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Darakshan Raja, MA Associate, Safe Nation Collaborative BREAKING THE SILENCE IMPROVING RESPONSES TO CRIMINAL VICTIMIZATION OF MUSLIMS.

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Presentation on theme: "Darakshan Raja, MA Associate, Safe Nation Collaborative BREAKING THE SILENCE IMPROVING RESPONSES TO CRIMINAL VICTIMIZATION OF MUSLIMS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Darakshan Raja, MA Associate, Safe Nation Collaborative BREAKING THE SILENCE IMPROVING RESPONSES TO CRIMINAL VICTIMIZATION OF MUSLIMS

2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Development of this training module was supported by funding from Safe Nation Collaborative. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this training are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Safe Nation Collaborative or the various organizations and individuals that were interviewed in order to develop this training. Overall 23 community leaders and professionals who have been working with Muslims who are victims provided feedback for this training. There were a mix of different perspectives from Chaplains, Imams, law enforcement officers, professionals within policy and civil rights organizations, and mental health professionals that have worked with Muslims across a wide range of crimes spanning from domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, forced marriages, workplace violence to torture. Development of this training would not have been possible without the critical feedback from the following individuals: Sergeant Mike Abdeen, Founder of Muslim Community Affairs Initiative, Los Angeles Sherrif’s Department Sakeenah Abdulraheem, Counselor and former employee of CAIR Alejandro Beutal, Former MPAC Government and Policy Analyst Anas Coburn, Founder and Managing Director, Project Sakinah Asma Hanif, Founder & Director, Muslimaat al-Nisaa Shazia Kamal, Associate Editor at AltMuslimah.com and former MPAC Hate Crimes Specialist Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America Muhammad Malik, Human Rights Advocate, Former Executive Director at CAIR and Board Member of No More Tears Morlie Patel, Deputy Director of External Affairs, Cook County Sherriff’s Department Ibrahim Ramey, Executive Director, Muslim Women in Research and Development (MWIRD) Qudsia Raja, Policy & Advocacy Field Director, YWCA USA Peaceful Families Project (National Coalition on Muslims against Domestic Violence)

3 “ While the trauma and harm experienced by many victims of crime is deep, debilitating, and long-lasting, our treatment of crime victims at every level-- individual, community, and governmental is ineffective, fragmented, and dismissive. This woefully inadequate response reinforces victims’ sense of shame and isolation, and a misguided belief that recovery is a private manner (Herman, 2010).”

4 OBJECTIVES  Provide an overview of victimization within the Muslim community  What separates the needs of Muslims who are victims of crime from other victims of crime  Identify challenges and barriers for Muslims who are seeking victim services or help from the criminal justice system  Provide recommendations and resources for promising practices

5 AUDIENCE  How many of you work with victims of crime?  What types of crimes?  Have you had training on working with victims of crime? What types  Have you worked with Muslims who have been victims of crime?

6 I. Victimization in America

7 HISTORY & LEGISLATION Victim’s Rights Movement Began in the 1970s(40 years of developments) Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)-1984 Established strong federal leadership on assisting victims (Crime Victims Compensation Fund) Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)-1994 Considered the lifeline of providing services to women escaping violence Crime Victims’ Rights Act (2004) Enhanced protections for victims within the federal system

8 TYPES OF CRIMES Campus Crimes Child VictimizationDating Violence Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence Drunk and Drugged DrivingElder VictimizationHate and Bias CrimeHomicideHuman TraffickingIdentity Theft/Financial CrimesInternet VictimizationSchool Crime and VictimizationSexual ViolenceStalkingTeen VictimizationTerrorismWorkplace Violence

9 PREVELANCE OF CRIME AND VICTIMIZATION  18.7 million violent and property crimes for individuals aged 12 and over (National Crime Victimization Survey)  Property Crimes: 14.8 million crimes  Assault: 3,148,250 million crimes  Intimate Partner Violence a) Male: 101, 530 b) Female: 407, 700  Rape/Sexual Assault: 188,380  Homicide: 12,996 (FBI UCR data for 2010)  Hate Crimes: 7,783 hate crimes (FBI UCR data from 2008)

