Awareness Materials & Resources
Talking Points: Responding to Allegations of Sexual Violence in the Muslim Community
Important Resources: Community Resources on Sexual Violence
Toolkit: Parent’s Guide to Talking to Children about Sexual Abuse
Creating Safe, Resourceful Communities
In light of the SECOND SET OF CRIMINAL CHARGES of widespread sexual abuse against Abdullah Saleem and the Institute for Islamic Education – this time, against a minor, we would like to express our support for the brave and courageous survivors and call the community to stand with them.
In the last couple of months as this horrific case of ongoing abuse has unfolded, these brave survivors have silently been watching the community’s response. There has been an outpouring of support. Yet, unfortunately, there has also been an outpouring of blaming, shaming, and stigmatizing of those who have been harmed, and those who have tried to advocate for them. It is this blaming and shaming that leads to the silencing of survivors and creates an environment ripe for continued abuse. Out of our commitment to justice and truth, the community cannot be pressured by its leaders to keep allegations of sexual crimes private under the false notion of protecting the perpetrator or community’s dignity, especially when these allegations involve community leaders who have been entrusted with our children.
“The last few months highlight the need for a greater commitment to creating safer communities in which we have more open conversation about sexual violence,” said Executive Director Nadiah Mohajir, “and take more action to stand up and hold abusers in our community responsible for their grave violations.”
While law enforcement and the legal process unfolds, we have a collective responsibility to work for change within our homes and our communities. Our children deserve better. Our families and our community deserve better from our schools and scholars, who we place our trust in. We must step up to meet this moment of crisis with a commitment to real change in attitudes and actions.
Change in our families and our homes will come as we have open conversations about abuse and sex, and we empower our children to protect themselves and also to speak up if they are victimized. Change at the community level can only happen with our collective commitment to challenge attitudes and behaviors that enable violence and do not hold perpetrators accountable. Like all communities, we must replace blame, shame and stigma with openness, support and healing.
You do not need to be a social services professional, law enforcement, or sexual violence expert to work toward protecting our survivors. Every one of us has a moral responsibility to work toward creating safer communities for our children. Today, we invite you ask you to join us in facilitating this change in three ways:
- Believe survivors when they come forward and stand up against their abusers – no matter who they are or what their legacy.
- Make a commitment to educating yourself and your families on sexual violence
- Have safe, open conversations about sexual abuse in our homes, our mosques, and our communities at large, including reaching out to social workers, law enforcement authorities, media, and public institutions as necessary.
If you or anyone you know has been victimized by Mr. Abdullah Saleem or the Islamic Institute of Education, know that you are not alone, and that we will stand with you and support you through this process. Your identity will remain confidential.
A hotline has been set up by an expert legal team, with trained professionals who will field calls and help connect you to the legal, social and emotional resources and information you need to begin your journey of healing. Please contact the hotline today by calling (469) 708-SAFE or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.