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Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration Winter 2012

Sharing our Journey As we approach the end of 2012, there are strong indications that our approach and work has significantly reduced the risk factors of family violence in London, Ontario. We have impacted the lives of the people we have served, including our mainstream service providers. Due to the hard work of our staff, volunteers, and community partners, our families – and community is becoming a safer place to live. Still, there is much work to be done. As we look ahead to the New Year, we have a solid plan on moving forward with our model of service delivery. We aim to partner with international organizations such as Cure Violence (previously known as CeaseFire) and share our model and best practises with other major cities and mainstream services enabling them to adapt our culturally integrative model of intervention to their own communities. This will be achieved through two main projects: The Shared Journeys Project (SJP) and the Family Honour Project (FHP). The Shared Journeys Project (SJP) aims to share the knowledge gained through ten years of collaboration between the London & Middlesex Children’s Aid Society and the London Muslim Community, and the resulting model, the creation of of the Muslim Resource Center for Social Support and Integration. This model, and its working relationship with child protection services in London, Ontario has been instrumental in reducing the number of Muslim children needing the care of the Children’s Aid Society and has better informed service providers to meet the needs of Muslim families resulting in healthy and positive outcomes. Though replication of this model in additional communities in Ontario such as Kingston and Ottawa and York region in Toronto, the partners hope to inform, support and replicate the successes experienced in the London community. The Family Honour Project seeks to build upon the success of our current programs the Family Safety Program (FSP) and Safe Integration Project (SIP), as well as our strong relationships with community service providers. MRCSSI is partnering with Cure Violence (CeaseFire organization) of Chicago to develop a program that will engage the community to change behaviours and beliefs surrounding violence. The original Cure Violence project focused on inner city gun-­‐related violence and the social acceptance of gun culture, by providing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The Family Honour Project (FHP) seeks to provide families with honourable alternatives to addressing family conflict by using the Cure Violence methodology. A special thanks to our funders, especially the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ministry of the Attorney General for their generous support. This Holiday season, may we celebrate the cornerstone of our communities – our families. Mohammed Baobaid

Happy Holidays! INSIDE THIS ISSUE Trip to Chicago ..……………2 Risk Assessment Knowledge Exchange Conference at Western…………....……..….2 “Honour”-related Violence workshop………..……….....4 Family Safety Project……….5 Fundraising Dinner………….6 Clients testimony……..……..7 SPECIAL POINTS OF INTEREST:  MRCSSI’s Executive Director, Mohammed Baoboaid nominated as one of the 500 most influential Muslims, p. 6  Major Grants awarded, p.8

SHARING KNOWLEDGE: RISK ASSESSMENT NATIONAL CONFERENCE AT WESTERN UNIVERSITY The Risk Assessment, Risk Management and Safety Planning: Knowledge Exchange conference took place at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children at Western University in London from October 17-19, 2012. The conference was in response to the increased need to establish a national strategy to address risk assessment and effectively ensure the safety of victims of domestic violence and domestic homicide. Led by Dr. Peter Jaffe and Dr. Myrna Dawson, it brought together leading thinkers from community organizations, government ministries, and universities from coast to coast with the aim to present recommendations that would enhance policies, practices and research to prevent domestic violence. The MRCSSI was represented by its Executive Director, Mohammed Baobaid who gave a presentation entitled Challenges and Promising Practices in Risk Assessment with Immigrant and Refugee Victims and perpetrators of Domestic Violence. Dr. Baobaid stated that the aim of the presentation is to create the conditions for balancing the safety of women and children from collectivist immigrant communities while understanding and appreciating the complexity of their cultural identities and migration experiences.


MRCSSI TRAVELS TO CHICAGO SALEHA KHAN, BOARD MEMBER What: MRCSSI visits Cure Violence in Chicago Who: Executive Director, Mohammad Baobaid, PhD, led the team of visitors which included Program Manager, Eugene Tremblay, Researcher Yasmin Hussain, and Board Member Saleha Khan. When: Our trip started on Monday, October 28th and ended with Dr. Baobaid and Mr. Tremblay returning on November 1st. Hussain and Khan had returned on October 30th.

