Muslims in Philadelphia Seek to Address Domestic Violence

July 28, 2005

Source: North Jersey Media Group / Knight Ridder News Service

On July 28, 2005 the Knight Ridder News Service reported, "The Philadelphia clergy council - known as the Majlis Ash'Shura of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley - has adopted a tough policy of public shunning of Muslims who abuse their spouses or abandon their families.

Under the initiative, adopted in May, offenders will go on a list circulated among area Muslims. They will be banned from future marriages in communities that adhere to the policy. Fellow Muslims will be discouraged from patronizing any businesses they own.

'We need to take a public stand,' said Imam Isa Abdul-Mateen, secretary of the Majlis Ash'Shura, an association of 30 imams. 'We want people to know that this will not be tolerated'... Domestic violence appears no more prevalent in Muslim communities than elsewhere, but Islamic advocacy groups and others have tried to push the problem into the open.

With the new policy, Philadelphia leaps over other Muslim communities that are just starting to confront the issue, said Maha Alkhateeb, project manager of the Peaceful Families Project, a Virginia-based nonprofit that addresses domestic violence among Muslims.

A striking aspect of the initiative is that it was started not by women advocates but by the male leadership, said Amina Wadud, author of Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text From a Woman's Perspective. 'This is setting a new precedent, globally.'"