Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Remembering Kareema Natasha Price

This year we remember the Muslim women whose lives have been lost due to domestic violence.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States, and this year we remember the Muslim women whose lives have been lost. One of those women was Kareema Natasha Price of Gaithersburg, Maryland. The 45 year-old mother of five was fatally shot by her husband, Allen Price Jr., just last month.

Detectives with the Montgomery County PD say the husband shot Kareema around 10 A.M. on September 17 at a home on Sandy Lake Drive. Other family members were home at the time and heard a gunshot. When they went to the victim’s bedroom, they saw that she’d been shot and that her husband had jumped out the second-story window.

Police say they found Price Jr. about 90 minutes after the shooting was reported. The suspect was hiding in a wooded area about two miles away from the scene of the crime. Police noted that a loaded handgun was found near where Price Jr. was hiding. Kareema fought for her life in the hospital for over two weeks before passing away on October 9. She leaves behind five children and a reeling community. 

An excerpt from Kareemah’s LaunchGood fundraiser  says “her children are clearly devastated, confused, and struggling with the trauma and its uncertainty, and yet still need to address daily needs and continue daily activities of work and schooling. They are young adolescents and adults with meager means to handle such a tremendous test and task. They range in age from 15-25 and are now living in a one-bedroom apartment trying to sort out what to do next.” 

This October, the Ikram Foundation seeks to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence in the Muslim community. According to the Peaceful Families & Project Sakinah 2011 DV Survey, 53% of American Muslims experience some form of domestic violence – which may include emotional, verbal, financial, physical or sexual abuse. 

The Ikram Foundation is seeking to highlight the unique barriers that Muslim women may face when coming forward, causing them to suffer silently. These barriers include, but are not limited to:  poverty, homelessness, loss of family, lack of community support, stigma, shame and depression, Islamophobia, and spiritual isolation

In October 1987, Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed for the first time, along with the first national toll-free hotline. Anyone can call 1-800-799-7233 any time of day, 365 days a year to speak to someone. It’s not just for those experiencing abuse themselves, but for anyone seeking advice on how to help someone: 

 

 

The fundraiser for Kareemah’s five children can be found here. If you can, please consider donating and sharing on your networks to help this young family get through the initial phases of this incredibly traumatic event.

 

Below are additional resources we have compiled:

How can domestic violence advocates better serve Muslim women in shelter? by Saman Quraeshi

Power & Control Wheel for Muslim Families

Healthy Relationships Wheel for Muslim Families

Institute for Muslim Mental Health Resource Directory

Peaceful Families Project

#JusticeForAzzam: No Closure For Muslim Killed At Knifepoint

Family of Azzam Ragurai is requesting a re-trial after justice had not been met.

Azzam Raguragui was only 18 years old when his life was taken away from him, during the holy month of Ramadan. A young man, with his whole life ahead of him.

A fight had broken out in Finsbury Park, Dublin, Ireland over a stolen bike, in May 2019. Azzam was chased down and stabbed 5 times in broad daylight – he suffered fatal wounds to a major artery and eventually died of severe blood loss.

On September 18th 2020 – after deliberating for 13 hours and 17 minutes over three days, the jury returned a majority 10-2 verdict of not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.

The defendant in the trial was found not guilty of murder despite five stab wounds on Azzam’s body according to the acting Chief State Pathologist. 

The trial heard the witness accounts of Azzam’s attempts to run away from the gang and that the intention to inflict harm on him was clearly premeditated, evidenced by the possession of a weapon. The trial heard the cause of death; one of the wounds severed an artery and caused massive blood loss which led to his death. 

The trial also heard witness accounts of Azzam’s warm personality. He was a young boy who was caring and respectful of his parents, an obligation which holds the utmost importance in Islam. The trial also heard of his contributions to the Muslim community, and to his friends and family. 

Currently, people can get a maximum sentence of five years and/or a fine for carrying a knife intended to incapacitate or injure another person under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons (Amendment) Bill 2019. The verdict of the trial resulted in the accused receiving less than the 5-year sentence despite the knife crime resulting in a death.

His family, friends and wider Muslim community are devastated. This provides no closure or justice for Azzam or his family. Azzam’s mother, Hajiba, upon hearing the verdict of the trial stated: “They killed me twice. First when they stabbed my son and now with this unfair verdict.”