“It was a truly inspiring and humbling experience.�

Why: Cure Violence Program offered MRCSSI to come and visit their operations hub and to meet the program initiator, Dr. Gary Slutkin, as well as program consultants Norman Kerr, and Brent Decker. The agenda included a meeting with Dr. Slutkin who gave an overview of the framework and the thought process behind the Cure Violence

Brent Decker, Eugene Tremblay, Tim White, Mohammed Baobaid, Saleha Khan

MRCSSI’s Partners approach. We also met with the international programs coordinator and he shared experiences of establishing the programs in Iraq, Ecuador and other parts of the world. There were visits to neighborhoods, and meetings with "Interrupters” — community members who

 Canadian Council of Muslim Women (London, Ontario)

 Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children

 Changing Ways

with the

 Children’s Aid Society London and Middlesex

who rush in

 Cross Cultural Learner Centre

where threat

 Family Service Thames Valley

of violence or

 Islamic Centre of Southwest

actual violence is erupting.

It was a truly inspiring


 Islamic Society of Kingston  London Police Service  Muslim Association of Canada  Muslim Family Support Service, Ottawa

and humbling

 Social Service Network, Markham

experience. We are

 Somali Association

thankful to the funders

 Sudanese Canadian Community

who made this trip

 The London Muslim Mosque

possible, as well as the

 Women’s Community House

leadership of Dr. Baobaid for smoothing the way for this visit.


are working

program and

Meeting at Cure Violence

 Al Mahdi Islamic Community

Norman Kerr. Program consultant, Cure Violence

MRCSSI Board of Directors

 Zan Saleemi, Chair

 Saleha Khan, Vice Chair

How you can help We are in the process of applying for charitable status. In the meantime, Changing Ways is accepting donations on behalf of the MRCSSI to support our projects, and will issue tax-deductible receipts for your contributions. Cheques can be made out to Changing Ways and earmarked for “MRCSSI Special Projects.”

 Salim Chahbar, Treasurer  Siham Elkassem  Ali Haider  Craig Harper  Awad Hilal  Melikie Joseph  Barb Macquarrie



On November 8, 2012 the Muslim Resource Center for resource Social Support and Integration (MRCSSI) hosted a base. It will workshop titled “Honour-related violence”: Myths & realities be working together with community partners to reduce and interesting prevent violence against women at the London Police to see how Headquarters. Service providers, community the model representatives and activists from London, Toronto, is adapted Washington DC, and Chicago were in attendance. The to the workshop featured keynote speaker Norman Kerr from the needs of CeaseFire Project of Chicago, Illinois, USA. CeaseFire is the Family Honour Project,” explained Razia Hassan, known for its work in the city’s toughest neighbourhoods Secretary, Canadian Council of Muslim Women, London dealing gang-related violence. Mr. Kerr spoke about the Chapter. Cure Violence Program and explained step-by-step The MRCSSI fills a vital need for many families who may strategies which have the potential of not be able to access mainstream changing attitudes and behaviour of a “It is a model that should be services in the city. “The problem community for the positive. adapted by other agencies is not just about barriers but is especially in a time of fiscal The MRCSSI’s objective is to learn from complex and intersect with many Cure Violence program and create a layers,” explained Dr. Mohammed cut backs and restraint. The parallel model to apply to the Family Baobaid, Executive Director of the bringing together of multiple Honour Project. The workshop provided MRCSSI in his presentation. “It is service providers who can the setting to learn, assess and discuss more about understanding the focus their expertise on the thoughts on honour-related violence. dilemma of these women in the various needs of the client context of their relationship with The partnership with MRCSSI and the provides for comprehensive their family and community CeaseFire project dates back to January ‘treatment solutions’,” network.” This project will work 2012 when the MRCSSI introduced the Razia Hassan towards increasing and Family Honour Project. The model enhancing safe space for prevents violence using a three-prong engaging in a dialogue to build approach: Identification and detection; Interruption, culturally appropriate collaborative strategies to address intervention and risk reduction; and, Changing behavior ‘honour-related violence’. There is a gap between the and norms. The research partners in this initiative are: The individualistic model of intervention and collectivist nature Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against of Muslim families and the MRCSSI strives to fill in the Women and Children and the Faculty of Education, gaps to provide a culturally appropriate delivery on issues. Western University. “The partnership with Cure Violence/ “I believe that MRCSSI is a model for social services which Ceasefire is quite remarkable. The issue of honour in a looks after the ‘whole’ client (individual/family/community). gang and in collectivist cultures have many similarities and It is a model that should be adapted by other agencies parallels. Treating violence through a disease prevention especially in a time of fiscal cut backs and restraint. The model does not blame the individual but views violence as bringing together of multiple service providers who can a result of culturally acceptable norms and ways of coping focus their expertise on the various needs of the client with stressors. Therefore “curing” comes from intervention provides for comprehensive ‘treatment solutions’,” said that seeks to change the social/cultural norms over time Razia Hassan. and focus on prevention. This process requires a long term commitment by service providers and a large volunteer A service provider and participant at the Honour-related


