By Ausaf Farooqi
Our community has come a long way. Less than a decade ago, we were reluctant to have frank conversations in the community and within our own household about subjects such as sex, divorce, abuse and crime. Now, we are blessed with esteemed scholars giving lectures on intimacy and marriage in a contemporary context and Muslim social service agencies and advocacy groups, such as Heartspeak Institute, Khalil Center, Arab American Family Services (AAFS) and HEART Women & Girls, among many others, providing counseling and therapy to those in need.
Due to recent incidents, the issue of sexual violence has been front and center. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) has also been actively involved in changing the community’s state of mind to address this issue more proactively. Among its initiatives, they have met with scholars and leaders of the community to discuss how to address sexual violence, produced a manual of best practices for institutions to deal with the issue of sexual violence, and helped organize a program regarding the issue at the 52nd annual ISNA convention.
The session was titled “Preventing Sexual Abuse” and was held on Saturday, September 5. It was well attended, with nearly every seat in the room being taken. The speakers were Dr. Ingrid Matson, Nadiah Mohajir and Ausaf Farooqi. The session was emceed by Jenan Mohajir.