Azzam and his family deserve justice. The defendant must be prosecuted accordingly.

Please show your support by signing the petition here. 

 

Morocco Refuses To Normalize Ties With Israel

The Prime Minister issued a rejection of any relations with Israel.

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Dine El Otmani has rejected any normalization of relations with Israel, Reuters reports.

El Otmani told his Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) that “we refuse any normalization with the Zionist entity because this emboldens it to go further in breaching the rights of the Palestinian people.”

This follows the recent announcement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel’s deal to normalize ties. Following this announcement there was speculation as to whether or not any other Arab countries would do the same. 

Morocco, however, has made it clear they will not normalize ties with Israel. 

According to Reuters Morocco has been in support of a “two-state solution” with East Jerusalem as a capital of a Palestinian state. 

In 1993, Morocco and Israel commenced low level ties after a peace deal called the Oslo Records was reached. However in 2000, Rabat, the capital of Morocco, suspended relations with Israel after the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising.

READ MORE: Meet Free Palestine, The Palestinian Ranked Top 100 In Super Smash Bros. Melee

Christchurch Terrorist Sentenced Life In Prison With No Parole

This marks New Zealand’s history as it is the first life sentence without parole imposed on any criminal in the country.

The Australian terrorist responsible for the Christchurch massacre will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole. This marks the first terrorist conviction of New Zealand’s history and is also the first such sentence imposed on any criminal in the country.

Brenton Tarrant, 29, pleaded guilty to the murders of 51 people, attempted murder of another 40 people, and one charge of terrorism. This announcement came after his initial denial of the charges against him. 

Following the emotional confrontations of the victims in the courtroom, the judge, Justice Cameron Mander, asked the convict if he wished to say anything. He denied the offer while maintaining his usual expressionless manner. 

Judge Mander labeled his actions as “inhumane” and that he “showed no mercy” during his killing spree on March 15th, 2019. 

“Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment,” the Judge said. He went on to express his disappointment for Tarrant’s lack of remorse for his actions of slaughtering “unarmed, defenseless individuals.”

“You have offered no apology or public acknowledgment of the harms you have caused … While I appreciate that you have forsaken the opportunity to use these proceedings as a platform, you appear neither contrite nor ashamed,” Judge Mander said. 

Tarrant plotted his attacks three years in advance, deciding his targets a couple of months before. He had complete architectural plans of the mosques and planned his attacks to the very last detail. Tarrant’s original plan included hitting three mosques and murdering a greater number of individuals to which he admitted at the time of his arrest. 

The lead prosecutor of the case, Mark Zarifeh, stated that “given the gravity of the offending and the devastating loss of life and injury” no minimum duration of imprisonment was sufficient for the criminal. He also named Tarrant as the worst murderer in the country’s history.

This verdict similarly garnered positive reactions from the victims. While they agreed that no punishment will be able to bring back what they lost, the justice served will help them sleep well at night. 

“We are not in a country where we can expect the death penalty. But they have served justice, giving the maximum prison time without parole,” said Hina Amir, one of the people outside the mosque at the time of the attack.

To express their support, the public began gathering outside the courthouse as well, holding signs reading: “We are one.”

New Zealand’s Prime minister Jacinda Ardern communicated her approval of the sentencing and stated,“Today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist.”

The country finally put an end to the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history which prompted stricter gun laws in New Zealand among other things, possibly obstructing the way for any such attempts in the future.

Migrant Workers Face The Aftermath Of The Beirut Explosions Alone

Domestic workers in Lebanon are left to fend for themselves as they are left to sleep on the streets, unable to travel home.

Migrant Workers Face The Aftermath Of The Beirut Explosions Alone

Domestic workers in Lebanon are left to fend for themselves as they are left to sleep on the streets, unable to travel home.

By

Zainab Damji
Photo - Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

On Aug. 4, 2020, a destructive explosion at the Port of Beirut, the third most powerful explosion in the history of the world, shook Lebanon and left the world watching the aftermath in shock.

While folks all over the world began fundraising and collecting donations to ease the plight of the Lebanese people, there was one group left forgotten amid all the chaos: migrant workers.

