Muslim women are a highly diverse group, and they face an equally diverse set of challenges.Therefore, no one type of group can meet all of the needs of Muslim women. Organizations that serve Muslim women help them fight discrimination and domestic violence and work for policies that protect the rights of Muslim women. They also help them reach educational and economic goals. Some organisations provide emotional support for women who feel isolated or threatened.
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Political Advocacy Groups
Muslim women in many countries face problems that are a result of policy, or that require new laws to fix. In Muslim-majority countries, they may face unjust family-related laws, employment or economic discrimination, or violence. Where Muslims are a minority, Muslim women may be the victims of racial or religious discrimination, and violence in the form of hate crimes or domestic abuse. Sisters in Islam, based in Malaysia, works for laws to protect the rights of Muslim women in Malaysia, and helps them with representation in the country's Islamic courts. Women Living Under Muslim Laws is an international group which helps activists organise campaigns to fight laws and practices deemed harmful to Muslim women's interests.
Domestic Violence Support
Many mosques and Muslim organisations have worked to raise awareness of domestic violence and to stop the cycle of abuse in families. Muslim women face unique issues when seeking to leave an abuser, as the abuser may try to use religion to force the woman to stay, or they may face a lack of religious accommodation or bigotry when trying to leave.The Bait ul-Salaam Network, based in Atlanta, Georgia, provides shelter for women fleeing abusive relationships and offers education to make Muslim congregations aware of the issues related to domestic violence. Muslimaat al-Nisaa, based in Baltimore, Maryland, provides shelter, medical care, education and job readiness services for Muslim domestic abuse survivors.
Support for Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Muslim Women
Muslim women who are lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered are at risk for multiple forms of discrimination and violence. Muslim women who come out to their families as lesbian or bisexual are at risk for forced marriages and violence. Transgendered Muslim women may not be recognised as women, may be accused of apostasy, and may face discrimination and violence. Some organisations that help Muslim lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered women are focused on those in or from a specific country, like Meem, based in Lebanon, or Somali Gay Community, based in the UK. These organisations help people of all faiths from those countries. Other organisations, like Salaam Canada or Al-Fatiha, are focused on the needs of Muslims from all ethnic backgrounds.
Economic and Educational Opportunities for Muslim Women
Many Muslim-majority countries are part of the developing world, and microcredit offered by organisations like Grameen Bank, has provided opportunities for some Muslim women to start businesses. Women for Women International sponsors women in war-torn areas, providing them with the support needed to start small businesses. While not exclusively for Muslim women, they help women in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Nigeria and Sudan. The Muslim Women's Association, based in Washington, D.C., works year-round to provide scholarships for Muslim women to attend college in the USA.
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