Domestic Violence

Following the creation of this MADV section, I have received e-mails from Muslims all over the world - U.S.A. to Pakistan, telling me about the shelters they have set up for Muslims women and children. Not only do some Muslim men abuse their wives, they go after their wives when the wives seek help...

I have not witheld any addresses or numbers because it might prevent the abused woman from going directly for help. Also, husbands can easily locate these shelters through the phone numbers. Let's all pray to Allah that He guides the psychotic wife batterers and their wives.

If you have similar information, pls send it to me.

"I am a volunteer at a D.C. shelter for battered women, and an abuser's knowledge of the location of the shelter is a threat to the safety of not only the woman who he abuses, but also all the residents of the shelter. As long as the relative location of the shelter is published, a woman can call the shelter and request to stay, or get in touch with shelters who do have more space. My Sister's Place, a shelter for battered women and children in Washington, D.C., has a 24-hour crisis hotline. The number is 202-529-5991. They can also help you find shelters in your area of the U.S."

Asalaamu Alaikum,
There is a problem with posting such info for sisters here in the states. When sisters are fleeing from an abusive husband, the perpetrating husband will make efforts to continue his violence upon her and her children, and try to follow them. If he finds out where she is, then not only is her life in danger, but also the lives of the other battered women who are seeking shelter and time to recover from their experiences. I can't speak for other places, but here in the USA batterers take care of each other and if one were to become aware of the location of such places, he would "spread the news". I am speaking from bitter experience! These are "professional criminals" here! Perhaps it would be better to let distressed sisters know the location of the masajid here, and then let them contact a single sister in a jamaat to get help, Insha'Allah.
May Allah show the Islam to all those who go astray.Amin.
Inda'Allah, Aminah

"Dear Sister in Islam
As salamualikum,

I really appreciated the fact that someone was putting together a list of shelters available to Muslim battered women. Mashaallah may Allah reward your work. I have one concern though. If this made very accessible then the victimizers/violent husbands of these women would also have access to these places. Wouldn't this jepardize the cause? A suggestion might be to send this list out to selected trusted persons, in each community who can be contacts that are known to women. There are concerns with that as well, but shelters need to be protected in order to exist and function, Inshallah.

Wa salam, 
Your sister in Islam from Kansas
Palwasha Kakar

Assalamoalaikum Sister Fareena,

May Allah (SWT) reward you for your good work and intentions.  What follows is a post I received from the Washington, DC Muslims on-line list. Insha'Allah, it will prove helpful.

Shahzad Bhatti

-----Original Message-----
From: Washington DC Area Muslim Network []
Sent: April 29, 1999 10:06 AM
To: Washington DC Area Muslim Network
Subject: dc: womens shelter in D.C.

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah
From: tijuana clarke <>

as  salaamu alaykum,

I am writing because i was told that i could advertise for our womens and childrens shelter in  Washington, D.C.

The shelter is located at 1447 Fairmont street in N.W. It is strictly for women and children who are homeless or displaced temporarily from their homes.  There is an intake interview process which helps us to determine the background situation and the need to stay in the shelter.

For more information about the shelter or for anyone who would like to contribute donations to the shelter please contact:

Amatullah Abdullah at (703) 671-5915,
Amirah Abdus Shakur at (703) 820-4618,
Shadrianne Owens at (703) 566-1482

Fareena Alam
I received your request for info on shelters for Muslims run by Muslims.  We don't have any of these facilities in Arizona. The ones we have are operated by non MUslims and I would rather not refer a Muslimah to them unless there was absolutely no choice.  

I am a cofounder of AzMuslim Family Health and Social Services here in Arizona and the Islamic Social Service Providers Association of North America. 

Please forward any resource you find to these organizations so that they can help promote the network to safety for abused Muslim women and children.

The email for AzMFHSS is <>

The contact for ISSPA is Sis Maryam.  She is compiling a list of resources in conjunction with this years Muslim Social Service Conference to be held in Washington D.C., May 29-31.  Also Sis Shahina Siddiqi in Canada is another resource for Muslim Social Services and part of ISSPA.  Sis Maryam's email address is

Much sucess on your efforts.  May Allah reward you.