Migrant workers in Lebanon have always had a difficult plight. There is a long history of abuse and exploitation of migrant workers, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has exacerbated this mistreatment and horrible situation after many workers were fired and not able to go back to their home countries. Now, this deadly explosion has left them more vulnerable than ever before.

The mistreatment of migrant workers, specifically Kenyan workers, has been reported on in the past. CNN reported the abuse these workers faced at the hands of Lebanese nationals working in the consulate—the place they visit to seek help.

A video that was posted before the explosion, shows Nigerian workers huddled together in a room pleading to the Nigerian government to save them. “Please, we need your help. We need to go back to our father’s land,” said the woman filming the five minute long video.

Most domestic workers live in Kenya as part of the Kafala system, which is “an inherently abusive migration sponsorship system, which increases their risk of suffering labour exploitation, forced labour and trafficking and leaves them with little prospect of obtaining redress,” as described by Amnesty International.

“The Kefala system allowed them to treat me like a pet or a toy. They could use me, beat me, and discard me when they wanted,” an Ethiopian domestic worker told CNN. Another domestic worker from Côte d’Ivoire told Amnesty International, “I started having suicidal thoughts because of being locked up all the time.”

The Kafala system means that these domestic workers cannot simply resign regardless of their reasoning, even if they are being abused — they would need consent from their employer, who in some scenarios, is the abuser. Lebanese Labour Laws exclude migrant workers as they fall under the Kafala system, leaving them with no safety net or nowhere to turn for justice and help.

Lebanon’s Minister of Labour Lamia Yammine said that she would amend the current Labour Laws to include and extend protection to domestic workers as well.

However, now more than ever before, these workers are being dumped on the streets in an inhumane way with nothing more than a garbage bag to carry their belongings.

READ MORE: Dozens Killed, Thousands Of Casualties From Explosion In Lebanon’s Capital Beirut

This Is Lebanon is a project dedicated to raising awareness about the mistreatment of these migrant workers and demanding their protection. They are the first organization in Lebanon to name and shame the abusers, in hopes that it will deter others from following in their footsteps. Their entire Instagram page is dedicated to telling the stories of migrant workers who have been arrested for speaking out, those who want to go home but are unable to, and more.

The world is silent about the plight of these stranded migrant workers. To be silent is to be complicit, do your part. Raise awareness about this issue, share this article and make donations to organizations like This is Lebanon to help support and free migrant workers stranded in Lebanon.

Young Black Muslim Mother-To-Be Shot Dead In Maryland

Both CAIR and the Howard County Police are offering separate rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the suspect.

A young Black pregnant Muslim woman was fatally shot in her home July 31  in Columbia, Maryland on Eid weekend, according to local authorities. The woman, Rabiah Ahmad, was a hairstylist with her own brand, House of Kiyomi. Her baby girl, Ajha, was delivered but is in critical condition. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the woman’s killer.

On August 6, an update to a GoFundMe campaign organized by Ahmad’s cousin revealed that Ajha also died. 

Howard County Police say that officers responded to the 6600 block of Dovecote Drive for a report of several shots fired around 11 p.m. on Friday. Multiple bullets were fired into the residence from the outside, and one of which struck Rabiah Ahmad, who was 30.

The victim was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she died. Ahmad was 28 weeks pregnant. At first doctors were able to save and deliver the baby girl, Ahja, but unfortunately she passed away just days later on August 5.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball addressed the horrific tragedy and offered condolences to Ahmad’s friends and relatives in a statement:

“It is an unimaginable and unacceptable tragedy which took place in our community overnight. Our condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of Ms. Ahmad and to our entire Howard County Muslim community who are shocked and saddened by the incident which occurred on Eid al-Adha, the Day of Sacrifice.”

At this time, the motive for the shooting is unknown.

“The Howard County police department is working diligently on this case and my office has been in touch with leaders within the Muslim community to offer our support and resources where needed to help those impacted,” Ball added.

Zainab Chaudry, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations office in Maryland, made the following statement:

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s loved ones, and especially to the infant in critical condition. We urge anyone with information about this horrific crime to contact authorities and help bring justice for this family. At this point, there are too many unanswered questions, and the community’s help can make a tremendous difference.”

