A Canadian Muslim group is raising ftunds to open a new shelter for Muslim women in Winnipeg, expanding its shelters across many different Canadian districts.
“For example, women who practice Islam, women who spoke different languages, women and children who came from different cultural or religious backgrounds – they weren’t getting their needs met,” said Zena Chaudhry, Sakeenah Homes’ chief executive officer, CTV News reported.
“We had clients who would come and say, ‘I was at so-and-so shelter and someone was being very Islamaphobic. They would rip my head scarf off. They wouldn’t let me pray, they wouldn’t let me fast.’ And these are things that we continue to hear over the past four and a half years.”
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Sakeenah Homes, founded in 2018, already operates transitional housing and supports Muslim women and their children in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Ottawa.
Chaudhry said that they decided to open a facility in Winnipeg after noticing an increase in calls from Manitoba.
“We have seen the need in the past two and a half years in Winnipeg go up. That means our call volume from Winnipeg has risen, the number of clients that we see in Winnipeg has risen,” she said.
Towards that end, the group has launched an online fundraiser with a goal of $25,000. They estimate that the facility will cost anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000 to run annually.
“I’ve always seen that whenever there is a true need and we’ve set out to do something, somehow that provision comes. We are able to do it,” she said. “If people believe in the cause, then they’re willing to give.”
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There are also many other Muslim groups offering support for women fleeing abuse.
Nisa Homes, another Mississauga-based group, also offers transitional homes for Muslim, immigrant and refugee women and children who are seeking shelter after fleeing domestic violence.
Nisa Homes was started by the National Zakat Foundation, a non-profit organization that collects donations from Muslims and gives to other Muslims in need.
The group operates four shelters across Canada; in Mississauga, Ont., Surrey, B.C., Windsor, Ont., and Calgary. The homes shelter anywhere between eight to 12 women at a time.
Muslim scholars confirm that any form of domestic violence contradicts Islamic teachings.