Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community

Via the magic Of Twitter, BFTF has heard about a guide on preventing Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community.

The publication, written by Makkah Masjid in Leeds, in collaboration with Leeds NHS, offers concise information on the causes of domestic violence, its forms and - most importantly, what Muslim men, women and Imams can practically do to stop domestic violence in their commmunity.

A few extracts are shown below :

On why Muslim women may be reluctant to report domestic violence :
"Domestic abuse affects all communities including the Muslim community. However, evidence suggests that many women from ethnic minority backgrounds tolerate regular abuse because of cultural attitudes which can make seeking help more difficult i.e. bringing shame upon the family."

On what Muslim men can do :
"Men can also sign up to the online White Ribbon Campaign (www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk, also here in Nottingham) and make a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women in all its forms"

On what Imams can do :
"Having regular sermons (khutbas) in the community to talk about such issues ...Inviting expert organisations (such as the White Ribbon Campaign) to deliver training/workshops in the mosques"

So what can be done in Nottingham?
BFTF wondered how this guide could be promoted in Nottingham, so, as an initial effort, did the following:

Dialogue with mosques
BFTF emailed three local mosques and was heartened to find that all the Imams had, or are about to, raise this issue with their congregations.

Dialogue with Council (community cohesion dept)
Initially, BFTF asked whether the deparment could liase with some mosques and encourage them to discuss this issue with their congregations.
Update(Sep12): No response other than acknowledgment from Council. Chased up again.
Update(Sep12): No response other than acknowledgment from Council. Chased up again.
Update(Oct12): Council asked what I was proposing, so I told them what I thought would be a good response from them (see below). Council responded that this issue would be raised at a relevant forthocoming meeting and that the Leeds NHS booklet had been shared with colleagues. Following is the ideal response that BFTF said it would be good to see :
Thank you for your enquiry. It is the job of the Communities department to build relationships with the different communities in Nottingham and, in support of this, we are in regular contact with a number of Nottinghams Mosques, from a variety of branches of Islam and ethnic communities. We cannot, clearly, keep up an ongoing dialogue with every single mosque in Nottingham . The communities department shares the concern expressed by you, Leeds NHS and the Makkah Masjid, that the leaders of the Muslim community need to speak out on this issue. To this end the communities department will contact several of Nottinghams mosques and ask them what they are doing to raise awareness of this issue - and to offer the resources of the Leeds NHS booklet to help them in their efforts. And we will feedback the results of this effort back to you.
Update(Dec2012): No response so chased council up again.
Update(Dec2012): Council emailed back saying that I should be talking to someone else. So BFTF emailed the "someone else"
Update(Dec2012): Received a postiive response from "someone else". Bounced a response back. Hoping to see some activity soon!
Update(Dec2012): By the magic of Twitter, became aware of this work being done at the East London Mosque.
Update(May2013): No response so chased council up again.
Update(May2013): No response so chased council up again.
Update(May2013): Received a response saying they would "find out where all the projects have got to" and that "the police lead on this who was doing some work with communities has left"

Dialogue with the Police
Seeing that a dialogue with the Council was proving fruitless, BFTF took advantage of a circulated email about their Honour Based violence team provoked BFTF into asking if they could contact and mosques(6th May 2013). They very quickly responded saying that they already had plans to be "making visits in the near future to four county Moslem communities" which was encouraging.

Update(11 Dec 2013): Chased up and was told that someone was "looking for a way to ensure this gets delivered to every mosque."

Update(Jan 2016): Osma Irshad
Recently read an article by Osma Irshad, describing her time in an abusive marriage, how she finally left and the support she now gives to others in a similar situation.

"...He would use my hair to drag me off the bed, kicking and punching me, telling me how it would not affect the baby I was carrying. He had our house bugged and used other means to spy on me. I wouldn’t say anything thinking it’s my fault as I married him and didn’t listen to my parents..."

"...I had two boys whilst with him.... But little did I know that it was harming my boys and their future. One day, my eldest son who was 3 at the time was not happy with me as I wouldn’t give him a toy, to my amazement he said ‘go in the kitchen I’ll sort you out”. He said exactly what my husband would say to me when he wanted to beat me up away from the boys..."
Osma describes how, after leaving her abusive husband, she began to put her life back together :

"..I started doing different courses. I finally landed a job within the civil service which I love, and I am a qualified makeup artist too. I talk openly about my abuse on social media...I get many sisters that contact me for advice and find it easy to talk to me. In the last few years I have had sisters that thought the only way out was to commit suicide but after a chat with me, they realised that they are worth more than that..."
You can contact Osma via her Facebook page :

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