Both CAIR and the Howard County Police are offering separate rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the suspect. Anyone with any information at all is urged to contact CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, zchaudry@cair.com, 410-971-6062.

READ MORE: First Two Muslim-American Women Elected To Congress Won Their Re-Election Primaries

First Two Muslim-American Women Elected To Congress Won Their Re-Election Primaries

Congratulations to Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar!

Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to the United States Congress, have won their primaries for re-election — both of them by a landslide. 

This past Tuesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar won her primary in Minnesota’s historically Democratic 5th Congressional District, which includes the entire city of Minneapolis. Omar is the first Somali-American, the first naturalized citizen of African birth and the first woman of color from Minnesota to be elected to Congress. Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, defeated Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones in the Democratic 13th District primary in a closely watched race. The first-term incumbent scored 66% of the vote against Jones’ 33%. The last time the two campaigned against each other in 2018, Tlaib won by a tiny margin, beating Jones by only about 900 votes out of roughly 89,000 cast.

Omar and Tlaib both received endorsements from fellow progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

Each of the women will move on to the general election, which takes place on November 3, 2020. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives, as well as 35 of 100 senate seats, and the office of President of the United States will be voted on. 

This year’s general election is generating much concern due to a lack of federal funding for USPS, which carries the burden of processing most of the country’s ballots this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We found a handy guide with voting information specific to each state here. Find out if you’re registered and how to get a mail-in ballot in your area as soon as possible, as significant delays are expected

UK Police Aggressively Drag Muslim Father From His Dying Daughter’s Hospital Bed

Disturbing footage filmed in September 2019 of police officers mistreating the mother and father of a young patient, after they refused to leave their severely ill child, was recently obtained by the Mail.

UK Police Aggressively Drag Muslim Father From His Dying Daughter’s Hospital Bed

Disturbing footage filmed in September 2019 of police officers mistreating the mother and father of a young patient, after they refused to leave their severely ill child, was recently obtained by the Mail.

By

Maryam Zaynah
Images from Dailymail

Zainab Abbasi, a six-year-old daughter of two former doctors, died in September 2019, days after her parents were mistreated at the hospital their daughter was being treated at. What happened? 

With Zainab’s condition worsening quickly, her parents panicked and asked to leave the room. Not long after they were asked to leave the room but refused to, a complaint was made because of Rashid Abbasi’s lack of cooperation. The police were called to the room, asking the couple to leave. The footage also shows Aliya Abbasi desperately begging a police officer to empathize with her situation. “Do you have children, police officer?” she asked.

The very upsetting footage shows a police officer violently removing Mr. Abbasi from the room, by holding his neck. They strapped his legs and ankles together and forcefully wheeled him away on a bed, as the 59-year-old man attempted to break free. A female police officer can be seen shouting at him in a condescending tone, “You’re acting like an animal it’s disgusting. Get him out of here.”

The video shows Mr. Abbasi repeatedly demanding they allow him to have his medicine as he had severe chest pains from the stress and intensity of the situation.

Later he was told he had suffered from a heart attack. The next day he underwent a heart procedure.

Meanwhile his wife Aliya was screaming at the scene before her, hopelessly urging the police to let go of her struggling husband who had become quite worked up. She was pulled by the back onto the hospital floor screaming, “They’re going to take the tube out of our daughter and she’s going to die.”

Mrs. Abbasi did admit that her husband can sometimes become animated and bad tempered, but that is only because of his health conditions and Zainab’s situation which he felt was not receiving enough attention and care. The couple were both former doctors and knew that enough wasn’t being done. She said, “Because we were both doctors we knew exactly what should be happening and we could point out when our daughter was being failed. If this could happen to us, what about other people?”

Despite this distressing experience they continued to try and save their daughter in any way possible, who had little time left to live. They pleaded for her to be given high doses of steroids which was again denied. The following morning she died, with her mother and father silently watching.

The loss of their young daughter has left the helpless parents traumatized and heartbroken. Mr Abbasi has now began proceedings to sue police for their behavior. A petition is going around which you can sign to help which can be found here.

Black Muslim Immigrant Has Spent Three Years In ICE Custody Despite Being Granted A Pardon

Attorneys believe Ousman Darboe has been held by ICE longer than any immigrant in New York City.

