Muslim Women for All Women

Family Violence Hotline: 972.880.4192
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» News & Updates

Muslims and supporters call for understanding in ‘friendship, not suspicion’

By Dianne Solis, Dallas News, Powered by The Dallas Morning News

Muslim leaders and their supporters on Wednesday denounced what they called growing bigotry against people of the Islamic faith, citing a “loyalty oath” they say a Texas state legislator wants them to take, and the looming temporary ban on many refugees issued by President Donald Trump.

“We will not tolerate it,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in a news conference in Irving, a city with a large concentration of Muslims and foreign-born people. “I invite any one of our government officials or our neighbors to get to know us in the spirit of friendship, not suspicion.”

Read more.

Blessed by Your Support

Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatu Allahe Wa Barakatuh (Peace be with you and God Blessings and God’s mercy),

Dear Supporters, on Saturday January 21, 2017 TMWF hosted our 12th Annual Fundraising Gala. We cannot find the words to express to all of you how grateful and blessed we are by your support. We had 500 attendees from different faith communities, nationalities, denominations, affiliations, stages in life and professions. Among us we were blessed with Rabbis, Pastors, Imams, men, women and youths. They all were and – are – true faithful and true believers, putting the teachings of their faith into action. Each one made the statement that they supported TMWF’s work.

Peace in the Home

First and foremost the Peace in the Home domestic violence (DV) program:

  • To look after the needy and less fortunate, and empower them  to pick up their lives after experiencing devastating trauma, and move on.
  • Since 2009, we’ve served close to 2,000 victims – women, men and children
  • We’ve answered 5,000 hotline calls
  • We’ve sheltered 600 victims in Peaceful Oasis and transitional housing
  • We’ve represented over 300 cases in court – both in immigration and family law
  • We partnered with our Masajids and Imams since 2008 in annual Ramadan DV Awareness Campaigns, dedicating full Khutbahs (sermons) about DV, and reaching at least 100,000 people with the message that Islam honors women and condemns violence, definitely within our homes, but most assuredly everywhere else.

Goodwill and Friendship

TMWF and supporters were and – are – acknowledging that “All people are created equal” by the one All Mighty creator. Although we come in all races, all ethnicities, all genders, we are meant to know one another and to care for one another and live peacefully together on God’s good Earth. This is the integral vision in our Interfaith and Outreach program. The tremendous interfaith audience were the fruit of the constant work over the years – visiting, partnering with all faiths and denominations, speaking in schools, colleges and groups and establishing goodwill and friendship in the process.

Building Cultural Bridges

We all know that all of us are not given the same starting points or means in life, but all of us have the right to be educated and to improve our future and that of all our families. This highlights TMWF’s Education program. What is a better and more effective way to connect people and bring them together than art with our Islamic Arts Revival Series program? Art has always been a universal language to build cultural bridges.

Children are our future 

Last but not least, we all realize that our children are our future. They are the ones who will hold the reigns of our society, our country and our world. What we plant in their minds early on is what we will reap in the future years to come, and this is our focus in the Youth Leadership program. Since 2008, when Farhana Ali established the program, over 500 youth have volunteered over 3,000 hours of service to food pantries, homeless shelters, hospitals and senior homes. On Saturday we saw them the fight against Domestic Violence with Mayor Rawlings and our Imams.

Our programs showed that TMWF is a living, breathing, mini world, that nurtures all the values that faiths and real humanity promote: compassion, love, friendship, support, generosity, respect and care for every single individual within this world. We respect and value of all the resources and expertise that each one brings, whether they are young or old, men or women, black or white, Mexican, South Asian, white, Arab, African, European, or Latin American.

Thank you to our gala sponsors, program advertisers, silent auction donors and to the wonderful ladies who donated the delicious treats for all our guests!

On the second day after the inauguration, we all witnessed the women’s marches all over the country, and witnessed the fear and the worry that many people were experiencing in light of the anticipated new changes in government. For us at TMWF, these are even more scary times. We fear for our women, community, our men and children. We fear for the poor, all refugees and immigrants.

We fear the anticipated cuts in federal programs and grants. The news today are that the Office of Violence against women, the source of funding for major DV providers around the country, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, and other critically important programs will be eliminated. We pray that our coming together will be the assurance that the people of this country will continue the work to look after one another and support one another, and in light of potential cuts in funding from the government, each and every one of us will reach out more within his own ability and will be even more generous in his donations today and onward.

None of the current programs helping the homeless, the victims of DV, the people with disabilities, poor, refugees the LGBTQ can continue without our combined effort and generosity.  So please continue to donate to TMWF and your favorite charities.

And I am reminded here by the verse from the Quran, that a good deed is like a corn that gives 7 corns:

مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّئَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَاللّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَن يَشَاء وَاللّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Quran Chapter 2 Verse 261

The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

Thank You

Lastly, thank you to ALL our brothers and sisters who stood with the Muslim Community and came out in droves to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to make a stand and state that refugees are welcome.

Thank you to Dallas Mayor Rawlings, Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas Faith Leaders: Rev Michael Waters, Pastor Erik Folkerth, Imam Omar Suleiman, the untiring and dedicated and relentless Alia Salem, CAIR Executive Director, the countless Pro Bono lawyers who worked unselfishly. Thank you to the generous volunteers who brought food and water and cleaning supplies for the thousands of protesters who stayed there till the detainees were released. We thank the gracious Police Officers who attended to the peaceful crowds and to the news agencies such as WFAA, Dallas Morning News for covering all the events.

