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This blog originally appeared at Tariq Nelson.
I feel that these types of articles are good because it shows that Muslims are being pro-active in not accepting abuse (we’re talking broken jaws and limbs here in some cases) and helping the abused find help. There is a fine line between “exposing the dirty laundry” and doing what it takes to solve problems (of all types) as the sister says below.
“The Muslim community is under a lot of scrutiny, so they are reluctant to look within to face their problems because it will substantiate the arguments demonizing them,” said Rafia Zakaria, a political science graduate student at Indiana University who is starting a legal defense fund for Muslim women. “It puts Muslim women in a difficult position because if they acknowledge their rights, they are seen as being in some kind of collusion with all those who are attacking Muslim men. So the question is how to speak out without adding to the stereotype that Muslim men are barbaric, oppressive, terrible people.”
This is why some people would rather remain in denial then admit that such problems exist. The fact is that *some* Muslim men are barbaric, oppressive, terrible people and we should distance ourselves (and our religion) from this type of crap rather than denying what everyone can see.
The answer, she and other activists have concluded, is to show that Muslim Americans are tackling the problem.
“Domestic violence is an issue we can deal with as a community, and not by saying we don’t have this problem, which is obviously a lie,” Ms. Zakaria said.
EXACTLY. It makes no sense to sit there and give a bunch of propaganda anymore. If the “dirty laundry” is exposed, it makes no sense to deny that it is dirty. It is better to tackle the problem than to deny it and expel and silence those who try to say anything about it. Often these tireless activists are accused – by simply bringing up the problem – of “blasting the Muslims” or “hating the Muslims” which is far from the truth. Others who start shelter projects are told to herd these women all off into a bunch of stranger marriages to get them some shelter.
Some activists describe being expelled from mosques and holiday fairs when they first tried to broach the topic five years ago, but they have achieved a wider audience by allying themselves with sympathetic clerics.
Here in Northern Virginia, there is an organization called the Peaceful Families Project – run by sister Maha Alkhateeb, who was mentioned in the article and is extremely active in this area – that organizes domestic violence awareness workshops and works toward fighting this problem. Further, Imam Muhammad Magid of ADAMS and my good friend Imam Johari Abdul-Malik of Dar Al Hijrah are also involved in this work.
Work is being done and I encourage everyone in the area to get involved in some way.
Editor’s Note: We here at MMW agree. The New York Times article deals with sensitive issues in a way that doesn’t point fingers at Islam and shows positive change. Finally, a good article about problems within the community! Good article ensure that readers will become aware of the issues rather than get their hackles up over how they are portrayed or mischaracterized.