Black Muslim Immigrant Has Spent Three Years In ICE Custody Despite Being Granted A Pardon

Attorneys believe Ousman Darboe has been held by ICE longer than any immigrant in New York City.

By

Sara S. & Zainab Damji

Photo of Ousman Darboe

Ousman Darboe has spent three years in an ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) facility – that’s three years of missed birthdays and anniversaries, three Ramadans, and watching his two-year old daughter grow up through glass windows.

The 26-year-old Gambian immigrant has been in ICE detention since 2017 and is now in Bergen County Jail, New Jersey. 

Governor Cuomo pardoned Ousman of his one charge as an adult of robbery, which according to Gothamist he says he didn’t do. 

This pardon was intended to secure his release. Yet it hasn’t.

Despite being granted the rare pardon six months ago, multiple immigration and federal judges have refused to release him, even on bond.

The conditions at the Bergen County Jail are known to be inhumane and pose as health risks to the inmates at the facility. “You wake up like someone poured a bucket of water on you,” he told The Gothamist.And there’s no windows in the cells. You’re just compacted in a room with four walls and a vent, no air coming in or out, so you’re just stuck.”

The Gothamist reported that to pass the time, Ousman, as a Muslim, prays five times a day. He reads self-help books and is currently reading “Midnight” by Sister Souljah, about a Black Sudanese Muslim immigrant in Brooklyn. Ousman also said that he is “planning for the future”.

Follow this link to call ICE Field Office Director Thomas Decker, Deputy Field Office Director Darius Reeves, and ICE SDDO Hector Medina to demand Darboe’s release. #FreeOusman

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter Is Not A ‘Feel-Good’ Instagram Challenge

U.S. Citizen Shot In Pakistani Courtroom While Facing Blasphemy Charges

Tahir Naseem, a U.S. citizen, was shot in a courtroom at the Peshawar Judicial Complex by a local 19-year-old resident.

Tahir Ahmad Naseem, 47, was accused of blasphemy in 2018 in Pakistan for allegedly claiming to be a prophet, a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment.

Mr. Naseem, a U.S. citizen, was shot in a courtroom at the Peshawar Judicial Complex by a local 19-year-old resident. It is not clear how he managed to bring a weapon into the court premises.

A video of the gunman was shared widely on social media. While being held by police he is heard saying that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told him in a dream to kill Mr. Naseem. Police officer Ijaz Ahmed has given a statement to clarify the progress of the case. 

“The culprit accepts responsibility for killing him and says that he killed him for having committed blasphemy,” said police official Ahmed. “[The suspect] has been arrested from the scene.”

Mr. Naseem was born into the Ahmadiyya sect, according to a community spokesperson. Following the Second Amendment to the Pakistani Constitution in 1974, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are declared non-Muslims by the Government of Pakistan. They are no strangers to persecution. 

The community spokesperson however added that Mr. Naseem had left the sect and had been exhibiting signs of being mentally ill. In YouTube videos uploaded by Mr. Naseem, he claimed to be a messiah. 

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive subject in Pakistan, with rumors of the crime spurring vigilantes and mobs to take lethal action against supposed perpetrators. 

Domestic and international human rights groups say blasphemy allegations have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores. While prominent politicians have acknowledged the harm that blasphemy laws have done, hard-line religious parties continue to mount pressure against any that aim to repeal them. 

In 2011, a Punjabi governor was murdered by his own guard for defending a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was accused of blasphemy. In 2018 Bibi was acquitted after spending nine years on death row and subsequently fled the country. Islamic extremists send her death threats to this day. 

A prominent Islamic scholar, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, publicly attacked the laws during the Bibi case, warning that a failure to repeal them will only strengthen extremists in the country. 

“The blasphemy laws have no justification in Islam. These ulema [council of clerics] are just telling lies to the people.” 

An ally of Mr. Ghamidi, Dr. Farooq Khan, was assassinated for speaking out publicly on the same issue. 

Mr. Ghamidi himself had to flee the country following a foiled bomb plot against his home. Speaking to the Guardian in Malaysia, he expressed worries over how mob killings embolden the religious right and thus enable future vigilantism against those who speak out.

“It became impossible to live there,” he said.