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Muslim Women Shelter Opens in Edmonton

Amid growing number of Muslim women, refugees, and immigrants fleeing abuse and violence, a Muslim group is set to open its latest shelter in Edmonton, Alberta, offering a much-needed service to vulnerable women, The Toronto Star reported.

“In terms of why we came here, we were getting calls from here,” said Aliyah Gauri, the project manager for Nisa Homes.

Nisa Homes offers transitional homes for Muslim, immigrant and refugee women and children who are seeking shelter after fleeing domestic violence.

Nisa Homes was started in Mississauga, Ont., 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.

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According to a Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics report released in February 2017, there has been a two percent increase in family violence in Alberta since 2014. Out of all Canadian provinces, Alberta currently ranks third highest for its rate of intimate partner violence.

With the absence of shelters capable of accommodating Muslim women in the city, Nisa [which means women in Arabic] successfully raised $100,000 to open a shelter in Edmonton.

With Islamophobia on the rise in the country, women fleeing domestic violence found themselves in another vulnerable situation, getting abused on the hand of other residents.

“What they found was that a lot of women are not stepping forward because they are afraid of stigmas, they are afraid of Islamophobia … so they either prefer to stay in those abusive relationships or end up staying with friends or family or couch surfing,” Yasmine Youssef, national manager of Nisa Homes, said.

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