Aneesah Nadir

As salamu alaikum;
I've had the valued experience of working in a battered(non-Muslim) womens' shelter.  I just want you to know that I know of no established "Muslim site" in my area. If ever I am needed, InshaAllah I will try my best to assist who ever needs shelter . This is an topic that I am very much interested in. In the past have counseled/assisted several women who have been in abusive situations. This subject needs our/Muslims' immediate attention and have been denied for too long. Please keep me updated on whatever projects that exists-inshaAllah.
Islamically yours,
Matiniah Yahya

Dear Fareena, 

Assalamulaikum wrt wbt

I practised syariah law before joining the corporate sector recently. The rate of battered women and children is quite high in Malaysia. The Muslim women both the rich and poor do get abused by their husbands as I have seen in many cases. In these instances I have always referred them to the Women's Aid Organisation which runs a half way home for abused women. However it is not a Muslim Home. When I was a student International Islamic University, we took at as a community service and go to the Home to counsel the the women there. The telephone number is 03-7554426

ABIM use to have the Rumah Madina for abused women. I do not know if it is still there. PERTIWI (Persatuan Ibu Tunggal) Single Mothers' Association may also be contacted. InsyAllah I tr to get the number for you.

Kindly revert to me if you need to make any enquiries.

Subject : Baitul Salaam - Spousal Abuse

As Salaamu Alaikum,

Baitul Salaam (House of Peace) is a two year old non-profit collaboration of individuals, organizations and social service agencies that have come together to 'eliminate' the crime of 'Spousal Abuse,' in our ummah.  We organize quarterly forums where we discuss this issue in an informative, and constructive manner.  At this time we have three projects that we have initiated and maintained since January 1998.

*The Mother's of The Faithful Thrift boutique*  This started as a mobile vending operation going to various conventions and vending at events.  Now we have a permanent home in Lithonia, GA a suburb of Atlanta.

*Quarterly Forums*  We host four forums yearly that help communities begin the discussion about  'Spousal Abuse,' in ways that the entire family can participate, and hopefully use in their everyday lives.

*The Baitul Salaam Residence, and 24 hr referral line,  we have maintain a 24hr referral line for those needing information on housing, food, support groups, and other services.  This year by June 15, we plan on opening a temporary residence for women and children who need to leave violent homes.

This like all other social justice related work does not get the attention that other social service agencies get.  We need your support in continuing this effort.  We ask all who can support a cause like this to give a modest $5 per mo.  This is used as seed money for the projects listed above.  This keeps us a float as we write grants for larger sums of money to continue our cause. Plus, Muslims need to support ourselves instead of running to others for support.  Especially when it comes to our families.  We need to take care of our own.

You can send all request for information and send donations to:

Baitul Salaam
P.O. Box 11041
Atlanta, GA  30310
or call (404) 285-9489 pin 00

We thank you in advance for your support.

This is what I know (the ones I work with):

1.  ADAMS Center, Herndon, Virginia:  Provides counselling, assistance, and misc. services.
2.  Dar-Ul-Hijra Masjid, Falls Church, Virginia:  Provides some counselling and assistance.
3.  ECDC (Ethiopian Community Development Council) Multicultural Community Service, Arlington, Virginia:  Provides some counselling and rehabilitation assistance.

There are more, but I haven't been able to investigate.


As salaamu alaikum, my name is Asiya Abdullah and I have information on a Muslim Women's Shelter in DC...

"Lending a Helping Hand"
1447 Clifton Street, NW
Washington, DC
(202)332-4099 (speak with either Sister Juleta or Sister Amirah)

This is a fairly new shelter and al hamdulillah, it seems to be going well.  The sisters are working hard to make it a truly Islamic environment.  It is not solely for battered women, but for any Muslim woman or child who is for some reason without a home.  After much consultation, the sisters decided to open the home to Muslims only, in order that the environment remain Islamic.  This of course leaves them with no government help, and are paying the bills out of their own pockets.  They need volunteers for all kinds of help, and one of the sisters will be able to tell you more about this.  If you have any more questions, please email me at <>.  May Allah reward you for you efforts in remedying this problem, and may He help us in finding the appropriate solutions.  Ameen.

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
Sister Asiya

Dear Ms. Fareena,

I got your below mail through a lot of hands. I'm currently living in Ann Arbor, MI, USA and we have a total Muslim population of 3,000 or so here. We also have one of the best mosques/community associations in this part of USA. I don't know about the MCA-AA's facilities for sheltering women (though I think there would be), but you can visit their web site for further details. Their contact info is also given there, in case you'd like to contact them and find out for your purpose:

Usamah Siddiqi

AA sister,

Thought you might find this useful...Since this is a secular establishment, perhaps we can employ some Muslims in this group or work together with them.

The following positions may be of interest to your US-based subscribers.

