MINAB (The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board) opened the floor to different backgrounds of faiths coming together in discussing and raising awareness of domestic abuse. Nour attended this discussion to see how we can collectively tackle this issue and what other faiths were doing about this. One thing for sure was that everyone agreed it still is a major issue in the 21st century and not being exclusive to any one faith.
Inter Faith week (20th – 26th November 2011) was presented by MINAB who invited along faith leaders, councillors, other civil society organisations and civil servants to discuss how faith institutions can contribute to tackling domestic abuse. Coming to a consensus that the community does turn to faithful leaders for help, however the faithful leaders such as Sheikh Hasan made a very valid point; emphasising the duty is not only the imams, or rabbis or priest or community leaders but rather the community as a whole need to become mobilised. On the note of community it was positive to see organisations, individuals and all faiths sharing their experiences. The agenda of domestic abuse is not new to them as many of these community leaders have been in their respective fields for a number of years. Is it then any surprise they are not pleased that after years of hard work not much is changing?
Whilst present in the hall, hearing all views, it occurred to us that most of these cases were high in the Asian community, and that rather than focusing on the solution, we should look the at the preventions; as prevention is better than cure! The programme which stood out the most was the perpetrator programme, in this segment the DVIP were presenting the importance of having the programmed specialised within the specific faiths, as this will work in the favour of the perpetrator to break down walls. DVIP discussed ideas of using cognitive therapy, intensive courses; removing the misconception that Islam condones domestic abuse where outreach work is a necessity. These brilliant ideas have been put into practice and Alhamdulillah DVIP was sharing these methods because they worked in order for other organisations to adopt and utilise them.
Jewish Women’s Aid represented the Jewish community, which is the only Jewish DV service in London. What we learnt from them was we need to step out of the blackboard and start utilising the facilities we have now to engage and campaign. Such as making short films in order to stimulate discussions and awareness or the ‘Toilet Door Campaign’ it may sound questionable but we believe something like this is outside of the box and can work in favour in raising awareness. The campaign injects the idea of every faith based organisation to print out relevant materials and to stick them behind toilet doors of those institutes or buildings which specifically adhere to the faith you are tackling. Similarly the Ameerah Foundation, an institute in Birmingham have recently been established, their ethics are focused on providing shelter, safe housing and workshops which will give work experience to the ones in need to boost their lost confidence. Positive bond in the community only results in positive result.
The day ended with nour networking with all these different organisations and community leaders, taking down ideas and discussing future works in collaboration, insha’Allah. Together we can make a difference and bring an end to domestic violence.