Together we stand
I know I’m missing a lot of wonderful people who are definitely deserving of recognition, please forgive my memory! Please know that we are sincerely grateful and appreciative of your presence among us. God Bless the great American spirit and our wonderful American brothers and sisters who always uphold the values and constitution of the USA, and do not let fear and hate push them away. God Bless the already great USA.

Thank you for your generosity and supporting our mission.

Sincerely,
Hind Jarrah, Ph.D.
Executive Director

PS: If you were unable to join us at the Gala, please consider making your gift today. We need more #PeaceChampions to stand with us to bring “Peace in the Home”. 

TMWF and YOU at the Gala: Coming Together to Represent the Strength and Beauty of Diversity

 by Nagia Moharram

January 21, 2017, was an eventful day.  While many citizens in the United States and worldwide marched in solidarity for the rights of women and minorities, a group of over 500 men and women of all faiths, ages, and ethnic backgrounds gathered at a hotel in Dallas, Texas for the same cause.   The 12th Annual Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation’s (TMWF) Fundraising Gala offered a powerful and timely message. Board Chair, Mahmuda Hossain, welcomed the audience, along with TMWF Event Sponsors, auction donors, businesses advertising in the event and TMWF staff for the impactful work being done.  TMWF Executive director, Dr. Hind Jarrah presented the accomplishments of TMWF since inception, noting that TMWF and its supporters parallel the diversity of the United States, and represent working together for a good cause.  The agenda for the evening offered stories from all four of TMWF’s programs, Social Services, Youth Leadership Development, Education, and Interfaith Outreach.

Social Services

The first story was both truly personal and yet represented the tragedies of many other victims.   A TMWF Social Services client, speaking in anonymity, told of mental, physical, sexual, and financial abuse at the hands of her husband.  She expressed her gratitude for an organization such as TMWF that helped her get out of her horrific cycle of abuse and reclaim her dignity.  The client’s story showed how TMWF Social Services saves lives and helps victims find peace and community. Read her story.

Youth Leadership

Youth speaking for the Youth Leadership Program highlighted the importance of volunteering and youth involvement in strengthening themselves as well as the community.  TMWF Youth Council member, Izzah Zaheer, acknowledged that at first her involvement was to earn service points, but as she became more involved she realized how much she was learning and growing.  The experience of volunteering humbled her and helped her gain confidence in her ability to lead and serve society.  As many youth have expressed when working with TMWF, the impact of helping others only strengthens ourselves.

Pledge of Young Men Against Abuse

The intertwining of youth involvement and social service was punctuated by the presentation of fifteen year old Hamza Iqbal, who lead the “Pledge of Young Men Against Abuse”.  Speaking boldly, he acknowledged that as a young man he is not only gaining in physical strength, but also in responsibility.  He knows he must not abuse his strength, but use it to support and protect others.  Hamza denounced any abuser, “I don’t care how rich or educated, how old or strong you are. If you are an abuser, you are not my hero.”  All the men in the audience were invited to follow his recitation of the pledge against domestic violence and to affirm their steadfast maintenance of peace in the home.   Hamza Iqbal highlighted the Youth Leadership Program’s promotion of youth as our community’s future and the need for adults to support them on the their path to adulthood.

Islamic Arts Revival Series (IARS)

The education component of TMWF can never be understated.  Dr. Jarrah lauded the Islamic Arts Revival Series (IARS) in bridging between cultures through their work.  The partnership between the IARS team with the Irving Arts Center’s Marcie Inman and Todd Eric Hawkins created what Mr. Hawkins called “a table for us to sit together.”   Their exhibits, performances, and workshops have created ways to bring diverse communities together through the beauty and creativity of art, intrinsic to our shared humanity.

Interfaith Outreach

The two highly anticipated keynote speakers focused on TMWF’s Interfaith Outreach program as well as its efforts to empower women.  The first keynote address was given by journalist, Carla Power.  A secularist, Ms. Power expressed her gratitude to her friend the Muslim scholar, Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi, the subject of her book, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and Journey to the Heart of the Qur’an.  Through her year-long study, she came to understand the nuances of the faith, helping to denounce misinformation, break stereotypes, and foster mutual respect and understanding.

Ms. Power also cited multiple woman scholars in history, whom she learned of through the research work of Sheikh Nadwi.  She emphasized that these Muslim women believed strongly in seeking knowledge, as their faith encourages, and sharing it with others, teaching both men and women students.  The significance of her friend being an Eastern male (raised in India) Islamic scholar researching and saluting 10,000 women in history in 40 volumes of research cannot be discounted.  His findings magnify the gap that exists today between these Muslim women’s scholarly Islamic tradition, practicing fully in public life as equals to men, and modern day practice in many Muslim countries.  Ms. Power sees TMWF as trying to change these practices of many centuries, so that they can once again empower women and, through their empowerment, better society as a whole.  She closed by saying the command by God in the Qur’an for people to get to know one another and to do good works together are both Qur’anic and deeply American virtues.

The second keynote speaker, American Muslim scholar and leader, Imam Omar Suleiman, praised the work of TMWF and its efforts to unite people of all backgrounds to support the common good.  Imam Omar Suleiman shared a personal story to elaborate on the significance of TMWF’s focus on empowering women through respecting their humanity and equal status.  He shared that his mother had been quite ill when he was a boy.  His father had to take care of her as well as the children.  His father never complained, but, instead, said that his greatest blessing was his wife.  Imam Omar explained that it was his father’s faith that compelled him to treat his wife that way.  He made the point that “the best thing a man can teach his children is to treat his wife well.”  He added that with the coming of the message of Islam, the divine revelations helped the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) promote respect for women in public policy and in society.  Among the many things that the Prophet said in his final sermon was to keep connected to God through prayer and to treat women well.

