Violence against women is a global issue. We all hear about oppression in societies where cultural and social taboos have a strong hold on the role and position of women. However, even in supposedly progressive countries such as Britain; physical, mental and emotional abuse is an everyday reality for many women. The sad thing is that many women suffer in silence. This may be because of cultural restrictions, stigma, fear, lack of confidence or just because they don’t know who to turn to for help.
The problem of Muslim women subjected to domestic violence is more acute because even though there are changes in the UK Muslim community, we still remain very patriarchal. With this comes defined gender roles where the males in a household are still assumed to be the income generators. This automatically equates to a position of power and control.
Unfortunately, this power can be misused by some men. For Muslim victims of domestic violence they often endure abuse for ‘a bigger cause’. Examples of this may be for the reputation of the family, welfare of the children or simply the pressure from the family and community to remain with the abuser.
Over the past year Muslim Hands have supported Amirah Foundation in delivering over 40 awareness raising and prevention workshops in mosques and Muslim organisations. These sessions covered vital topics associated with domestic violence such as honour based violence and forced marriage. We felt that it was crucial to raise awareness of these subjects in order for real change to occur.
Muslim Hands’ policy on domestic violence is zero tolerance- no individual should accept or be subject to any form of abuse. We are particularly passionate about the rights of Muslim women as we feel this group is most vulnerable to domestic abuse. The Islamic ethos and direction is clear on equality and the rights of women. Within families, men and women both have complimentary roles and at no point is there a religious demand or expectation for women to accept and tolerate violence.
Muslim Hands seeks to empower victims of domestic violence by dispelling traditional social/cultural myths and prejudices against Muslim women which result in abuse. We do this through supporting campaigns, empowering women through leadership programmes and supported environments and building the capacity of organisations to support women in their time of need.
Muslim Hands are very proud that the work which we have supported has had such a positive impact and we pray that Allah rewards Amirah Foundation for their good work. We are committed to continuing to support organisations like Amirah to put an end to domestic violence in the UK.