With the ever increasing cases of domestic violence happening in the American Society, especially most recently occurring in the Muslim & Pakistani families, where a father killed three of his children and a son killed her mother; the Houston Police Officer Muzaffar Siddiqi with the help of his colleagues at the Houston Police Department (HPD) and the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) hosted a Domestic Violence Education Summit at the River Oaks Crown Plaza Hotel located at 2712 Southwest Freeway. Staff of several local agencies and HPD special department that handles such cases was present. The panelists included: HPD Sergeant Jim Babb; HPD Officer E. J. Joseph of the Community Affairs; Teresa Catillo Crime Victim Liaison HPD; Senior HPD Officer Janette Arceneaux of the Special Crimes Division Domestic Violence; Dr. Lisa Berg Garmezy Staff Psychologist HPD; Dr. Aziz Siddiqi President ISGH; Sheikh Omar Inshanally Imam of ISGH; Eddee Hestand Member of Police & Clergy Team; Celeste Gilliam of the Houston Area Womenâ€™s Center; and Lilas Taha of Asians Against Domestic Abuse (AADA).
This program was very well organized and all the much needed resources available in the Houston Region for the suffers of family violence (both women and men) got discovered by the persons of the Muslim and Pakistani communities, as this information was not very much known in the community.
Usually people are hesitant to get involved with the police. As such in the case of Domestic Tensions, if the affected people do not get to good people in the families or their community, who may able to resolve the issues at an initial stage, their situation from tensions reach to violence, which is catastrophic for the persons involved (husband, wife, children, people living around them can get affected and then the whole community & society gets vulnerable & weaker).
People, who may want to avoid the police in the initial stages, and as suggested by Sheikh Omar that just with some tensions, suddenly 911 should not be called, as Islam asks for mature people from both the sides (wife and husband) to try to resolve the issues, so as to keep the family unit intact and once family unit is preserved, the society gets built on sound footings.
â€œThere is need that all the sons and daughters of Adam should accord dignity to each other and at times this needs spiritual and psychic hygiene,â€ added Sheikh Omar.
Now if the person feels she or he (both women & men are suffers of abuse at the hands of each other) But in the absence of such help from the family, no one should live the life of fear: Instead they need to consult several of the area agencies, like ISGH (713-524-6615); Shifa Foundation (that now has a women shelter â€“ Phone: 713-779-1555); Asians Against Domestic Abuse (AADA) who can provide services in 14 languages including Urdu & Arabic Phone: 713-339-8300; and the Houston Area Womenâ€™s Center Phone: 713-528-6798 â€“ Ext. 2269.
It was emphasized that o one should live under any threat or fear, as resources are available. But it was also highlighted that religious & cultural norms suggest not to break up families: So according to Imam Omar, much effort should be spent in avoiding the breaking of the family unit, since as family unit breaks, it affects negatively the very fabric of the community & then the society at large: However if the case is extreme, then there is no way physical abuse should ever be approved and should be stopped as soon as possible.
Some of the important websites to refer and learn more are: www.tcfv.org; www.taasa.org; www.hssf.org; www.aadainc.org; & www.hawc.org.