Domestic Abuse: A hidden evil

Joseph Interfaith Foundation in association with Imams Against Domestic Abuse and the Central mosque, London, held a major seminar at the mosque on Sunday 30th March, 2-5 pm called “Domestic Abuse: A hidden evil”. This was the first time that senior imams from major mosques were officially speaking in public against domestic abuse.

The major aim of the seminar is to inform the community about misunderstanding religious interpretations on behaviour towards women, and how the community can help and support the abused women. We are greatly honoured to have received a letter of support from Baroness Warsi, senior Minister of State for Faith and Communities.

Mehri Niknam chaired the session and said in her introduction: “Domestic abuse occurs in all religions and all societies. That is why we have invited representatives of both communities to speak about it today.

Imam Hasan and Sheikh Khalifa discussed at length verse 4:34 0f the Qur’an and its philological, historical, sociological background. They also gave comprehensive explanation of the verse in hadith and other traditional sources. Both speakers agreed that hitting of women is against the ethical principles of Islam and the behaviour of the Prophet towards his own wives.

Rabbi Rothschild, a senior rabbi, gave a talk on the position of women in Judaism. She spoke about similarities of abused women in Jewish and Muslim communities, but also highlighted the efforts of the Jewish Bet Din to give greater support to abused women who come to them for help.

Lee Wax, representing Jewish Women’s Aid, gave a talk on how that organisation has been supporting Jewish women against domestic abuse in the last 30 years and what lessons can be learnt from that by the Muslim community.

Huda Jawad spoke about the lack of organised structure in the Muslim community to support abused women in domestic violence. She added that such an abuse includes emotional and financial abuse. Among the topics discussed during Q & A session were:

- The influence of forced marriages on domestic abuse
- The misconception of culture with religious commandment
- The influence of migration marriages – when a man or a woman comes to this country simply to marry a person from their community- on domestic abuse.
- The imbalanced influence of the spouse’s family leading to domestic abuse
- Can pre-nuptial agreements reduce domestic violence?

It was decided that the Foundation in association with Imams Against Domestic Abuse and the Muslim community on this issue.

domesticAbuse001 Introduction - Mehri Niknam
domesticAbuse002 Imam Hasan Speaking
domesticAbuse003 Rabbi Speaking
domesticAbuse005 Audience