and support, Referrals for professional counseling and other victim services, Referrals for legal services, Translation and Crime Victims Compensation assistance.
Domestic Violence January 2009 Report
Talaun Thompson LMSW
MCC “Roshni” hotline has received 6 calls. MCC has provided counseling to 23 individuals. MCC has assisted 6 clients who were experiencing physical abuse. Clients seeking help with Marital discord were the highest along with clients seeking help with family issues that included parenting, children and in-laws making up the majority of our clients this month. On January 7th, MCC presented 1 Healthy Marriage Seminar at Swadeshi Indian Cuisine; 11 individuals attended the presentation on the topic of healthy marriages.Domestic Violence Education: MCC has presented 2 domestic violence education programs. MCC presented at the Fort Worth Ibrahimi Masjid and 28 women and men attended. MCC presented at Radio Salam Namaste on January 26th with Ms. Sadaf Haider. The topic was “Domestic Violence”. The staff talked about what is domestic violence, signs & symptoms, what to do, preventions and information about MCC’s hot line. Domestic Violence Education programs are being arranged: February Al-Huda Islamic Center Fort Worth, March Al-Hedayah Academy Fort Worth.