Imam Omar noted the current disrespect for women and those who are seen as “other” in contemporary society requires that “we respond by repelling evil with that which is better” as we stand united together with love and respect for one another.  He sees faith as the driving force behind TMWF’s commitment for championing peace in the home and society at large.

Through out the Gala, the message of strength through unity and civic engagement was loud and clear.  The women and men of all ages and faiths who gathered that evening clearly stand for a vision of a bright future that they will continually commit to, together, in these United States and the world at large.  TMWF shares that same vision and is steadfast in its ongoing commitment to the well-being and empowerment of the human spirit.      

Thank you for your support in championing our cause. Thank you to our gala sponsors, silent auction donors, program advertisers and the wonderful ladies who donated the delicious treats for our guests!

If you were unable to join us at the Gala, please consider making your gift today at www.tmwf.org. We need more #PeaceChampions to stand with us to bring “Peace in the Home”.     

Martin Luther King National Day of Service

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”‘

The Youth Leadership program hosted its 9th Annual MLK Day “Feed Your Neighbor” event at the Beacon of Light Center (BOL) at Masjid Al Islam in downtown Dallas.  The event brought together approximately 60 volunteers from TMWF youth and other organizations including, the Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Relief USA, Brighter Horizons Academy, and the Flower Mound United Methodist Church.  Thank you to all our volunteers who donated the food, supplies, and clothing.

MLK National Day of Service

Coming together of people of other faiths

In keeping with Dr. King’s legacy of service and promotion of the brotherhood of humanity, volunteers were moved by their experience.  Irene Muturi, a friend of one of the TMWF families, was delighted to see youth coming in the morning on a school holiday to help others. “Hopefully I can continue helping this community regardless of the event…[This should not be] just a one day thing…[there’s an] ongoing need. Being with people of other faiths speaks to what MLK Day is all about: doing good and coming together of people of other faiths.”

TMWF youth, Anushe Sheikh, was surprised by the response of the needy who came, “I really like how polite and happy they are, despite their situation.” Yasmin Zeidan, a Brighter Horizons Academy (BHA) youth, felt that, “It was a great opportunity to see the community that we don’t usually see and a great opportunity to give back.” Her BHA school-mates, echoed her feelings, including Hana Awad, “To be honest I was going to stay home sleeping, but I’m so glad I came.  Once I saw all their smiles it was all worth it.”

Other youth, such as Adam al-Asad, were contemplative.  He wanted to tell others who might not have been able to volunteer on this day, “If you can’t feed a hundred people then just feed one.”  Also, Amal Al-Hafi, who hadn’t volunteered at the Beacon of Light before, was profoundly touched by the experience.  She reflected, “Giving back to the community is a gift to yourself.”

TMWF is grateful to the administration of BOL for opening up their facility to the youth volunteers.  Sister Khadijeh Abdullah, the coordinator of the Health and Human Services of BOL expanded on their various services.  Feeding programs from farmers’ market harvest projects and local restaurants help provide fresh produce for volunteers to cook at their facility, supplemented with frozen foods.  Breakfasts are offered every weekend via various sponsors.

The BOL houses a donation room where volunteers can put together various hygiene and food kits. Volunteers hard at work on MLK National Day of Service Food kits for the homeless are single use, including water, crackers, tea, candy, etc.  Family pantry plus kits for needy families include oil, rice, and flour.  The facility also has a reading and respite area with pencils, pens, paper, puzzle books, general books, magazines, games, and a microwave and popcorn.   Through generous donations of large screen TVs and laptops they offer movie nights and computer classes. Cell phones are also available for usage in their facility.

Sister Khadijeh welcomes anyone who wants to come and help on Saturday mornings, from 9 am to noon.  There are lockers for volunteers, a large kitchen area for food preparation and storage, and bathrooms.  Sister Khadijeh concludes, “We are trying to make it a comforting and calming place.”

More information at http://www.masjidalislam.org/.

Wishing Peace, Goodwill, and Compassion to All

Assalaamu Alaikum (Peace by upon you) Dear Friends and Supporters,

Reflecting on 2016, the year brought great highlights for TMWF, as well as difficult and sad times.  My prayers are that 2017 and the coming years bring peace, goodwill, and compassion to all.

Social Services

We continued to have our doors open to all our brothers and sisters, from all faiths and communities, from all over the country, and even from across the oceans. Victims of domestic violence (DV) with unique cultural and spiritual needs found an oasis of peace in our services and our compassionate, dedicated, and committed counselors, case managers, and attorneys. Victims moved out of the trauma and abyss of DV abuse, into a hope filled independent state, standing firm on their own two feet, working, learning, and knowing how to provide for themselves and their children.  Our qualified counselors helped children who had experienced or witnessed the trauma of abuse to transition from a constant state of fear, anxiety, anger, and destructive tendencies to a calm, cooperative and more receptive state, open to healing, growth, learning and cooperation.

Our caring staff, generous community, and partnering organizations ensured that the needy and DV victims received shelter, housing, food, clothing, backpacks, furniture, cars, financial education, scholarships for continuing education, and most importantly the confidence to recognize their own worth.

A huge salute to TMWF’s generous, compassionate partner organizations and individuals. TMWF received grants from the Dallas Women’s Foundation, Harold Simmons Foundation, Liberty Mutual, Catchafire, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, City of McKinney, City of Frisco, City of Plano, City of Richardson, Texas Department of Health and Human Services, the Criminal Justice Division of the Texas Office of the Governor, US Dept. Health and Human Services-Family and Youth Services Bureau.

