It's all about Saving Muslim Lives at Home!
7/26/2012 2:07 PM
Being a community with global roots, Muslim Americans send donations for the very real needs of Muslims abroad, while several in our own community suffer for various reasons. A major group among these people is comprised of the victims of family violence.
Family violence is not a topic Muslims generally feel comfortable talking about. Yet it affects the Muslim American community at least as frequently as the 1 in 4 people it affects in the non-Muslim community--some information implies that its impact is even greater.
Last Ramadan, on August 17, 2011, Nazish Noorani, 27, a mother of two was killed by her husband, Kashif Pervaiz, and his mistress in Boonton, NJ. This was a case of domestic violence that had been going on for several years and had ended with Nazish’s murder.
Aasiya Zubair, another mother of two young children and co-founder of Bridges TV, was also beheaded by her husband Muzzammil Hassan. Her horrific murder on February 12, 2009, in Buffalo, NY, marked the end of another brutal domestic violence episode.
Khalil Wimes, 6, was too young to have an abusive spouse, but he had parents who killed him on March 19, 2012, in Philadelphia, PA. According to the police reports, his corpse weighed only 29 pounds and bore a sea of scars across his face and the rest of his body. He suffered severe beatings and was malnourished for last two years of his six-years of life.
Abdifatah Mohamud, 10, was beaten to death by a rolling pin on April 17, 2012 in Buffalo, NY. His murderer was no stranger, but his own step dad. Abdifatah suffered abuse by his step father and Abdifatah himself even called 911 twice. Unfortunately, his mother, his family, his friends, his neighbors, authorities, all of us failed him and he died so young.
Zainab Shafia, 19, Sahar Shafia, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, were drowned to death on June 30, 2009, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It was no accident, but a planned murder by their parents and brother to restore the supposed honor of their family.
These are just few recent stories of abuse within Muslim households in North America. Most of the abuse is never reported to anyone. Even when reported, most instances do not end in murder. Rather, the family violence goes on for years, with ramifications that affect not only the abused spouse or children, but the entire family.
According to various accounts of Muslim social workers and Muslim social services organizations, our community has serious problems including:
- Dysfunctional families
- Abused mothers with horrified, confused children
- Absence of trained imams and counselors
- Misconception of honor and parents rights
- Abused, malnourished children
- Runaway & trafficked girls
- Not enough Muslim foster families to meet the needs of at-risk Muslim children
- Delinquent boys
Just a glance at the above list should make it clear to American Muslims that there is a dire need for long-term planning and a series of solid actions to avoid the loss of hundreds of families and individuals and to reduce the number of suicides and murders committed by the abused and the abusive. We should also understand that this is not a problem that can be dealt and taken care of by the Muslim social services or domestic violence organizations alone. Instead this needs entire community to own the issue.
A major problem in handling the issue of family violence is the lack of funding. Although Muslim Americans raise tens of billions of dollars each year, most of this money is sent overseas in the name of relief efforts. Most of what stays home is spent on building mosques and Islamic schools. Domestic violence shelters and social services organizations hardly get any support from the community across the country.
This has to change. We need to learn, as individuals and as a community, to portion our charity. While it is important to help Muslims all over the world, it is obligatory to help the oppressed, the needy, and the vulnerable at home first. We need to understand that the entire world responds to natural disasters and relief efforts in the most cases, but hardly anybody responds to a child or woman abused behind the closed doors. How that money sent overseas is being used/misused and what impact it really makes is a topic of another discussion.
We also need to understand that the future of the Muslim community is only secured by building healthy communities and nurturing healthy individuals. This goal can only be achieved by addressing various issues that a Muslim American family faces today. The active investment in strengthening our familes is a long overdue and avoiding it is a communal failure.
To this extent, Project Sakinah calls upon all Muslims in North America to help stop all kinds of family violence and to nurture strong healthy families and individuals. We are working on several different programs and areas to address this issue and we seek the entire community to be our partner in this endeavor.
Please allocate a portion of your charitable giving to help us save lives in our own backyard. Please DONATE to support our work. You may send us itemized donations per your choice. Please check out our Campaign Wish List and other items that need your support.
May Allah SWT accepts our spending in His causes, may He grant us with the wisdom of allocating our charities wisely.
"The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain that grows (into) seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies for whom He wills and Allah is Omnipresent (Ample-giving), Knowing." surah al Baqarah- 261