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Islamic Center Educates Public About Domestic Violence

Irving — The Valley Ranch Islamic Center offers a sanctuary for prayer and offers a variety of Islamic lessons (Halaqa) during the week. Guests from “Peaceful Families,” a non-profit organization from Great Falls Virginia, presented an ‘Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence Abuse and Neglect’ on Nov. 15.

“Many Muslims encounter domestic violence every day,” Salma Elkadi Abugideiri, a licensed professional counselor and consultant/trainer for Peaceful Families, said. “This is not what the Qur’an teaches. We want to bring this message to help husbands and wives and their children.”

The presentation was focused on the verses in the Qur’an that declare men and women are equal and any kind of abuse is counter to the teachings of Islam. Many statements in the Qur’an prohibit domestic violence.

Verses from the Qur’an used as examples included: “And among His signs is this: that He created for you mates from among yourselves so that you may dwell in tranquility with them. He has put love and mercy between your hearts; in that are signs for those who reflect.” (30:21)

“Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity.” (4:19)

“Either remain together or separate with kindness.” (2:229)

According to the presentation, if there is abuse in a marriage, the man and woman both have the Divine right to separate from each other and even end the marriage in divorce.

El-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan travels the country representing the Aafia Foundation out of Silver Spring, Maryland, a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to advancing human rights through education and advocacy.

“We have a saying in our religion, ‘Human rights begins at home,’” Saalakhan said. “These are our God-given rights for every human being. There’s a saying from the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon Him, who said, ‘Allah, Almighty God, is reported to have said to Him [Muhammad], ‘I have forbidden oppression for myself, and made it forbidden amongst you.’ So, oppression is something that is a foundational principle within Islam that no human being is supposed to perpetrate against any other human being.

“Unfortunately, it’s a large part of the sign of the times. We’re living in very polarizing times. There have always been two Americas. There is the America that we project to the world, and there’s the America that we impose upon the world. We are a nation of contradictions. Part of the responsibility of the focused and the good-hearted, who truly want the best for this country as well as the best for their fellow human beings, is to do as much as we possibly can to help this country, or if necessary, to force this country to live up to the better part of itself.

“A big problem is we have leaders who are closed minded, and then we have people who blindly follow those leaders. They use fear to manipulate, and many people are afraid of what tomorrow is going to bring. There are so many changes taking place in this country that are causing insecurity and instability within individuals, within families, within communities. So, you have this fear, and politicians who are exploiting this fear.

“Everything focuses on the extremists, and so we are losing more and more of the middle. That’s one of the things the Aafia Foundation emphasizes. It’s the middle, not the extremes, and finding common ground,” Saalakhan said.