We partnered with New Hope Ministries (to furnish clients’ apartments), North Texas Food Bank, Hope Supply Co., Baitulmaal, ICNA, ICNA Sisters’, local mosques, (including IACC, IAC, MIA, EPIC, IANT, ICI, and ICA, which provided toiletries, diapers, cleaning supplies, clothing, and financial aid), Bank of America and BB&T’s compassionate staff (providing financial literacy training for clients), Tabani Family Foundation (providing transitional housing), Qaiser Jahan Najmi Memorial Fund, The WAQF Group (providing rent and help where it is most needed), and Rasheed Family Foundation (providing scholarships in the health profession).

Our financials have been audited annually by an outside agency since 2009, with minimal to no recommendations, and thus indicating their stamp of approval of our financial practices. Such positive audits highlight our meticulous financial maintenance and transparency.

Along with our celebration of our cumulative successes we also experienced tremendous heart aches with the huge tragedies in the loss of three wonderful ladies in our community to domestic abuse. These tragedies increased our educational efforts to raise awareness about DV. Again, we reached out to our wonderful imams during our two annual awareness campaigns which take place during the month of Ramadan (this year in June) and during October, the National DV Awareness Month. Imams devoted many khutbahs (sermons) and provided resources for services during those campaigns as well as throughout the year. Not only did local imams participate, but Imams who had partnered with TMWF in the past, but now reside in different cities or states, also participated in this effort to educate our communities about peaceful relationships in the home and within the community at large.

Other highlights included:
• Engaged the youth in DV awareness through many speaking engagements with CCCFV, MAS, PHI Alpha Gamma, SMU MSA
• Attended or spoke at national conferences/workshops: NNEDV in Atlanta, United States of Women’s Conference in Washington, DC

Outreach and Education

Highlights in this program in 2016 included:

• Interfaith efforts in the 2nd Community at Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, First United Methodist Church in Plano, and the Faith Club
• Educational speakers at our Ladies Only Monthly Luncheons and Radio Azad
• Youth hosting their own topics on Radio Azad
• The Islamic Arts Revival Series 5th Annual Juried International Exhibition of Islamic Art at Irving Arts Center and the awesome group of artists and speakers who participated

Youth Programs

Since the beginning of the TMWF Youth Leadership Program in 2007, over 500 youth have shown great leadership and community service. The Youth Program is preparing the future generation of committed civically and socially engaged leaders, which is made evident in this testimonial from our youth alum, Hanan Hassan:

“I used to volunteer with TMWF in high school. In the beginning, it started as an organized way for me to gain community service hours for my extracurricular activity commitments, such as the National Honors Society. However, over time I began to form friendships with the other members of the youth group, saw mentorship in the TMWF leaders, and gained knowledge in a variety of areas that would be beneficial in the years to come. I learned about various societal issues (i.e. homelessness, unemployment, domestic violence, and mental health) and how they impact my neighbors, brothers and sisters in Islam, and the greater population. I learned about team building, community partnerships, and interfaith collaboration for the purpose of combating these issues. I learned about what it means to give up my time to help those in need and rewarding it can be. I learned that regardless of socioeconomic status, race, religion, gender, or situation, we are equal and anyone may just need a hand at a certain point in life.

All of these teachings benefited me tremendously as I went on to college at Southern Methodist University. Throughout my undergraduate career, I served on the board of the Muslim Students Association, founded and served as president of the Habesha Collegiate Students Network, and co-founded and served as president of Women in Business at SMU. I also regularly volunteered at the I Have a Dream Foundation in Dallas. Volunteering in high school with TMWF, gave me the leadership skills necessary to do all of these things. It also made community engagement and giving back a regular accept of my life, something that no longer felt like a commitment. In May, I graduated with a master’s degree in accounting from SMU’s Cox School of Business. Today, I am living in New York, working for a Big Four accounting firm, in M&A transactions.”

We are thankful to you for helping us get this far in our services. We are extremely proud of the work that has been done and the accomplishments that have been made; the kind of work is stellar, and the impact on people’s lives is significant. Please continue your support and donations. TMWF is a unique organization that has given a voice to Muslim women and their families in all walks of life and through all venues. Every dollar you donate will be stretched to the maximum limit and will ensure that TMWF continues to be the “oasis of peace” for our community and society.

Thank you for being a #PeaceChampion. We look forward to your support in 2017.

Sincerely,
Hind Jarrah, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Play Therapy Helps Children Work Things Out

By: Nagia E. Moharram, TMWF Communications

At TMWF social services, Jameela Tifla1 provides play therapy to children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Tifla, a Texas Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), who specializes in play therapy, explains the effectiveness of her counseling services.

Play Therapy

With children, ages 3 to 12 years, Ms. Tifla uses child-centered play therapy.  She explains, “[For children] play therapy is what talk therapy is to adults.  Play is their natural language …[and is] innate to them…. [Through play] they learn about themselves …[and] about the world…[and] make sense of the world. It’s just the most natural process for them.” During the play therapy sessions, toys become a child’s words and play becomes the child’s language.

therapy

The toys in her playroom can be found in any home, but Ms. Tifla specifically choses them for their therapeutic value.  The toys are of different categories:  aggression (a sword, hand cuffs, a dart gun, a drum), nurture (a baby doll, stuffed animals), pretend (dolls, a doll-house, kitchen, puppet theater), mastery (puzzles, blocks, cards), dress-up (clothes), expression (art, musical instruments), and so on.  The different categories allow children to express themselves in different ways.

