I was quoted in a NY Times article about the outstanding work that Muslim activists are doing across the country to prevent domestic violence in our communities. Many of us have been doing this work for many years, and I was featured in a front page article in the NY Times nearly 20 years ago about my work mentoring new fathers in a community based grass root effort in Washington, D.C. My wife, Nia Seale, was working in that same institution with young mothers.
However, I want to be clear that we reject the implication that Islam is somehow inherently violent against women and that a “new interpretation” is needed to address this problem. Our goal is to return people to the original and proper understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah on this issue. We believe that the Words of the Qur’an are the Words of God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and that it has been preserved. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – who is the best example – never beat his wives. The Qur’an calls upon men to be maintainers and protectors of women and this is a religion of expressing God’s love (rahma) and being kind to one’s spouse. The goal of a marriage in Islam is to promote love and compassion between the spouses and the family in general.
I’d like to also mention that I am also leading an initiative called Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence. and that Shaykh Muhammad Adam and I edited a book authored by Salma Abu Gidieri called “What Islam Says About Domestic Violence“. Sister Salma is a certified family counselor in the Northern Virginia community. I recently did a seminar on this subject with Sister Salma at Texas Dawah Conference and a powerful film developed by FAITH on domestic violence was shown that explains the reality of domestic violence and gives its solutions
I also participated in many interfaith projects to train community leaders on the reality of domestic violence, proposed solutions and developed training materials. In addition, MANA is also leading a marriage initiative in order to help Imams and community members to achieve these objectives. There is no doubt that Muslims are on the ground and active in fighting domestic violence
Finally, I just want to mention that I am grateful to God that my wife and I are approaching 20 years together and that we are very happy together and we have been spared of having this sickness in our family. In our gratitude to God for having saved us, part of our family’s ministry is to help and work with young couples.