10 REPORTING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT  52% of all violent victimization crimes aren’t reported to law enforcement (NCVS, 2012) 16%: police wouldn’t help/couldn’t help (Doubled since 1994) 13%: fear of reprisal or getting into more trouble  62% of victimization that took place at the hands of a non-stranger wasn’t reported  76% of all violent crimes that occurred at schools were not reported  12-17 is the age group with the most underreporting for victimization for violent crimes

11 VICTIM SERVICES  From 1993-2009 only 9% of all victims of violent crime received assistance(NCVS, 2012)  Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence: 23%  Rape/SA: 21%  Aggravated Assault: 9%  Robbery: 8%  Simple Assault: 7%  Property Crime: 2%

12 II. Underserved Groups: Victimization and Muslims

13 MUSLIM COMMUNITIES IN AMERICA  Population: 2.6 million to 6.2 million in 2030 (Pew Research Center Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2009)  65% percent of U.S Muslims are foreign born (Pew Research Center, 2007)  35% are Native-born Muslims (Pew Research Center, 2007)  Highest Concentration: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Texas (Abdelatif & Minnite, 2002)

14 RESEARCH ON MUSLIM COMMUNITIES  Most research on Muslims and the largest amount of funding has focused on the threat of extremism and terrorism  Handful of studies on Muslims as victims of crime  Lack of awareness that Muslims aren’t a homogeneous group  Lack of awareness or acknowledgement that victimization within the Muslim community exists and how it may look different from victimization in general within America

15 FORMS OF VICTIMIZATION EFFECTING MUSLIM COMMUNITIES Forced Marriages (Not considered a crime under US law) In-Law Violence Dowry Violence Domestic Violence Federal Bill in the process of being passed in 2012 that aims to track victims of HBV but it isn’t a crime under US law. There are no screenings in place Honor Based Violence (Honor Killings) Protections may exist for undocumented women through T- Visas/U-Visas or through seeking asylum. However there are weak protections, lack of clear protections or no protections against these forms of violence, or even an acknowledgement that such forms of violence exist against American women who are citizens Gender Based Violence (FGM, Early Childhood marriages, Acid Violence, human trafficking)

16 CONT. Religious and Racial Discrimination Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Islamophobia Post 9/11 War on Terror Policies (Indefinite Detention, disappearances, torture, enhanced interrogation, racial profiling, increased surveillance and monitoring) Victims of Oppressive or Authoritarian Governments (political prisoners, police brutality) Victims of War Crimes and conflict zones (torture, use of rape as a weapon of war, human trafficking, genocide, ethnic cleansing, military occupations) May see this more within the refugee or immigrant community Political Violence

17 HATE CRIMES “A hate crime, also known as a bias crime, is a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin (FBI).” Prevalence: 1600% increase in anti-Muslim hate violence after 9/11 (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2012) Underreporting is an issue and certain forms of hate violence against specific religious groups isn’t collected (Sikhs) Free Speech v. Hate Speech Local law enforcement agencies aren’t trained on identifying what to look for and the federal government will take only the worst of the worst cases

18 Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by someone to establish power and control over another person in a relationship. Domestic violence sometimes follows a cyclical pattern in which there are periods of calm, building up of tension, and then abuse. After a period of abuse, batterers are often apologetic, but as the cycle repeats the abuse usually gets worse over time (Peaceful Families Project).”

