CT Muslims Stand Against Domestic Violence
Written by Tracy Simmons
Sunday, 10 October 2010
HARTFORD – There are many misconceptions about Islam, including the idea that
Muslim men are allowed to beat and dominate their wives.
The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut took a stand against that fallacy Saturday night
as it focused on harmony in the home for its fourth annual leadership banquet.
“A home should be a place of tranquility and security,” said Aida Mansoor,
Before presenting leadership awards to two community peacemakers, Salma Abugideiri
of Peaceful Families Project, and Imam Muhammad Ansari of Open Hearth, local attorney
Refai Arifin took a few moments to speak about domestic violence.
He began by reading Quran 30:21, “And among His Signs is this, that He created
for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them,
and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for
those who reflect.”
Marriage, Arifin said, is the foundation of love and mercy and said the Muslim community
has a duty to stand up for harmony in the home. Domestic violence, he added, stems
from the irrational need for one to dominate and control another person.
In Hartford, one in three aggravated assaults are acts of domestic violence.
Arifin also noted that in a Muslim marriage husband and wife must work as a team.
He said the notion that men are allowed to be in command of their wives is another
misconception about Islam. The Quran says that men should be responsible for their
wives, which Arifin says means that men should simply care for their families.
“Unfortunately this is one verse used by abusers to justify their actions,”
he said. “Islam teaches that all human beings are given inherent dignity.
When one violates that person’s dignity, they’ve committed something
against God himself, they’ve committed something that is spiritually devoid
of any meaning.”
He closed by encouraging Muslims to reach out to victims of domestic violence and
to be aware of its frequency throughout the state.
House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden), said that in 2008 there were 20,000
acts of domestic violence that resulted in arrest in Connecticut. He has created
a domestic violence task force, which is focusing on three things – education,
services and law. Because of the task force efforts, domestic violence shelters
in the state are now open 24 hours, seven days a week and victims can flee to safety
without having to worry about repercussions from their landlords. And, he said,
one’s history of domestic violence can now follow them into the courtroom.
“We are serious about this,” he said. “This is a crime of hate
and our community is opposed to it.”
With that, the Coalition recognized Abugideiri and Ansari for their efforts in the
Abugideiri is the co-director of Peaceful Families Project, which his an organization
dedicated to educating Muslims about domestic violence. She recently co-authored,
What Islam Says about Domestic Violence.
Ansari is the executive director of Open Hearth, which is a non-profit organization
that provides counseling services and re-entry into society for emancipated adults,
ex offenders, drug abuse users and products of domestic violence. He has worked
for the organization since 1981 and says he feels God obligates man to be a servant
Editor's Note: This story has been republished with the permission of