On Wednesday 23rd November 2011 at the Muslim College, the MINAB held a discussion on“The role of faith institutions in tackling domestic violence.”
The aim of the discussion was to grow an awareness of issues surrounding domestic abuse. To work towards creating an environment within the faith institution in Britain in which domestic abuse is understood and recognized as unacceptable and where appropriate responses are available.
The discussion highlighted some of the excellent work being done by local and national faith groups and provided an opportunity for inter faith learning and cooperation. However there was real concern that at times there was apathy, and neglect by institution and faith leaders on this issue.
The meeting began with a short 5 minutes presentations on:
Background to domestic violence,
by Joyce Parker & Uzma Butt, Community Safety, Ealing Council
Working with the perpetrators of domestic violence,
by Mohamed Baleela, Al-Aman, The Arabic Speaking Project of the DVIP
Engaging faith leaders to challenge domestic violence and support those vulnerable
Mehri Niknam MBE, Executive Director, Joseph Inter Faith Foundation
Pastoral care for victims of domestic violence
Shaykh Hassan Gonzalez, Directer, Harlesden Islamic Cultural Centre
Sharing the experiences of Jewish Women’s Aid
Frances Turner, Chair of Jewish Women’s Aid
Experience of the Muslim Community Helpline
Najme Ebrahim, Muslim Community Helpline
Support services for Muslim women
Shazama Manir, Director, Amirah Foundation
Tackling Domestic Violence with Sikh Communties
Charanjit Ajit Singh, Hounslow Friends of Faith
Chairman: Dr. Faisal Hameed, Dean, Muslim College
The discussion highlighted that domestic abuse manifests itself in a variety of ways:‐
* A parent experiencing bullying and intimidation from a teenage child.
* A partner in a marriage dominating and controlling their spouse.
* Regular and repeated physical abuse within a marriage.
* Regular physical or emotional abuse by relative.
* An older relative being physically or emotionally abused.
* An elderly relative being financially exploited.
Key points highlighted
* There are no acceptable excuses, this needs to be communicated clearly. Sadly, some victims blame themselves for the abuse.
* Domestic abuse is not confined to any faith, socio economic class, race or age.
* Little provision to support perpetrators of domestic violence.
* Faith and community led responses are particularly effective.
* Imams, and other faith leaders can use sermons to raise awareness about domestic violence.
* Within faith institutions there is some very good practice some of which was highlighted in the meeting, what is working needs to be shared across our communities.
The MINAB will be shortly releasing clips of the discussion. Furthermore, we will work with our members to raise awareness and equip them to respond appropriately to domestic violence.
The MINAB will be working with partners to develop an alliance to tackle domestic abuse. This alliance will operate to share information, raise awareness, support and develop exisiting campaigns/good practice.
Maulana Shahid Raza, Chairman of the MINAB said:
“Religion and culture rightly or wrongly has impacted on domestic abuse. If we can work together we are stronger and more resilient to tackling domestic abuse and violence. I am pleased to note the interest in this topic with leaders, practitioners across different faith communities coming to share experience, ideas, and challenges.”
Furthermore Maulana Shahid Raza commended the work the Leeds Makkah Masjid and NHS Leeds in producing
“‘Domestic abuse – a guide for Muslim communities’ which was launched on Friday 25th November. The guide aims to help the Muslim community to understand, raise awareness and respond appropriately to domestic abuse."