Badrul Haque
Washington, DC

Full-Time Position Available:
Domestic Violence Program Coordinator

About the Organization:

Founded in 1989, Sakhi for South Asian Women is a non-profit organization based in New York City that works to end violence against women of South Asian origin.  We work to empower women, particularly survivors of domestic violence, and create a safe space for all South Asian women through advocacy, education, leadership development, and community organizing. Sakhi currently operates the following three inter-related programs: Domestic Violence, Economic Justice, and Community Outreach. Our work is carried out by an active volunteer base of fifty, a two-member staff, and a Board of Directors.

Position Responsibilities:

The Domestic Violence Program Coordinator will be responsible for facilitating our work with survivors of domestic violence as well as providing direction and vision to the project.  She will work closely with other members of Sakhi, and under the direct supervision of the Program
Director.  The Program Coordinator's responsibilities are to:

+ Manage Sakhi's Hotline and handle crisis calls
+ Provide advocacy and counseling to individual women who are survivors of domestic violence
+ Help women access social services, safe housing, job training, and legal aid
+ Coordinate volunteer advocates in providing effective support forsurvivors of domestic violence
+ Facilitate monthly support groups for survivors of domestic violence
+ Provide court accompaniments and interpretation to survivors of domestic violence
+ Organize monthly consultation clinics on matrimonial and immigration law and public benefits
+ Conduct presentations with other volunteers and actively participate in community organizing and coalition-building efforts
+ Train new volunteers in advocacy and organizing
+ Network with domestic violence and immigrant rights groups, and other organizations engaged in similar or related work
+ Coordinate survivors' involvement in Sakhi's Economic Justice Project and ESL classes
+ Assist in administrative, fund-raising, media relations, and any other work as assigned


+ MSW, CSW, a related graduate degree, and/or a B.A. accompanied by significant work experience in direct advocacy and crisis intervention
+ Training and/or experience in counseling
+ Understanding of issues concerning violence against women
+ Excellent interpersonal skills
+ Strong communication, facilitation, and organization skills
+ Conversational fluency in Hindi/Urdu, with a preference for candidates who also speak Bengali
+ Ability to work flexible hours which include some evenings and weekends
+ Ability to withstand and work well under pressure
+ Computer literacy, including Microsoft Word and Excel
+ Leadership qualities and public speaking desirable

This position requires a minimum commitment of two years.Salary commensurate with experience; good benefits package

Application Deadline: Monday, April 26, 1999
Please send cover letter, resume, writing sample, and three references to:

Search Committee
Domestic Violence Program
Sakhi for South Asian Women
PO Box 20208, Greeley Square Station
NY, NY, 10001

No phone calls or faxes please! If you want to email your application to, please do not send it as an attachment.

*Sakhi encourages applications from all women of South Asian origin, including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the South Asian diaspora*

For more information about Sakhi, please check out our website at <>.

Apna Ghar, Inc. a shelter in Chicago, for predominantly Asian women and  children victims has openings for:

* Resident Advocates
* Shelter Advocate
* Legal Advocate

Information about Apna Ghar is available on our website: <>.

For further information please contact the Program Director at (773) 334-0173 or Fax (773) 334-0963 or .


In early April I got information from Sisterhood Is Global Institute regarding: Muslim Women Leaders Combat Violence Against Women and Girls, a program, including a manual to eliminate violence against women and girls in Muslim societies.

E-mail me a fax number and I will send you the press release, or e-mail them at:
Their website is: ""

Their program involves education workshops and their manual, and have been conducted
around the world apparently.

Askia Muhammad

Dear Fareena,
Your message has been forwarded to us. We are a newly formed organization and we would like to network with you.  I am sending you a copy of the INRFVVP Core Document to give you information about us. I hope you will become a member of our network.
I look forward to hearing from you.
With regards,
Riffat Hassan



In January 1999, the B.B.C. aired, in England, a documentary entitled "A Matter of Honour" about so-called "honour-killings" of girls and women in Pakistan by their close male relatives.  On February 15 and 16, 1999, ABC Nightline presented the same documentary adding two commentators who answered questions asked by Forrest Sawyer, the presenter of the program.

The two commentators were Asma Jahangir and Dr.Riffat Hassan.  Asma Jahangir, currently the President of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission is a lawyer who has represented a number of women in well-known legal cases in Pakistan. Dr. Riffat Hassan, Professor of Religious Studies and Humanities at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A., has been engaged for twenty-five years in research on the position and rights of women according to normative Islam. Since 1990 she has been involved in translating the findings of her pioneer research into concrete projects on Muslim women's empowerment and has been a major spokesperson in this area at the United Nations Conference on Population and Development at Cairo (1994) and the 4th World Conference on Women at Beijing (1995).