violence workshop, Detective Darren Couling of the London Police Service stated, “What I have come to understand, and really admire about the Muslim Resource Centre, is that in order to create real change and to help families that are dealing with “The Muslim Resource emotional, psychological Centre’s strategies and and physical abuse issues, that you must perspectives provide a first wrap yourself unique and successful around everyone model for others to involved in the situation emulate and also – including the provides some much perpetrator. Seeking needed hope in a very out, understanding, and frustrating field of work.” addressing the - Detective Darren underlying causes of the Couling concerning behavior rather than simply labeling and penalizing the offender is far more effective and humane. The Muslim Resource Centre’s strategies and perspectives provide a unique and successful model for others to emulate and also provides some much needed hope in a very frustrating field of work.”

FAMILY SAFETY PROJECT, HASSNA NASIR The Family Safety Program is a program that is designed to support families and individuals who have come into contact with the Children's Aid or the Justice system. The program assist families, individuals and youth in conflict as well as those who may be struggling with post-migration challenges. We understand that most

agencies. Their children are socialized within Canadian society as individuals having rights and self determination. The parents adaptation becomes difficult as they begin to realize that they are living in the country of their children. This may create conflicts and misunderstandings in particular during the teenage

of our community members came to Canada generally years. As a result, this might lead to conflict between seeking a better life for their children than what had been family members. Conflicts may escalate between couples, available to them in their country of origin. The trauma they as a result of past traumatizing experience and the added may have endured with sacrifices and losses during their pressure of adoption to a new culture and environment. journey to Canada and provide a better and safer life for These conflicts may escalate and erupt into situations that their children is challenged during the acculturation may be considered child abuse or Domestic Violence in process. The parents values, customs, beliefs Canadian Society . This may lead to involvement with the connections to community and extended family may justice system and social services. become misunderstood or not understood when they come In order to assist these families MRC has designed the into contact with mainstream Canadian


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Family Safety Program which includes providing advocacy services, conducting crisis assessment, and developing social support networks for individuals and families in crisis situations, in particular, those affected by domestic violence and the involvement of their families with child protection systems or/and the criminal justice system. We provide support to these families by providing support and building communication skills, assisting the individual or family with the justice system and social service agencies (e.g. Children Aid Society, Police, Court, Probation, Victim Services). We work with the professionals and Canadian agencies to create a pathway of understanding between the family and the agencies to understand the reality of the family. In doing so we are helping the family and the service providers develop a customized intervention plan for them. We hope that our support ensures the safety of all family members by resolving conflict and avoiding escalation of crisis which may result in children coming into placement. Our partnership has reduced the amount of Muslim children in care by 73% and we have not had a Muslim child enter care in the past three years. I am the social worker at MRCSSI in the Family Safety program. Prior to coming to Canada, I was living in a refugee camp and was both emotionally, and physically traumatized. I encountered extensive barriers as a displaced young woman without any legal protection. My journey to Canada to date has made me well aware of the challenges that newcomers to Canada must face. My personal experience, professional training, and the opportunity to work at MRCSSI has enabled me to support clients effectively without blaming them and also in supporting outside mainstream Canadian service providers engage such families with impressive results.

MRCSSI ANNUAL COMMUNITY DINNER– IN PROGRESS ZAN SALEEMI, CHAIR, MRCSSI The Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration held its first annual community dinner on October 6, 2012. Our keynote speaker for the evening was Imam Sikander Ziad Hashmi, from Kingston, Ontario. Imam Hashmi is the imam at the Islamic Centre of Kingston and a freelance journalist. The programme also featured Shaykh Jamal Taleb, Imam of the London Muslim Mosque; Chief Bradley Duncan of the London Police Service; Regina Bell, Associate Director of Service at the Children’s Aid Society of Middlesex and London; and Dr. Naila Butt, Executive Director of the Social Services Network, Toronto. The Honourable Christopher Bentley, Minister of Energy and Former Attorney General of Ontario was unable to attend.


Dr. Naila Butt

Regina Bell

Imam Sikander Ziad

Chief Bradley

Imam Jamal Taleb

Annual Community Dinner helped raise $32,000...

