Providing a much-needed support, a Canadian Muslim group is set to open a new shelter for Muslim women in Montreal, expanding its shelters across many different Canadian districts.
Sakeenah Homes, founded in 2018, already operates transitional housing and supports Muslim women and their children in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Ottawa.
The new shelter will open in June to welcome Muslim women who are navigating trauma and immigration issues as they search for long-term housing, CBC reported.
“Our goal is to not only have a serene environment inside of these transitional shelters, but we also want this to be the case in everyone’s home,” said Zena Chaudhry, founder and CEO of Sakeenah Homes.
“When you walk into the [Sakeenah] home, it feels like a normal everyday family home because we just want the women and children to recover from traumatic experiences.”
The charity provides halal food and prayer spaces for women and children in its facilities. It also accommodates those fasting Ramadan.
“If someone needs shelter or needs counselling or any of the services, they can call us, and we’ll connect them to our case workers,” Chaudhry said.
Imam Imran Shariff of the Madani mosque in Ahuntsic-Cartierville and one of Sakeenah Homes’ partners says the shelter’s presence will encourage women to report domestic violence.
“When it comes to Muslims and domestic abuse, we know people often say, ‘Muslim women are being controlled’ but it’s a common issue across cultures,” Shariff said.
“We’re in the business of trying to help people go the extra mile so this shelter will be a wonderful resource where Muslim women can feel more comfortable knowing that there are Muslims considering their dietary restrictions and understanding their culture.”
There are also many other Muslim groups offering support for women fleeing abuse.
Nisa Homes, another Mississauga-based group, also offers transitional homes for Muslim, immigrant and refugee women and children who are seeking shelter after fleeing domestic violence.
Nisa Homes was started by the National Zakat Foundation, a non-profit organization that collects donations from Muslims and gives to other Muslims in need.
Muslim scholars confirm that any form of domestic violence contradicts Islamic teachings.