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Muslim Women Fight Domestic Abuse in Calgary

Muslim Women Fight Domestic Abuse in Calgary
Jawaria Shoaib with the Islamic Circle of North America Sisters says much-needed conversations are happening within her community. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

CALGARY, Alberta – Breaking taboos and misconceptions about their culture, the Muslim community in Calgary hosted a special gathering on Saturday to mark The International Day of Domestic Violence Against Women.

“There is a lot of fear within the Muslim community, which is acting as a barrier from them to come out and meet with other people as well,” Jawaria Shoaib, a member of the Islamic Circle of North America Sisters, told CBC on Sunday.

“But … we are taking our own baby steps and just to support them to come up and speak up,” she said.

Hosted by ICNA Sisters, Saturday’s event brought together groups of women from the Muslim community as well as agencies like the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) to talk about domestic abuse in Calgary.

With all the negative propaganda surrounding Islam and violence against women, the event opened discussions about the sensitive topic.

“If you really want to help women who are suffering violence, please do not link this with their religion, because religion is important to them,” Shoaib said.

Attending the event, the Calgary YWCA’s Patricia Irvine said her organization helped 1,100 women and more than 600 children last year.

Irvine warned that the city suffered a dire need for shelters, adding that domestic violence is an issue that can touch anyone.

“Women need to use this day to really understand and believe that domestic violence doesn’t discriminate, it goes all across the board, different cultures, and different homes,” she said.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women has been held for 36 years.

Muslim scholars confirm that any form of domestic violence contradicts Islamic teachings.

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