“The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil…” – Quran 9:71
We, the undersigned, pledge to commit ourselves to end abuse and violence against women and children in all forms. We invite other people of conscience to join us in this grassroots effort to end all forms of oppression. We pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against any members of the family, especially women and children.
In light of excesses committed against women of Kashmir in the realm of family violence as well as violence perpetrated by military forces,we urge all Kashmiris to reflect on the reality of oppression against women present in our communities. We condemn any acts of violence such as persistent pre-Islamic practices rooted in the misguided notion of restoring family honour, use of rape as a weapon of war and impunity granted to armed forces even under the recently revised rape laws of the Indian constitution, as well as family violence against the weak and the vulnerable especially women and children.
With regard to family violence, as Muslims, we base our ethics and behaviour on the teachings of the Quran and the authenticated example of the Prophet Muhammad, who never hit a woman and taught the men that “the best amongst you is he who treats women the best”. The Quran unequivocally emphasizes the sanctity of all life, forbids all forms of coercion in matters of religion, and reminds us all that each of us is accountable for our actions directly to God, the only Judge.
There is no room within these teachings for any person, by virtue of gender or position within the family, to seize control over the life and bodily security of another. Domestic violence and, in the extreme, practices such as killing violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles, and so we categorically condemn all forms of domestic violence.
We the undersigned declare our commitment to intensify our efforts to eradicate domestic violence from all our communities through:
1. Working within our community to raise awareness of harmful (and sometimes lethal) attitudes that lead to this violence.
2. Working within our communities to raise awareness about the serious psychological, judicial, social and religious consequences of such practices, through Friday sermons, public lectures, workshops, and other means.
3. Working with community leaders of all communities and faith traditions, particularly Imams in order to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary resources and training so that they can offer mediation, conflict resolution, and domestic violence counselling in a manner that reflects professional standards, contemporary research, and authentic religious scholarship based in the Quran and the Sunnah.
5. Educating parents and youth about creating a family atmosphere free from misogynist leanings way before it gets to the point of violent confrontation.
6. Teaching parents and youth how to deal with intergenerational conflicts and misogynist attitudes.
As a first step, we commit ourselves to addressing this issue at all levels, including and especially within Friday sermons. We must highlight Islamic perspectives on domestic abuse, perspectives that condemn all forms of violence against women and children, most especially threatening, abusing, and violating the honour and dignity of women. As Muslims we pledge to combat domestic violence in all its manifestations, wherever and whenever they arise.
Our short and long term goals:
- Break the silence on violence against women in the Kashmiri Muslim community by encouraging all Mosques and organizations to sponsor an awareness campaign and create events to raise awareness and promote the real Quranic perspective of Adl, Ihsan, Rahma, Muwadddah and Sakinaas foundational principlesgoverning Muslim families.
- Adopt a state wide campaign khutbah campaign addressing abuse, domestic violence and any other form of oppression aimed at women and children.
- Promote healthy relationships through education including premarital counseling of couples focusing on understanding the fundamentals of a Muslim marriage and terms and conditions of a Muslim contract.
- Offer help at times of conflict following a just Quranic model of conflict resolution or reconciliation
- Build an information resource bank on Islamic perspectives of domestic violence based on the Quran and authentic ahadith for Imams, social workers, counselors and community leaders.
- Create partnerships among Masajids, women’s organizations, social service agencies and counseling centres to build a future without violence against women.
- End abuse of Islam to justify repression of women in our society and to create an environment where women’s lives are governed by the Quranic principles of absolute equity, honour and dignity.
Who are we?
We are a group of volunteers—grandfathers, grandmothers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and friends all with a common purpose of ending violence and oppression in our homes and community. We invite anyone interested in furthering this common goal to join us and help us create a mass movement to build a safe families living in peace and dignity.
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Studies in Islam, Renison University College,
University of Waterloo, Ca.