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Photo by Mark Newman

Photo by Mark Newman

Imam Abu Noman Tarek was the first to sign a pledge at the Hamilton Mountain Mosque that he will never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. Male worshippers and visitors to the mosque are invited to add their signature.

Local Muslims answer call to end domestic violence

Series of special sermons at Mountain mosque wrap up Dec 21st

By Mark Newman, News Staff

The call to end domestic violence has been echoing loud and clear at the Hamilton Mountain Mosque over the last two Fridays.

Imam Abu Noman Tarek, director of religious affairs at the Muslim Association of Hamilton, said Muslims across Canada began their own White Ribbon campaign to eradicate domestic violence on Nov. 25 which is also International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women as designated by the United Nations.

In Hamilton, the campaign is being highlighted with a serious of four special sermons each Friday from Nov 21 to Dec. 21.

About 1,000 area Muslims attend Friday prayers at the Mountain mosque each week.

“We are encouraging all males to make a pledge that they will never commit or condone or remain silent about any form of violence against women and girls,” Tarek said.

The imam noted Islam’s holy book the Quran is quite clean that abuse of females is not permitted in the Muslim world.

“In the Quran it says if you do not like something (about) your wife, you still treat her with respect because everyone is different,” Tarek said. “There are some people who are practicing violence within the Muslim households and that’s the reason we are educating our people, we are conveying the message from the Quran and our Prophet that it is not acceptable.”

Tarek, a married father with one daughter, said all male worshippers and visitors to the Mountain mosque are invited to sign a board pledging that they will never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.

As of last week, about 100 men had signed the board.

Tarek said he has formed his sermons around the theme of the healthy, functional and peaceful family.

His first sermon discussed the objectives of the family and why Muslims should work to build a family.

That sermon also talked about negative elements like absence of the male presence, anger and abuse.

The second sermon touched on the positive elements of the family.

Tomorrow (Dec. 14) his sermon will deal with breaking the silence about domestic abuse and violence.

Tarek noted Dec 14 is also the day where imams at mosques across Canada will devout their sermons to stopping domestic violence.

On Dec. 21 he will be speaking about being respectful to parents.

Tarek said the campaign will conclude at the Reviving The Islamic Spirit conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre Dec. 21-23.

He said the conference is the largest Islamic gathering in North America and as many as 20,000 are expected to attend.

Tarek recently joined a group of local male leaders that has been organized by Interval House Hamilton with the goal of ending domestic and gender-based violence in the community.

Clare Freeman, executive director of Interval House Hamilton said she applauds what the local Islamic community is doing.

“It takes the male leaders within all communities to make the positive changes needed to end the silence of violence in the community,” said Freeman via email. “We are so pleased they will be working with our larger Hamilton male leaders’ community in helping develop its community-wide strategy.”

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