By: Mohammad Kandil
Humanitarian aid organization Islamic Relief Australia has this week launched a campaign with the Australian National Imams Council, ANIC NSW, to work to reduce domestic abuse and violence within Australia’s Muslim community.
The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed signed a Memorandum of Understanding this week with Islamic Relief Australia on behalf of the ANIC NSW.
Under the agreement, Islamic Relief Australia and ANIC NSW will work together on issues of domestic violence, domestic disputes, youth mentoring, family counseling and marriage preparation.
Muaz AlHaj, CEO of Islamic Relief Australia, said that enlisting the help of the Muslim community’s spiritual leaders and their network of Mosques was a huge step forward in tackling the problems.
“I believe that this is a significant milestone for the Muslim community, it is going to help those who are in great need of support to make a positive change,” said Muaz AlHaj. “It will help Islamic Relief to make a world of difference to people’s lives.”
The initiative will form part of Islamic Relief Australia’s local Community Aid Program, that provides meaningful and lasting community support in four ways: through family counseling, youth welfare, local disaster relief and no interest loans.
Islamic Relief Australia’s Muaz AlHaj said there was huge need for the family counseling program amongst the local community.
“In under one year, we have dealt with over 845 cases ranging from domestic violence to substance abuse and family disputes in Sydney alone,” Muaz AlHaj said.
Islamic Relief Australia’s family counseling program provides free of charge counseling to families experiencing abuse including emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
No interest loans
The organization’s No Interest Loan Scheme is a community based program to help low income people buy essential household items such as a washing machine, fridge or medical appliance.
Many low-income households get by week to week, but are completely stuck when they need to buy an expensive appliance. A typical loan can be up to $1,200 to be repaid over 12 to 18 months.
Local disaster relief
Islamic Relief Australia’s first local response was to the Blue Mountains bush fires, where over 200 homes where completely destroyed. The organization provided over 1000 sleeping bags, 200 LED torches and sleeping bags for firefighters.
Just a few weeks ago it provided bottled water and sleeping bags for residents sheltering in relief centres from the fires in central Victoria.
It is also establishing a Disaster Assistance Response Team of volunteers, fully trained by the SES. The team will be deployed whenever there is a local disaster.
For more information visit islamic-relief.com.au