Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika: Hadayai Majeed

Just after we opened, a child of one of our residents danced in the middle of the floor, dived head-first into the toy box and squealed with joy. I knew then we were doing the right thing.

— Hadayai Majeed

Hadayai Majeed's vision is both simple and huge: give Muslim women the tools to change their climate by changing themselves. A member of a religion that is focused on service, Hadayai was called to reach out to her sisters, and in 1997 she founded Baitul Salaam Network, Inc. to help victims of domestic abuse. The goal of the network is to end silence about domestic violence and to help abused Muslim women and children with shelter, food, and clothing. The organization also teaches strategies for self-sufficiency: how to be confident in speech, mannerisms, and body language.

Hadayai Majeed's marriage was one of neglect and denigration. But when she sought intervention, counsel, encouragement, and financial assistance from Muslim families and friends, she was told she was at fault. The policy of the community's one shelter was to tell abused women to be quiet and to "move on". Instead, Hadayai saw a need and she moved to fill it. Although her mother was a social worker, Hadayai had avoided following in her footsteps, observing its personal demands. But in 1997, she responded to the call of her faith and founded Baitul Salaam. The vision of Baitul Salaam is to provide a community in which women are self-empowered through their spiritual beliefs and which respects the rights and liberties of every person. Baitul Salaam Network operates at local, state, and national levels: requests for help are frequent. Locally, the network focuses on providing shelter as well as training in prevention and intervention. Information about the program is widely disseminated on bulletin boards in mosques, Islamic centers, and on the Internet. Hadayai is a frequent presenter at her mosque in Atlanta and at national conferences and women's gatherings. She is a recognized resource concerning abused and neglected Muslim women and children for social workers, mental health professionals, and abuse victims' advocates throughout the state of Georgia. Hadayai has been challenged by lack of cooperation from some Muslim leaders, who interpret her work as "rebellious". Nevertheless, her group has succeeded in making domestic violence awareness a focus of national conferences, and some local leaders now give khutbahs (Friday prayer lectures) to raise awareness about the issue. The network and its leaders have received formal recognition from several Muslim organizations and from the state of Georgia.

Baitul Salaam Network, Inc.