Muslim Mothers Against Violence
For seven years, a group of Muslim women at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC) has been making a remarkable difference in the community with one strong message of non-violence. With more than 100 “mothers” committed to its membership, Muslim Mothers Against Violence (MMAV) has declared a foremost obligation and responsibility of teaching and guiding children to be the best of Muslims and, thereby, the best human beings possible. MMAV actively promotes peace, tolerance and non-violence in the local communities and throughout the world.
MMAV emphasizes that Islam values the sanctity of human life and considers attacks on innocent lives as inexcusable and contradictory to the teachings of Islam. The group was formed after the terrorist attacks in London in July 2005. Members of this group have pledged:
- To unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism and violence against innocent civilians.
- To support educational, religious, social, and cultural opportunities that can promote and teach non-violent methods of resolving conflicts to our youth.
- To reach out and collaborate with others of different faiths who have similar objectives.
MMAV’s early efforts included reaching out to grieving mothers who lost children in the Iraq war, adding lessons and activities to the Weekend School curriculum to focus on constructive and peaceful methods of conflict resolution, sponsoring more adult lectures and khutbahs denouncing extremism, and organizing the first “Talk, Tea, & Tour” interfaith outreach event. Since then, MMAV has developed a comprehensive and continually growing list of activities to promote peace and understanding among all—especially focusing on children and their needs.
Among its most recent works, MMAV has been very active in educating people, especially Muslim youth, about identifying and preventing bullying. MMAV founding member Shakila Ahmad partnered in 2011-12 with Dr. Saba Chughtai, a local psychiatrist, and Mona Baig, a social worker, to survey more than 250 Muslim youth at ICGC and in the Virginia area about experiences with bullying. (Nearly 50% of the youth indicated having been bullied, with youth ages 14-18 sharing that over 70% of them had been bullied.) Subsequently, MMAV has held various adult and youth forums encouraging an open discussion on bullying and intervention strategies. The group plans to continue its work in this area, developing more comprehensive programs to educate and help victims of bullying.
Contact ICGC to learn more about Muslim Mothers Against Violence and express your support. Shakila Ahmad is coordinator of MMAV activities.