Imam Faizul Khan, right, received a certificate of recognition given to ISWA for hosting the Interfaith Community Against Domestic Violence conference, headed by Rev. Zeke Wharton, left. Photo by the Muslim Link.
A friar in a brown robe stood silently in an Islamic center, reading a display about the many victims of domestic violence.
The scene was atypical, but the cause and concern was not.
On Thursday, April 19, 2012, the Islamic Society of the Washington Area (ISWA) was the venue for a gathering of priests, rabbis, pastors, and other area religious leaders and social workers who gathered there for the annual spring conference of Montgomery County based Interfaith Community Against Domestic Violence.
The half day conference started at 8 am with breakfast and a clergy fellowship, and was followed by speeches and seminars, ending at noon.
The Interfaith Community Against Domestic Violence has been operating for about 14 years.
About 40 religious leaders and social workers attended the event, approximately half of them being first time attendees. ISWA Imam Faizul Khan was the only Muslim leader in attendance.
“I've been telling our [Muslim] brothers and sisters especially the leaders to come to this [conference],” he told the Muslim Link. “I sent the notices out, so I don't understand [why Muslims did not attend].”
Imam Faizul Khan accepted a certificate of recognition on behalf of ISWA from the conference organizers. The certificate read: “The Interfaith Community Against Domestic Violence wishes to honor the people of faith who live out their beliefs and values in their outstanding work to help faith communities offer safety, help, accountability, and healing to those who are afflicted by domestic abuse and violence. We extend our appreciation and gratitude to the Islamic Society of the Washington Area for hosting the 14th annual IFCADV Conference.” The certificate was signed by IFCADV president Reverend Zeke Wharton.
“We know people of faith are often first responders when issues of domestic violence come up, [and] they are often strategically positioned to [get involved] both before violence occurs to prevent it, and also after [violence occurs] to help in the healing process,” Wharton told the Muslim Link about why its important to get faith leaders involved in working against domestic abuse. “Today we want to empower people to be more equipped to make a difference …. and to help others make a difference.” he added.
The conference took place on ISWA's second floor, which has a professional layout with conference room, library, and other meeting rooms. Exhibits with resource material on dealing with domestic violence and related areas lined the perimeter of the circular conference area. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Bent-Goodley and titled “A Renewed Look at Intimate Partner Violence: Rethinking What We Know to Create Change for the Future.”