Close to 200 area Muslims and several non-Muslims traveled from around the region on a work night to listen to a special guest who many consider one of the most intellectually stimulating Muslim speakers in the world today.
Muslimat Al-Nisaa, the Baltimore based organization which runs a shelter for homeless Muslim women, held a discussion featuring Professor Tariq Ramadan on “Social Responsibility and Domestic Injustice” in Reston, Virginia on Monday night, April 9, 2012. The event was also a fundraiser for Muslimat Al-Nisaa and admission was free.
Ramadan is touring the United States and chose to speak at the Muslimat Al-Nisaa event for his only stop in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
The main program began after maghrib prayers with a presentation by Ayub Hanif, the Associate Director of Muslimat Al-Nisaa and a son of founder Asmaa Hanif.
“[Domestic Violence] is still around even if you don’t see it, and this is why we decided to get involved [in setting up a shelter], communities around us are crashing and burning, and eventually [we knew] it’s going to come to our door step,” said Hanif.
“Our topic tonight is social responsibility and domestic injustice, but the idea of domestic ‘violence’ is not expansive enough. It has a certain connotation in our minds of physical violence, and I think we need to have a paradigm shift in our minds of what we are really referring to and what our mission is. It’s not just about physical altercation, our mission is really about domestic injustice … ‘domestic’ can mean your family, your home, your community, your nation … where you live. ‘Injustice’ always marginalizes others .. we expect to be safe, be protected, and have tranquility in our homes,” explained Hanif.
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the outreach director for Dar Al-Hijrah, conducted the fundraising, asking not only audience members to give but also representatives of area masajid to commit to donations on behalf of their organization. He also asked halal meat company Real Halal to commit to supplying meat to the shelter.
Sister Asma Hanif introduced Tariq Ramadan, saying he is someone who is “caring and concerned for the same people that Muslimat Al-Nisaa was established to help.”
Professor Ramadan discussed the changing mindset needed to Muslim families to reform their situations.
“Traveling around the world and meeting with Muslims I can tell you that the deepest problem we have has to do with psychological problems, its a psychological crisis we are dealing with,” said Ramadan.
“I resist what is bad and I reform, this is jihad, and we need to get the right picture about what is happening in our families – the immigrants, the converts, and the African-American Muslims – and they are not all the same problem … we can’t have a state of denial,” he said, adding that Muslims must also be concerned for the welfare of non-Muslim families in society as well, because “it’s not enough to transmit knowledge, you have to be a human being and transmit your affection [to others] also.”