From Medill Reports, Chicago:
Hamdard has become an indispensable force in the American Muslim community, attracting women across the country. Such culturally tailored shelters are rare nationwide, and with just 11 beds, the Hamdard Center turned away 859 women and children this past year.
Activists are using the occasion of Domestic Violence Awareness month to highlight the need for improved advocacy among abused Muslim females. The community, however, is beset by unique cultural challenges.
Though domestic violence occurs among American Muslims at the same rate as other groups, it has become an increasingly sensitive topic for Muslims. To some, in a post 9/11 world, speaking out means feeding the stereotypes demonizing Islam.
One vocal cleric is Imam Muhammad Magid, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America. He advocates discussion of domestic abuse during marriage counseling sessions at mosques.
“Violence against women is real and cannot be ignored,” said Magid, who leads seven mosques in Virginia. "In no way does Allah sanction these acts."