Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
International Purple Hijab Day, Saturday, February 13, 2010 is a day to reflect on the deaths which have resulted from domestic violence. A purple hijab is an apt reference for this phenomenon. The hijab—or head scarf, is a symbol of the modesty and piety associated with Muslim womanhood. Purple is a color associated with mourning. Hopefully, a purple hijab will bring to mind what is important for us to remember.
Remember Aasiya Zubair Hassan whose decapitated body was found by upstate New York police after they were told by her husband where to find it. Remember Sandeela Kanwal whose strangled body was found in her Jonesboro, Georgia, bed after someone in her household called the police early in the morning on July 6, 2008. These are just two of the 11 confirmed cases of murder in the US of Muslims by Muslim family members. Two of the 11 cases are of men, one murdered by his wife and the other a murder-suicide. Unfortunately there are other reports of murders in the US due to domestic abuse that can’t be substantiated at this time.
The Baitul Salaam Network, Inc., a national domestic violence awareness organization has put out a call for all in the Islamic community here in the US and abroad to reflect on the cases of death due to domestic violence in the Islamic community here in the US and around the world. “We have a very serious problem of domestic abuse, both nationally and internationally, that we as a community need to face head-on and work together to eradicate,” says Hadayai Majeed, co-founder and administrator of the organization.
So far the call has been answered by other organizations and individuals throughout the US. In Rhode Island the Healthy Families Initiative will host an all day workshop using materials developed by the Peaceful Families Project, a Muslim domestic violence think tank and advocacy organization headquartered in northern Virginia. In Atlanta, Georgia, Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence-Atlanta, an initiative of Baitul Salaam Network, Inc., facilitated by Professor Shyam Sriram of Georgia Perimeter College, has coordinated a prayer vigil. The host is the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam located in East Atlanta, on Saturday, February 13 beginning at 12 noon. In New York City HARIM, a Muslim women’s artist and writers collaborative, will host a literary event featuring South Asian poetry, at 37th Avenue and 74th in Street Jackson Heights. Other events are planned in the Midwest and Far West. On the same day, organizers have called for a moment of silence in the Islamic community, to begin at 12:12 pm, to remember all eleven reported murders of Muslims due to domestic violence and all others that have not been reported in the US and around the world.
Islam does not teach nor condone abuse of any living thing. It teaches Muslims not to harm others and Muslims are taught to believe there is a grave punishment for Muslims who do harm to others or abuse the land, sea or plant life. Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the example of how excellent a human being can be, was known to have never harmed anyone in his family. He only used violence when on the battlefield against a clearly identified enemy. He taught self-restraint and peace during his time here on earth. Muslim domestic violence advocates want to make it clear without any doubt that these heinous crimes that have been committed in some of the homes in the Islamic community are not supported by the Holy Quran or the valid Ahadith (life sayings and teachings of Prophet Muhammad) and are not the norm. These are learned behaviors that have nothing to do with religious teachings or practices.
AltMuslimah, an online Islamic newspaper, has launched a web site (located at UNIFEM Say-No UNiTE) devoted to domestic abuse activism. They also were instrumental in coordinating a multi-racial and multi-ethnic domestic violence advocacy forum, last February, called V2A, hosted by Masjid Dar Al Islam in Arlington,Virginia. The newspaper has compiled a calendar of events for the weekend of February 12-14, 2010, which includes Khutbahs (Friday sermons) focusing on the subject of domestic abuse that will be given at Muslim places of worship throughout the US.
Muslims are uniting against domestic abuse in the US and abroad and want to make it known that domestic abuse in any form will no longer be tolerated in the Islamic community and that survivors of abuse and their supporters are speaking up and out.
To get more information about events associated with International Purple Hijab Day contact Hadayai Majeed at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-255-8500.
Note: Posted as an act of public service and awareness.