Both commentators pointed out in the Nightline program that the so-called "honour-killings" of girls and women in Pakistan had nothing to do with the teachings of Islam. Dr. Hassan further clarified that such crimes were related to a male-centred, male-dominated or patriarchal mindset which was being challenged by many women's groups and young Muslims in Muslim societies.  In her judgment a paradigm shift was taking place particularly at the grassroots level and amongst Muslim women and youth toward a human-rights-and-women's-rights-centred understanding of Islam. It was this shift - to which very little attention was paid by Western media - which made Dr.Hassan optimistic about the possibility of change in the future despite the grimness of the current situation of many female victims of violence in Pakistan.

Following the showing of the Nightline program, Dr. Riffat Hassan received a large number of messages by E-mail, telephone, fax and letters from a variety of women and men in the United States.  Two important sentiments that were common to these messsages were a strong sense of outrage that vulnerable girls and women were being subjected to so much brutality and violence in Pakistan, and a keen desire to do something about this state of affairs.  The idea of having a network of concerned persons working together for the rights of female victims of violence in Pakistan, and to eliminate the roots of such violence, developed spontaneously or "naturally" out of the interchange between Dr.Hassan and those who communicated with her in the context of the Nightline program.

On February 26, ten days after the program was broadcast in the United States, Dr. Hassan took the initiative of setting up a network to be called THE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR THE RIGHTS OF FEMALE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE IN PAKISTAN (henceforth to be referred to as INRFVVP).  The strength of the emotional and moral impulse generated by the Nightline program can be estimated by the fact that in less than four weeks since the announcement of the creation of the INRFVVP, more than three hundred people have either joined the network as members or have expressed sympathy and support for its aims and objectives. Daily, this number is growing as more and more people see the documentary "A Matter of Honour" in countries as distant as India and Australia, and as word about the existence of INRFVVP gets around.  In order to become an effective body able to mobilise and channelise resources to help girls and women who have become victims of violence or are vulnerable to it, the INRFVVP has undertaken to be registered as a non-profit, non-governmental organization. This registration entails the outlining of a vision/mission statement as well as the setting up of an administrative structure.


The veil of secrecy and shame which has been draped over the issue of domestic violence for centuries is gradually being lifted.  Ever-increasing amounts of statistical data pertaining to domestic violence - the major targets of which are women and children - makes it indisputable that such violence is a global phenomenon of large proportions which is not confined to any one region, country, community or culture in the world.

In the West where Islam and Muslims are often stereotyped in negative terms and associated with violence, one of the commonest ways of "Islam-and-Muslim-bashing" is to point to ways in which girls and women are discriminated against in Muslim societies and cultures. It is understandable that Muslims, especially those living in the West, feeling that they are continually under assault, react defensively to anything which appears to reinforce the negative stereotype or the association of Islam and Muslims with violence.

Certainly there is nothing at all in normative Islam embodied in the teachings of the Qur'an and the Prophet of Islam  - the two highest sources of the Islamic tradition - which authorizes or legitimizes the use of violence particularly toward disadvantaged human beings.  On the contrary, the Qur'an and the Prophet of Islam were extremely mindful of the fact that at the time of the advent of Islam in a society in which female infanticide was practised, girls and women were victims of serious discrimination and degradation.  So central was gender-equality and gender-justice to the worldview of normative Islam that it gave girls and women not only the right to live and other fundamental rights given to all human beings, but also many special rights which - taking account of their weakness and vulnerability in pre-Islamic Arabian society  - wereintended to safeguard them from any kind of abuse, oppression or injustice.

Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons especially the fact that the major religious traditions of the world developed in male-centred and male-controlled or patriarchal cultures, in Muslim countries and communities - as in other religious and non-religious countries and communities - there is a big gap between professed ideals and actual practices when it comes to the rights of girls and women. This is why in recent times, through world conferences on human rights and women's rights, and numerous documents of the United Nations and other world organizations, so much emphasis has been placed on identifying and eliminating various forms of discrimination against girls and women. There can be no doubt that acts of violence such as are represented by so-called "honour killings" constitute a very serious form of discrimination toward girls and women and that such acts which violate the sanctity of human life - the most fundamental of all human rights - cannot be condoned in the name of any culture or religion.