Imam Sikander Hashmi described in heart-wrenching detail the case of the Afghani mother who had stabbed her daughter, and then went on to speak about the Shafia murders. He linked those examples to the work of the MRCSSI as perhaps the only such avenue to proactively address the issue of honour-related violence in our community. In fact all of the speakers spoke about the significant impact that the MRCSSI has had in a very short time.

The MRCSSI relies primarily on grant funding from various government agencies. However, these grants are contingent on a minimum level of financial support from the community. Alhamdulillah, we were able to raise a total of $32,000, including pledges at the dinner. We look forward to your continued patronage.

Zan Saleemi and Ali Pardhan Saleha Khan, Hassna Nasir, and Hanaa Alaubaid

CLIENTS TESTIMONIES Client 1: Sallama Shawkat 1. How would you describe your experience with MRCSSI in one statement? We met MRCSSI staff upon our arrival to Canada in 2010. Dr Mohammed and Nada have helped me and my daughters in a beautiful manner.

cross when coming to Canada for a new life and new beginnings. They were so helpful and supportive to my-self and my family and I am forever thankful for this.

through this great struggle. They helped me to develop a plan that would guide me to be a consistent and predictable part of my baby’s life.

Client 2: Azim Nobobee

2. How has MRCSSI helped you?

1. How would you describe your experience with MRCSSI in one statement?

They kept checking up on me to make sure I was ok and had everything I needed. I did not feel alone but rather supported and hopeful. I am now an active part of my daughter’s life, seeing her daily and caring for her at my home. My relationship with my child’s mother is more open and focused in on ensuring that we share in parenting our daughter.

A few years ago, I was overwhelmed with sadness. I had separated from my 2. How has MRCSSI helped you? "only baby" When I came to Canada my eyes were child’s mother. I closed I felt I was almost blind with what was not having was happening around me. MRCSSI has access to my daughter and so much helped me open my eyes and see the wanted to continue to be an active part of world in a different light. They helped me her life and care for her, there was no overcome my problems language court order or custody issue it was just barriers and showed me a whole different due to some tension and lifestyle. MRCSSI is the vein that misunderstandings between me and my connected me to Canada. child’s mother. I felt very vulnerable and felt that I was going to lose all contact 3. What message would you send to with my daughter. A person at the the community? Mosque who was aware of my situation referred me to the MRCSSI and they MRCSSI is a bridge that one needs to were really helpful while I was going

3. What message would you send to the community? We have resources in our community such as MRCSSI which can help with your family problems, especially with your children. Any family issue, please go see these guys first before the problem gets bigger. Know that you have tried to reach out and solve the issue.


MRCSSI RECEPIENT OF MAJOR GRANTS MUSLIM RESOURCE CENTRE FOR SOCIAL SUPPORT AND INTEGRATION The MRCSSI is a not-forprofit organization with a mandate to promote family safety and to develop antiviolence strategies. Our goal is to accomplish this by establishing effective social support networks for Muslim families in London and the surrounding region. MRCSSI. Making a difference in our community.

The MRCSSI is proud to announce that we have been awarded two grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ministry of the Attorney General respectively.

$285,000.00 has been granted by the Ontario Trillium Foundation for the Shared Journeys Project. The Shared Journeys Project (SJP) aims to share the knowledge gained through ten years of collaboration between the London and Middlesex Children’s Aid Society and the London Muslim Community that has significantly reduced the number of Muslim children being admitted to the care of the Children’s Aid Society. $70,000.00 from the Ministry of Attorney General for the Safe Integration Project III. The Safe Integration Project III will further develop a unique and inclusive model that involves an innovative process of collaboration between service providers and victims of domestic violence within immigrant communities.

Our special thanks to the Government of Ontario for their generous support.

The Muslim 500 Mohammed Baobaid on the list again For the fourth consecutive year, Dr. Baobaid has been recognized as one of “The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims” in the annual publication, The Muslim 500. Released by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre based in Amman, Jordan, the publication identifies Muslims worldwide involved in political, social and philanthropic efforts among others. More information can be found on PLEASE PLACE STAMP HERE

MUSLIM RESOURCE CENTRE FOR SOCIAL SUPPORT AND INTEGRATION 111 Waterloo Street Unit 211 London, ON, Canada N6B 2M4 P: 519-672-6000 E: Website: Questions? Comments? Please email Please include newsletter edition in your subject line.

Major Funders

Winter 2012 Newsletter  
Winter 2012 Newsletter  

Quarterly newsletter published by the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration in London, Ontario detailing current and pas...