The child begins by exploring the playroom, but eventually chooses certain toys; slowly a theme emerges in his play, which depicts what he is experiencing in his life.2  Ms. Tifla does not correct the child, nor direct his play, but she trusts that that the child will take the therapist where the child needs to go, in terms of their processing their trauma.

One key component of play therapy is the genuine relationship between the therapist and the child, where the child feels comfortable enough to trust the therapist.  The therapist is supportive, non-judgmental, fully present, and supports the child by reflecting on the child’s feelings.  For example, the child might bang on the ground the aggression toy sword.  Ms. Tifla’s reflective response might be, “Johnny, you are really angry.  You feel like hitting that on the ground.”  She reflects by providing words to the feelings exhibited in his actions.

The therapist’s reflection does two things.  First, it validates the child’s feelings; second, the therapist is giving the child the words to express those feelings in an appropriate way.  Children may not have the cognitive ability to express themselves, especially when they have experienced trauma.

Although the play in the playroom is unstructured, the therapist does impose some limits.  If a child is trying to hurt himself or the therapist, or tries to break something, Ms. Tifla uses what is called, “therapeutic limit setting.”

The acronym for those limits is, ACT, where:

  • “A” stands for “Acknowledging the feeling”;
  • “C” stands for “Communicate what the limit is”; and
  • “T” stands for “Target the alternative.”

Using the previous example, if “Johnny” were to use the sword to try to hurt Ms. Tifla, she would say, “You are so angry at me that you are wanting to hurt me, but I am not for hitting.   You can pretend that inflatable Bobo Doll (a large inflatable doll in the shape of a punching bag) is me, and you can hit that instead.”  By using the therapeutic limit setting, Ms. Tifla has, “A,” acknowledged the child’s feelings (anger, in this case); “C,” communicated the limit on his actions that it is not ok to hurt someone (“I am not for hurting”); and “T,” targeted an alternative way of for the child to express his feelings that is not harmful (letting his anger find expression in the punching of an inflatable toy).

Using ACT therapeutic limit setting highlights to the child that all feelings are ok, but all behaviors are not. Such limits help children distinguish between healthy ways of coping and expressing their anger in unhealthy ways.  Ms. Tifla emphasizes, “We don’t want to keep the child from expressing [his] feelings, …whatever the feeling is, those feelings are ok and it’s ok to express them, but it’s important for the child to learn how to express them in a safe way, in a safe place, without hurting himself, hurting someone else, or breaking something.  Here [in the playroom] he is allowed to feel, but limits are put in place…[and he is given] an alternative way to express himself.”

The entire playroom is available for that unstructured play which gives the child a sense of having control over what he wants to do and how he wants to do it, within therapeutic limits.  The child has control inside the playroom that he may not have in his life outside the playroom.  If, for example, there occurred a traumatic catastrophe, such as a flood, where the child might have lost his home, he would have had no control over that event.  The playroom offers the child a place to regain some control over his life, which is therapeutically empowering.

Eventually, what the child learns in the playroom, he applies outside the playroom.  For example, the mastery category of toys, which allow children to win a game, build something, or become competent at something, gives the child a sense of having control.  The mastery and achievement they experience gradually builds their self-esteem.  Ms. Tifla might reflect that achievement of mastery, “You made that, and you’re so proud of yourself.”  She explains, “Being able to build that self-esteem through these activities, helps transfer that same built up self-esteem outside of the playroom…. Every time I am reflecting, I am building up the child’s self-esteem.

Ms. Tifla emphasizes that play therapy is a slow process.  It takes time for a child to build enough trust in the therapist to play out a meaningful life event and allow himself to expose his feelings in the playroom.  There isn’t one pivotal point were the child has instantly healed.  Rather, the child has various contemplative experiences through his play guided by the therapist’s reflections.   Every child is different and they each go through various stages in the playroom.  Multiple play therapy sessions are needed for the child’s realizations to add up to healing and the success of the therapy.  Ms. Tifla urges parents to bring in their child on a consistent basis, because consistency is what allows for better outcomes.

Sand Tray Therapy

With clients that are older children, adolescents, or adults, Ms. Tifla uses another form of play therapy, called sand tray therapy.  Because play therapy is very much about developmentally appropriate practices, sand tray therapy is used with her older age clients who can benefit from the more structured form of therapy.   Like the playroom, the sand tray toys also have categories. In sand tray therapy, the therapist will give a prompt.  For example, Ms. Tifla might ask the client to create a scene of what he’s feeling that day, or a scene of his current life.  Once her client has created the scene, he and Ms. Tifla process it together. The client will talk about why he picked what he picked and what it means to him.  Ms. Tifla explains,  “A lot of times, when doing the sand tray, it’s like looking at yourself or your life outside of yourself. It’s almost like an out of body experience.  It makes the experience really real for them.  ‘This is my life; this is how it is; or this is how I want it to be.’”

Some clients on their own will create two sections in the sand tray: “This is how I want my life to be, and this is what my life is right now.”  Ms. Tifla might ask the client to use the sand tray to make a day in his future, to encourage goal setting.  The therapist processes the scene with the client to help him find ways to cope with the experience in the scene he has created.  For example, if the client has created a bullying scene depicting him surrounded by several other children, the therapist might ask,  “Well, what do you think you need right now to feel safe?”  He might pick out a play figure that he feels will make him feel safe, perhaps a figure that symbolizes his teacher.  And then he might say, “If the teacher were next to me, I would feel safe.” In the moment of processing, the client is coming up with a resolution, “This is what I can do,” which provides him with a sense of control, of knowing what to do next time.