The so-called "honour-killings" of girls and women by their male relatives constitute a crime which - by no means - is confined to Pakistan or even to Muslim countries and communities. It has its roots in ancient tribal customs which became incorporated in many cultures. Nevertheless, it is profoundly regrettable that such a crime should be so widely prevalent in Pakistan, a country whose very name - "Land of the Pure" - denotes the idealism of theMuslims of India who engaged in a long and arduous struggle to establish a "homeland" in which the lofty principles of Islam could become actualized and institutionalized.

Many Pakistanis have reacted negatively to the documentary "A Matter of Honour" and called it "biased," "anti-Pakistan" and "anti-Islam". What is important to remember in this context is that regardless of the intentions of those who made or broadcast this film, the fact remains that the female victims of violence shown in this film are real human beings who are speaking in their own voices and whose intense pain and agony we see with our own eyes. By denying, ignoring or obscuring the occurrence of horrible crimes ranging from having acid thrown on one's face to being set on fire to being physically mutilated to being  murdered - which are documented not only in "A Matter of Honour" but in thefindings of many highly-credentialed researchers - one is neither taking the high moral ground nor advancing the best interests of Pakistan.

A number of people who have come forward to create the INRFFVP are of Pakistani origin or friends of Pakistan who love Pakistan and would never engage in "Pakistan-bashing" to please an anti-Pakistan or anti-Muslim faction or agency. The sentiments of the young Pakistanis who have volunteered to be a part of the INRFVVP are well-expressed by the young woman who said,  " I have joined this network because I want Pakistan to be what it was meant to be.  Iqbal, the great poet who is considered to be the spiritual founder of Pakistan had dreamt of a land where people could actually exercise the rights given to them by God. Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and to me the essence of Islam is compassion, justice and peace.  Even though I live in the West, Pakistan is part of my heritage and I want to reclaim it.  The only way I can reclaim it is by joining other like-minded persons who want to work towards eliminating the wrongs and violence being done to women and girl-children in Pakistan"


    The INRFVVP will work to create an heightened worldwide awareness of the degree and nature of the violence being done to girls and women in Pakistan. Recognizing the fact that female victims of violence, most of whom are poor and illiterate, are not able to change their situation without the assistance of the international community, the INRFVVP will seek the help of agencies and persons engaged in collaborative efforts to secure the rights of people who are seriously disadvantaged in the societies in which they live (as was the case with victims of apartheid in South Africa or female genital mutilation in some countries and communities).

The larger long-term goal of the INRFVVP is to examine the root-causes of violence toward girls and women by a systematic and scientific analysis of both theoretical and empirical data and to identify factors which make such violence so widely prevalent. Once the underlying factors have been discerned and understood, the INRFVVP will strive to create an environment from which the root-causes of violence toward girls and women have been eliminated. The INRFFVP believes that such an environment would be enabling and empowering not only for girls and women but also for men and families and will lead to the social and moral upliftment and advancement of the community or society at large.

The INRFFVP also believes that the findings of the research done in the context of Pakistan will be of benefit to girls and women in other countries especiallythose who, like the female war victims in Afghanistan or Bosnia, are faced with exceptionally difficult circumstances.  It is particularly hoped that the initiative taken by the INRFVVP will inspire and encourage Pakistani society and communities, as well as other Muslim societies and communities, to root out evil practices such as "honour-killings".  These and other acts of violence toward girls and women not only bring a bad name to themselves and to their religion, but are also in stark opposition to the central teachings of Islam as well as universally accepted conventions on fundamental human rights.

An immediate objective of the INRFVVP is to provide direct help - including humanitarian, medical, legal and educational assistance - to female victims of violence in Pakistan, through fund-raising by members, as well as through  collaboration and networking with supportive and philanthropic agencies andpersons.


Contributions and donations to the INRFVVP may be sent to the INRFVVP bank account at FIRSTAR BANK, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.  The bank account routing number is 042100175 and the account number is 492351556.  They may also be sent to INRFVVP at P.O. Box 17202, Louisville, Kentucky 40217, U.S.A.  (Please note that the INRFVVP is in process of becoming a tax-exempt, non-profit organization to which tax-exempt contributions may be made).


 The headquarters of the INRFVVP are in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.  The mailing address of the INRFVVP is P.O. Box 17202, Louisville, Kentucky 40217, U.S.A.  Its telephone number is 502-637-4090 and its fax number is 502-637-4002.

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