19 PREVALENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE  First National Study: 10% of Muslims experienced abuse in their homes (Alkhateeb, 1999)  Largest study (Celik & Sabri, 2012) N=801 Muslim respondents 66% reported they knew someone who was being abused (2/3) 53% reported they themselves had experience abuse (1/2) Comparable to the highest rates of victimization of minority groups in America

20 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (CONT.) Duluth Model Physical Abuse (Kicking, hitting, shoving) Sexual Abuse (rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, interfering with birth control-controlling reproductive health ) Emotional Abuse (shouting, name- calling) Psychological AbuseEconomic Abuse Abuse of Immigration Status Study in NYC had found 51% of all intimate partner homicide victims were foreign-born(New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygeine, 2004) Cultural Abuse Dowry Violence In-Law Violence

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23 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND RELIGIOUS ABUSE  Coercion and Threats Threatening to marry another wife and “God ordained wife-beating (4:34)” Threatening to spread the word and dishonor her reputation Making her drop charges to preserve the extended family’s honor  Intimidation Having the Imam tell the wife its her fault Collecting/Displaying weapons Stalking  Emotional Abuse Telling the victim she isn’t a good Muslim mother or wife Stating her knowledge of Islam is weak Telling women they need to be obedient and uphold the honor of the family

24 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND RELIGIOUS ABUSE  Isolation Restricts movement and access to family May use religious explanations stating he is the manager of the family and has God-given right to control her movement  Minimizing, Denying and Blaming Saying the wife caused the abuse Telling the wife that by telling others of the abuse she is violating the husband’s privacy and God will punish her  Using Children Child Abuse for the purposes of not having kids become too American or Western Threats of taking the children back to the native country to marry them off or kidnap them Father encourages children to abuse and disrespect the mother

25 HONOR BASED VIOLENCE (HBV)  Video Clip: http://vimeo.com/43619478 (First 3 minutes)http://vimeo.com/43619478  HBV versus DV(Honor Based Violence Awareness Network, 2012) Collective nature of the crime Multiple perpetrators (family, extended family, community) Possibly multiple victims Strong correlation with forced marriages Male/Female can be the victim or perpetrator in the crime  Honour Killings “An ‘honour’ killing is the most extreme form of HBV where the supposed offender against family ‘honour’ is killed to restore the ‘honour’ which has supposedly been lost through her behavior; however there are other lesser responses, such as forcing marriage, or other forms of violence which may also be expressed(Honor Based Violence Network, 2012)”  Currently HBV isn’t being monitored or tracked in the United States. There is also currently nothing explicit within laws that protects from HBV. US is beginning and has introduced a federal bill that will track HBV in the United States

26 FORCED MARRIAGES  Prevalence: 3000 suspected cases in the United States (Tahirih Justice Center, 2011) 85% identified as Muslim India, Pakistan, Mexico, and Bangladesh had the highest numbers of reported or suspected cases of forced marriages  Forced Marriage v. Arranged Marriage Lack of consent or the ability to give consent (Child Marriages, incapacity, vulnerability)  It can happen to men and women at any age, and it may have taken place either within the United States or abroad  Subject to Force, Fraud, or Coercion  No US law against forced marriage

27 FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM)  Collective name for various traditional practices of cutting the female genitals that usually occur from 4-12 in girls, and are considered a rite of passage(Center for Productive Rights, 2006).  Usually carried out by a woman  Cultural not Religious Practice but prevalent in some few subsets of Muslim communities  FGM is not illegal in all states in the United States  No prevalence on how many American women face FGM

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29 IMPACT OF CRIME VICTIMIZATION  Trauma (PTSD)  Secondary Victimization (Societal Response or Lack of)  Victim Blaming and Shaming  Ostracizing the victim due to stigma  Self-Harm/Suicide  Vulnerability to further victimization(Poly  More crime(While most victims of crime do not offend, the majority of offenders have had severe experiences of victimization within their lives)

30 III. Current State of Response to Victimization of Muslims

31 WHERE ARE MOST MUSLIMS SEEKING SERVICES AFTER BEING VICTIMS OF CRIME? The role of Imams as central to counseling was found in a study conducted in New York City of 22 mosques where 96% of the participants in the study considered the Imam a counselor, and 74% had sought out counseling from imams on safety issues(Abu-Ras, Gheith, & Cournos, 2008) Mosques: Most Muslims are seeking counseling and advice from Imams within mosques