Through the processing of the sand tray scenario, the client becomes empowered to express himself and has his feelings validated (he was scared); also he feels safe by finding a resolution and having a plan for next time [seek out the teacher].  Ms. Tifla explains, “Even being able to feel a feeling and express it, is half the battle.  And someone listening, not expressing, just listening and validating that feeling is so therapeutic.”

this-familys-1

She explains that children have to rely on their adult care-givers at home, siblings, classmates, teachers, or counselors to validate their feelings.  But if their life’s circumstances do not provide them with anyone other than their play therapist to listen to their fears and concerns, then their relationship with the therapist becomes very important.   The sand tray is a very powerful medium in therapy to allow the client to work things out.

Child Parent Relationship Training

With children under the age of three, Ms. Tifla uses Child Parent Relationship Training, (CPRT) which is based on a ten-session curriculum.  She explains, “CPRT is basically coaching parents in some very basic play therapy skills that I use in the playroom, to allow them to be agents of change in their children’s lives.” Parents are coached in basic play therapy skills and helped to choose specific, simple, affordable toys (that can be bought at the dollar store) to create their own toy box at home.

Parents are asked to have a 30-minute play session once a week with their child, during which they are required to be fully present with their child.  Being fully present means that any distractions are put away.  Cell phones must be put away; TV’s must be turned off; and any other children must be looked after by the other parent or another care-giver.  The play session must be a specific designated time for one parent to be alone with the child in play therapy for 30 minutes.

Parents are coached in basic reflection skills.  Ms. Tifla tells parents to allow children to play without intervention or correction, while keeping the ACT therapeutic limits in place.  Parents find it difficult initially, but they slowly get used to letting the child be.  Ms. Tifla suggests, “Play dumb.  If your child says, ‘Can you open this for me?’ or ‘Can you do this for me?’ Reflect, ‘Oh you’d like for me to help you.’  If it truly is a hard thing to do, say, ‘Let’s figure this out together.’” She continues, “And if it’s hard to open, twist it open a tiny bit, and ‘hmm why don’t you try this again.’ And then the child might open it by themselves, and then the child might say, ‘I did it!’” She explains to parents that by allowing the child to figure things out, the parent is helping their child with mastery, which strengthens the child’s self-esteem.

The two things CPRT hopes to achieve is strengthening the parent child bond and helping the parent understand the child in a different and better light.  The therapeutic limit setting, ACT, helps the process along.  Eventually, the 30-minute play session and the ACT limits transition into their daily lives as common behavior.  Positive changes slowly emerge.  CPRT works when the parent is stable enough to be the child’s anchor and agent of change.  If parents aren’t stable, and do not feel that they can be fully present, Ms. Tifla encourages them to take care of themselves first, acknowledging the importance of parents to take care of their own needs.  However, Ms. Tifla continues to work with the child and allows the parents to participate in whatever capacity they can offer.  “I work with them where they are.”

1 Name changed for privacy

2 The male pronoun “he/his” is used generically only for clarity in the text to distinguish between the therapist, who is female, and her client.  Ms. Tifla helps both male and female clients.

Well Wishes and Prayers

We would like to extend heartfelt well wishes and prayers for our brothers and sisters celebrating their major holy seasons during December. We hope that you will experience happiness, health and good friendship within your communities and within this whole nation. We pray that the alienation, negativity, resentment and fear of the “other” will be replaced with the spirit that ALL faiths emphasize – the spirit of compassion, hospitality and good will to one and to all.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all our friends and supporters for enabling us to continue being the “voice for the voiceless” – please see the feature on TMWF “Out of the Shadows” Plano Profile December 2016 (page 42-45), and the article featuring IARS in the Arts Link Magazine (pages 20-21), and the youth leadership empowerment organization (since 2007, our youth program has empowered approximately 500 young Muslim boys and girls in high school and college. The program has enabled them to serve their community in senior homes, hospitals, soup kitchens, in homeless services, and these young men and women have continued their undergraduate and graduate education in business, law, health professions, premed, and they are continuing to give back to society.

plano-profile

We continue to build friendships in our interfaith and outreach program, (please see the Shoulder To Shoulder program at Frisco Mosque) on November 2, 2016. We are really the symbol for what was stated recently “The Muslim community has the lowest crime rate, the highest entrepreneurship, the highest educational attainment for women in the country. They are the model American community.” Van Jones on CNN via Zainab Chaudry.

omar-suleiman

And yet, this year has also brought major heartaches with the senseless murders of three members of our community. We are doing everything in our power to educate about Domestic Abuse, and have provided workshops for the community, the youth and mainstream audiences. We continue to provide shelter for women and children who are suffering, and yet each month we turn away at least 40 women requesting shelter because we do not have any vacancy for them in our Peaceful Oasis Shelter – that is almost 377 victims to date this year!

Brothers and Sisters, we need your financial support to meet all the needs for shelter. We have used your tax and fitra money in the amount of $50,000 to pay for rent, utilities, medications, and registration fees. 

Please make your end of year tax-deductible donation to TMWF and save lives.

Thank you for being a #PeaceChampion.

Best wishes,
Hind Jarrah, Ph.D.

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Signs of Hope

The months leading up to and after the U.S. Presidential Elections have left me with mixed emotions. I have been stunned and confused by the divisive speech and hate crimes being perpetuated and even endorsed by many in power, not only in my beloved U.S., but also world-wide. The cry of the not so distant past, “Never again!” fades with every seething fear monger’s pen and every hate filled fist pounding a pulpit for more death and destruction of the “other.” The louder voice calls, “You are either with us, or you’re against us!”

