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Domestic violence campaign targets Scottish Muslims

  1/24/2013

A new campaign asking Muslim men and women to speak out against domestic violence is being launched in Scotland.

The Change This campaign wants people to report any violence they have seen or experienced.

Muslim women's charity Amina will use Islamic teachings and an Imam to challenge the misconception that Islam allows violence against women.

The charity said it was aware of many cases where people used their religion in an attempt to justify violence.

As part of the campaign, it will be going out and speaking to men and women about the issue.

    We have women coming in, phoning our helpline, time and time again and saying: 'My husband said it's okay, he told me the Koran says it's okay'”  Smina Akhtar Amina 

Smina Akhtar, from Amina, said she had been shocked by the way people had manipulated the teachings of Islam.

She said: "We have women coming in, phoning our helpline, time and time again and saying: 'My husband said it's okay, he told me the Koran says it's okay'.

"We're quite surprised that Muslim women are often not educated, even in Islam, because Islam does not condone violence."

She added: "We'll use certain Hadiths (the stories of the words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad, handed down by word of mouth) - for example when the Prophet, peace be upon him, says: 'The best among you is the one who is the best towards his wife'.

"We'll use these and phrases within the Koran to say no - actually the Koran does not say that it's okay for your husband to hit you."

Amina runs a helpline for Muslim women in Scotland. The charity says violence against women is the single subject on which it receives the most calls.

Smina added: "Time and time again we have women who have experienced violence telling us about it years and years after the violence has happened.

"Women often feel ashamed that this has happened to them and they're often living in extended family circumstances.

"For black and minority ethnic women, for Muslim women, it seems to take them longer than the indigenous women to come and speak up."
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