32 TYPES OF CRIMES NGOS PRIMARILY SERVING MUSLIMS ARE SEEING (LIST OF TOP CRIMES)  Domestic Violence/IPV/HBV  Hate Crimes/Racial Discrimination  Child Abuse  Forced Marriages  Sexual Assault  Dating Violence  Employers abusing low-wage employees (sexual harassment, unpaid wages, assault, etc)  Human Trafficking

33 VICTIM SERVICES RESPONSE TO MUSLIMS  Victim Services for Muslims is within the embryonic stage  Fear of Reaching Out to Victim Services  Importance of having faith based services Faith matters and maybe the only thing the victim may have

34 VICTIM SERVICES RESPONSE TO MUSLIMS  Lack of professional services  Lack of adequate and appropriate services  Lack of funding and support for organizations working with Muslims  Challenges: There is a divide between the Muslim Social Workers and those that are conducting work through the social work lens versus the traditional religious lens

35 CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS IN ADDRESSING VICTIMIZATION “The Muslim community is 30 years behind awareness and the acknowledgement of victimization (Interviewee).” Lack of awareness in the Muslim community of victimization (Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence/IPV/Human trafficking/Child Abuse/Elder Abuse) “Just now beginning to accept the idea that Muslims can be and are indeed victims of crime (Survey Respondent).” Lack of awareness and education that victims have rights under the criminal justice system Lack of awareness on types of services and how to access them Racial and Ethnic Divisions

36 CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS IN ADDRESSING VICTIMIZATION (CONT.) Denial that victimization exists within the community Emphasis on the community versus the individual (reputation) Fear of making Islam/community/culture/family look bad Honor Cultural Stigma around victimization Isolated from the Community due to Stigma Shame Polyvictimization Generations of Post-Trauma and Abuse

37 CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS (IMMIGRATION CONCERNS)  Status (Fear of Deportation)  Less Protection Under the Law  Less access to services and victim’s rights  Language Barriers  Fear law enforcement will not believe the individual has been victimized

38 CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS (SPECIFIC TO DV) Cultural practices have been mixed with religious interpretations. Culture v. Religion “Not supportive and may hinder an investigation or prevent victims from seeking professional services” Ex: There have been some mosques where the funding boards have asked that their mosque shouldn’t work with any victim of DV within the community because it would break homes. Ex: A pattern of behavior in all cases of dv where when the spouse is about to report the abuse and the abuser is aware of that, the perpetrator or their family will increase donations to the mosque because then the mosque won’t speak out or the Imams. “You won’t bite the hand that feeds you (Interviewee)” Mosques

39 CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS (SPECIFIC TO DV)  Denial Among Imams  Estimation of how many Imams give sound support for domestic violence “20% get it but the other 80% just don’t think about it and most of it just doesn’t get reported (Interviewee)” “I personally know a woman whom was being abused and her child was born ill due to it. He is now dead. No one listened to her. No one believed her and now her son is dead and she is devastated. I know women who have miscarriages due to the abuse (Survey Respondent)” Referring specifically to the Imam and the Mosque

40 DV(CONT.)  Lack of Knowledge on the Danger Victims are In “90% of Imams tell women to go back home. They are signing these women’s death warrants. In 100% of the cases where women listened to the Imam, I never heard from them again (Director, Muslim Women’s Shelter)”  Many Imams aren’t aware of the rights of victims under the criminal justice system (Eg : Won’t know about orders of protections or restraining orders). “50% of Imams don’t have knowledge on the criminal justice system and rights for victims of crime. 90% won’t know the difference or the purpose of orders of protection.”