I cry, “Where is my beloved America headed? How is it that this land is more your land, than it is mine?” I’ve grown up here and interacted with so many different ethnicities, and that’s the very thing that has made me love my country: it’s tenacious hold on the belief that, “We are all created equal.” That’s why I am proud to be an American. I have been aware of the power-hungry in other parts of the world, where the 1% rule without regard for the suffering masses. But that’s not how it’s supposed to be here! The U.S. should be leading the way as the model for the rest of the planet. We should be seeing the humanity in each and every person, and in that we are stronger working together, for everyone’s well being, not just a randomly selected few.

While, I have been disheartened by what I have seen around me. I have also seen signs of hope. Americans who may not have been talking before to each other, are trying to have conversations, even if they begin as stilted ones. Americans who have been active for years trying to promote inclusivity, are ramping up their efforts with an infusion of new colleagues who may have been previously only inactive well-wishers. Americans are reaching out to ask their fellow Americans, “Hey, are you ok?”, and the answer is “Yes, thanks for asking, how about you?”

After the elections, I was concerned about attending my local mosque having learned of the rise of Islamophobia leading an increase in threats and hate crimes against law abiding, peaceful American Muslims. But I was very pleasantly surprised as I drove up to the first Friday prayers after the election. I found a small crowd of different ages of well-wishers of other faiths holding up signs of friendship to greet all the Muslim congregants as they drove into the parking lot of their mosque for the regular Friday sermon. Some of the signs read, “You are not alone,” “We stand with you, together,” “I love our Muslim friends,” and “Y’all means ALL!”

I love our Muslim Friends

We love our neighbors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I waved at these dear strangers and mouthed, “Thank you!”, as I dropped my husband off at the mosque parking lot. I decided not to attend the sermon, so that I could show these kind folks how much my community and I appreciated them. I drove quickly to get them some flowers from a nearby grocery store. When I came back to hand them each a rose, I only caught a few of the sign holders as they were just dissipating. I managed to find out that they were actually strangers to each other as well, not affiliated with any organization. They happened to have shared similar ideas and connected on the Internet. Just strangers getting together to tell other strangers, “You’re welcome here.”

Meanwhile, my husband told me that inside the mosque the imam acknowledged these sign holders and their random act of kindness. He said their presence were signs of hope sent from God. May God continue to bless America.


You are not alone
We stand with you together

 

 

 

 

 

 

– By Nagia E. Moharram

One More Domestic Violence Tragedy

From Hind Jarrah, Ph.D., Executive Director: 

“One more domestic violence tragedy”

One more tragedy of domestic violence (DV) occurred on October 23, 2016, in Richardson, Texas.  The victim, Hanan Seid was a young mother of two children, a 3 year old and an 18 month old.  She was gunned down by her estranged husband, after having moved out for her and her children’s safety.

I would like to express my utmost appreciation to our Imams who made sure to dedicate their Friday Khutbahs (sermons) to domestic violence during Domestic Violence Awareness month in October. Imam Nadim Bashir of EPIC, Imam Zia-ul Haque of Irving, Imam Yaser Birjas and Omar Suleiman of Valley Ranch, Imam of Islamic Association of Collin County, including Imam Yaseen Shaikh in Maryland, all raised their voices and condemned domestic abuse, and yet the murders continue.

As part of our awareness campaign, we interviewed Mufti Mohamed Umer Esmail from the Nueces Mosque in Austin, Texas. He highlighted their efforts in educating and supporting the Austin community, regarding the importance of peaceful relationships within a family and among men and women as well as the need to emphasize the equality of men and women as stated in the Holy Quran. Read more.

This year alone TMWF has served …

So what should be done? 

Within the Mosques: 

  • The imams and the social services/CAPs committees in the mosques need to be trained on the signs of domestic violence (DV) and what are the resources available.
  • The imams need to schedule Khutbahs (sermons) about family relations often – I recommend at least quarterly – not just during Ramadan Khutbahs.
  • Khutbahs tailored to the parents on how to bring up their children, and to the youth themselves, on how to interact with each other and with the opposite gender.
  • The mosques and the shura’s should allow TMWF to go to the men and ladies Halaqas (religious study group) and devote full sessions to DV, currently, and most of the time in very few masjids we are allowed only 5 minutes and this is not enough.
  • The masjids need to come together and establish funding for caseworkers and councilors that are available to answer questions and provide counseling for needy community members who otherwise cannot pay for counseling services.

In the Communities At Large

  • Organize luncheons, dinners, get-togethers to present on DV and abuse tailored to different age groups and genders. Address directly contemporary issues affecting families and children, including, social media and pornography.
  • Provide resources within public gathering places such as malls, restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas amusement parks about DV.
  • Join together with other communities working actively to address DV.
  • Everyone, especially men, should speak up against any form of disrespect of the other gender or other human beings, and should show their anger against jokes or “making fun” of other human beings. Words do matter. Bullying of any kind should never be tolerated.
  • Men should form groups that publicly stand against the abuse, such as the HEROS Initiative, where men go to DV shelters, cook for the clients, play with the children and even accompany victims to court, to publicly make victims aware that not all men are abusers!
  • Create initiatives on college campuses such as The Dignity Initiative” at Collin College, which aims “to empower community members with specific action steps to end the gender-based oppression

We at TMWF are doing our best to address this issue, through a very thorough and focused comprehensive approach: both by serving the victims, and also by actively raising awareness.  But we cannot do this alone.  Saving lives and strengthening families requires the efforts of the entire community.  Please join us, learn to recognize the red flags, know the resources available, be generous in your donations of funds, time, and expertise.  Let’s work together to become a community of agents of change and of peace champions. Below are some of the resources available for educators and survivors:

Lastly, I would like to request everyone to exercise their right and sacred duty to elect the next President of this great country.  Please click here to find your polling locations, and encourage all your friends to vote, too.

