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Edmonton Mosque Hosts Self-Defense Classes for Women

'We want people to feel safe'

Feeling the heat of anti-Muslim rhetoric, a local mosque in Edmonton is hosting a series of self-defense classes to empower Muslim women and give them a sense of safety.

“We want people to feel safe,” instructor Janan Jomha told CTV News.

“We want people to have the confidence to be in the community and feel like they belong. That’s what we should strive to do, especially here in Canada.”

📚 Read Also: This Defense Ninja Works to Empower Muslim Women

Al Rashid Mosque will host the classes in August to help them feel safer when being in the community.

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“First we teach them to use their voice, be vocal and try to de-escalate them before they become physical,” Jomha said.

“We focus a lot on body language, using our voice and using the community’s voice to shut down threatening situations.

“The goal of self-defense is to feel safe.”

Kaitlyn Molo, another instructor from Elite Taekwondo Edmonton, said participants said they felt more comfortable and confident in themselves after completing the introductory training.

“We got really great feedback,” she said. “After they took that course many people said they felt more confident to go into their community spaces.”

Feeling Safe

Jessica Snow, a participant in Sunday’s class, said she decided to take the classes after the increase in the number of racially motivated attacks in the city.

“With all that’s in the news – visual minorities getting attacked, in many cases, they are women as well – more than ever there is a need to have that knowledge,” Snow said. “To have those tools in the back of your pocket.

“I think it’s always been something that’s been a good idea regardless of what age you are, but perhaps more so than ever today.”

Due to concerns about Islamophobia, many women are making their mission to empower  Muslim women to defend themselves against anti-Muslim terrorism and harassment — on the street and in the workplace.

These classes help fill an important need for Muslim women who may feel especially vulnerable in the current political and social climate.

In 2018, Rana Abdelhamid, a young Muslim business woman, created a new self-defense technique against attacks involving grabbing the hijab.

Chicago-based self-defense instructor Zaineb Abdulla also, in 2016, published videos teaching Muslim women how to respond to hate attacks and trials to grab their hijab.