Domestic violence is not unique to any one culture, race or religion, but supporting women fleeing domestic violence can require different approaches for different individuals.
That’s part of why Nisa Home is opening in Halifax. It will be Atlantic Canada’s first transition home that caters specifically to Muslim women.
Nisa Home case manager Zainub Beg says Muslim women can face unique challenges when seeking help.
“The primary issue is that there is a lot of misunderstanding when they try to seek services,” said Beg.
“They may face language barriers, or they may be told, ‘Well, this is happening to you because you’re Muslim. You should probably leave Islam and it will solve itself.’”
Nisa Home will provide safe shelter for any women seeking refuge, but the expectation is that it will mostly be supporting immigrant, refugee, non-status or Muslim women.
“Having a safe space where people understand your culture, your religion, your traditions does reduce re-traumatization,” said Beg.
The home will be able to support between 10 and 12 women and children. Supports will be culturally responsive and trauma-informed. The home is faith-based and will work to support women’s spiritual needs.
“(That includes) speaking to an imam, or to be able to read the Qur’an or pray peacefully, having access to food that is halal and just being around an environment where people understand their culture and religion.”
While the home is not having its official opening until Friday, it’s already providing supports to women in need.
For safety reasons the location of the home is being kept secret, but it is operating in Halifax and is located in a safe neighbourhood near shops, parks and accessible transit.
The Ummah Masjid is accepting donations on behalf of the home until Friday and items most needed include cleaning supplies, toilet paper, tissue paper, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, toys and art supplies.
Those seeking help can call 1-888-693-2203 ext. 409 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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