Thank you for being a #PeaceChampion.

Best wishes,
Hind Jarrah, Ph.D.

Refugees Assisted by Faith and Humanitarian Communities

Sadly, Governor Abbot has decided to withdraw Texas from the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program.

We at TMWF join refugee resettlement agencies and faith communities in objecting to Governor Abbott’s Decision.
Our agency and many others support re-settlement of Syrian refugees. It is to our advantage to welcome refugees. They are not a burden nor are they taking away jobs. On the contrary, they make significant contributions for the betterment of our society.

We believe that The United States of America is a nation of immigrants and refugees who came to this country seeking a better life. It’s interesting when reviewing the names of prominent refugees worldwide and nationwide to see a long list including co-founder and former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, and founder of Kinko’s, Paul Orfalea.  Simply Googling names of important refugees and immigrants reveals names like Albert Einstein, Steve Forbes, Yo-Yo Ma, and Khalil Gibran among others.

Bill Holston, Executive Director of Human Rights Initiative in response to this decision by the governor sent this appeal to his church:

“On September 21, Governor Abbott declared his intention for our state to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program. Refugees are people who have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. Texas has led the nation in resettling those who have fled war torture and abuse.

This decision to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program is wrong for many reasons.

First, it violates scripture. Among other places, Scripture records in Deuteronomy: 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

Second, it violates Methodist teaching. Our Bishops have said in response:
As Christians and as Texans our values are grounded in respect and hospitality toward newcomers. Those values lead us to welcome refugees to our state. We recognize that these are difficult and complex times but as Christians, we rely on Jesus Christ to overcome our fear of those who may be different.

So, please let the Governor know you disapprove of his decision as well as the hateful language that has been used in connection with demonizing those whose only action is fleeing war and chaos to seek refuge.”

The Resettlement and faith agencies have put out action items.

Urgent Take Action Alert

  • Tell Governor Abbott: Texans welcome refugees

Please call the Governor’s office: 512-463-1782 and use the sample script below:

“Texas has a proud history of helping refugees. We cannot turn our backs on families who are seeking refuge and a chance to rebuild their lives in peace. That is not who we are as Texans. I am extremely disappointed by the Governor’s decision and I will continue to support refugee resettlement in Texas.

Texas has the largest resettlement program in the country and has been successfully welcoming refugees for over 40 years. Despite the Governor’s decision, Texans will continue to welcome and serve refugees. Local charitable organizations will step up and take on the role of coordinating resettlement services.

The Governor’s decision goes against the overwhelmingly welcoming spirit from faith and community partners across Texas and around the country. Every day we see Texans practicing their commitment to courage and hospitality by welcoming refugee families.

The United States has the most stringent security screening process in the world. Refugees who come to our state want nothing more than to work hard, send their children to school, and build new lives in safety. We cannot allow our state to abandon families who have already gone through so much. That’s not who we are as Texans.

We are extremely disappointed by the Governor’s decision and we are determined to continue supporting the refugee resettlement program in Texas.”

  • Send a written comment: https://gov.texas.gov/contact/
    “Texas has a proud history of helping refugees. We cannot turn our back on families who are seeking refuge and a chance to rebuild their lives in peace. That is not who we are as Texans. I am extremely disappointed by the Governor’s decision and I will continue to support refugee resettlement in Texas.”
  • Take action on Social Media:
    @GregAbbott_TX Texans value courage and hospitality. We will continue to support refugee resettlement #TexasWelcomesRefugees
  • Sign the Pledge to Welcome Refugees in Texas: Tell Texas lawmakers you support refugees by signing here.

This is a critical time to show your support for refugees. Every action counts. Make your voice heard today!

Your voice can also make a difference in the upcoming national elections. Please take advantage of this great right and go out and vote. I strongly encourage you to educate yourself on the issues and the platform of every candidate before you cast your vote.

New Refugee Arrivals Mentoring Program

On Sept. 17, 2016, at the multi-purpose hall of the Islamic Association of North Texas (IANT), TMWF in partnership with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) hosted an orientation workshop for newly arrived Syrian refugee families to familiarize them with their new home in the USA. The workshop was extremely well attended, with close to 80 attendees.

The host agencies aim was to make the new arriving families aware of important facts pertaining to their children, including parent children interactions, safety, Internet security, law requirements for driving, school attendance, etc.
The host agencies aim was to form long time relations with these families, setting up mentoring programs for them with current resident families who can “adopt” them and help them transition smoothly into the new culture and the new country.

If you are interested in volunteering for this program, please send in your contact information to tmwf@tmwf.org.

Sugar Comes from Arabic

On a related note, Barbara Whitesides, author of the Arabic alphabet book, Sugar Comes from Arabic, read about TMWF’s workshop and graciously donated 5 copies of her book, to mentor families trying to communicate with their Syrian families.

What a kind and helpful gesture! Thank you, Ms. Whitesides! Both non-Arabic and Arabic speakers can learn simple basics about both English and Arabic, so they can begin their language studies to better communicate with one another.

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