41 WOMEN  Invisibility in terms of voices and presence within the religious community  Traditional roles of women that include not being in public/Conditioned to not leave the home  Stereotypes of the Hijab  Sex related crimes: Women are reluctant to report because of honor norms. To report would be to violate the family’s honor  Divorce is Taboo(DV)

42 MEN  Shame  No resources for addressing male victimization  Many organizations specifically have within their mandates that they will not serve males  Victimization of men occurring outside the home Sexual Abuse: “We are hearing scattered reports in the country that there is the existence of sexual abuse occurring at the hands of religious teachers (Interviewee)”

43 CJ RESPONSES TO MUSLIMS (LAW ENFORCEMENT)  Fundamental misunderstanding of the function of the different LE agencies  Mistrust of LE  Fear of LE  Victims won’t be believed (More heightened perception among immigrants)

44 LAW ENFORCEMENT  Not aggressive enough in cases where the victims are Muslim  Misconception that the faith allows for the abuse. Ex: Incidents where officers have responded and stated “Isn’t he allowed to beat you? “Why are you calling us.”  Hate Crimes: “Lukeworm response to hate crimes.” Agencies don’t know what characteristics to look for in terms of indicators of bias  Forced Marriages/Honor Based Violence: Don’t know what to look for in terms of indicators

45 CJ RESPONSES TO MUSLIMS (PROSECUTION)  Low Prosecution Rates  Domestic Violence: Rarely seen cases prosecuted. Some participants mentioned they haven’t heard of a single case that was prosecuted. Even if they are, sentences are low, and the individual will be released back into society and can abuse someone else.  Hate Crimes: Some prosecutions on a federal level but most cases on the state level are being prosecuted as property crimes unless there was an assault  Property Crimes/Financial Crimes: Few prosecutions occurring

46 CJ RESPONSES TO MUSLIMS (JUDGES) “There are instances where women’s faith has been used against them. There is a disconnect with courts and victims who are women of faith and victims have been denied orders of protection because the judge felt the victim wasn’t serious enough (Inteviewee).”  Lack of awareness and understanding of religion and culture  Lack of sensitivity  Judges are making decisions based on their own religious interpretations

47 IV. Recommendations for Improving Responses to Muslims who are Victims of Crime

48 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVING SERVICES Unlearn Biases and Stereotypes Understanding the Importance of Honor in the Community

49 PROMISING PRACTICES OF ENGAGING THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY (LAW ENFORCEMENT) Attend and table at community events Attend the mosque Build Relationships with various leaders and professionals in the community Work with Advocates DO NOT USE THE SAME PEOPLE FOR WORKING WITH ALL TRYPES OF CRIMES Improve Outreach to the Muslim Community Used the officers within their agencies who were trusted officers and had validity within the community Created materials to educate officers on cultural competency Created trainings on issues such as domestic violence and elder abuse and are conducting outreach in the community Taken clear positions that anything that rises to the level of a crime will be handled as such (LASD) Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department(Promising Models of Engagement)

50 CONT. Encourage LE agencies to create such initiative Overall community is receptive to such initiatives because they want their voices heard LASD is willing to serve as a resource to other law enforcement agencies on how to create similar initiatives engaging the Muslim community in other jurisdictions. They have already worked with SDPD, LAPD, MPD, and others. Every community differs and the needs are different.

51 USING THE COMMUNITY AS A RESOURCE Leverage the community Faith-Based Community Taskforce Have a directory and network of Imams Working with several different community members because issues may present a challenge and one Imam or community member cannot address them all

52 FRAMING THE DIALOGUE ON HOW TO WORK WITH VICTIMS Victim Blaming Do not hold the religion or culture accountable. There is a difference between religion/culture and religious/cultural exploitation Perceptions of Muslims needs to be more real. Need to humanize them and the perception need to be more nuanced

53 APPLYING A PARALLEL JUSTICE FRAMEWORK TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF VICTIMS HOLISTIC MODEL Victims’ Safety Recovery from Trauma Legal Rights Enforced Forum and Response Assistance, Compensation, Restitution Reintegration

54 THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING Contact Draja@urban.org


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