How An Ottawa-Based Quran Teacher Emotionally Abused Me

I am new to Ottawa so I do not know many people here. I am also trying to move out of my relative’s place to avoid arguments that sometimes happen. Of course! I am not physically harmed ever; but, it’s not healthy for a sensitive person like me to stick around when verbal arguments take place.

So to settle in properly, I did some research. I found out that Barrhaven’s SNMC masjid had a female Quran teacher who teaches Quran to women in a group setting. I wanted to connect with her so that I may find a way out for myself and introduce the Buddy Program to the Muslim women of this city. She lives near where I live so I walked to her house and left a message for her. I have met her in person a couple of times before this incidence. When we finally connected, I frankly told her the situation at my end and my need to leave my place. At this, she replied, “Your family is very important for you. If you need help, go to a community centre.” I found her statement bizzare because I realized that she started preaching me right away; and, did not say helpful things like “I will help find the right contacts for this because I have access to lots of women”. I was very shocked when I experienced this; so for some days, I chose not to talk about it. Soon, when I got over this, I started typing this post.

My situation is not urgent; but, it requires planning. I was very dismayed that she never bothered to sit and talk to me. She just said this to me while we were still standing at the door. I feel there is something really wrong about the way she behaved. She is asking me to depend on my family after she met me at her door. Did it not occur to her that something was wrong?

The community centres and shelters are not helping abused women properly out due to lack of funds. They are actually sending abused women back to their abusers. Read “Shelters in Canada are turning away women due to lack of resources, funding: studies”. And when you ask help from community leaders, you can be misunderstood or neglected.

What exactly is she teaching to women while she is teaching the Quran? She is sitting in leadership position; but, look at how she reacted when I asked for help. In my mind, a teacher (leader) has to be a very resourceful. I am noticing that some Muslim leaders are mindlessly sharing this notion but not following it. Why is she sitting in leadership among women if she cannot handle their situations and needs? What if another woman approached her? Is she going to tell her that her family is very important and thus suggest that she should stick around?And, it’s not just her who would rather preach than to take action. I have written about this before in the post “Be Aware Of Some Imams Or Muslim Men who Are Trying To Handle #MeToo Discussions”. Preaching or shaming women to do religious things or to tell the truth is a group thing among some Muslims. Yet other Muslims will stand against this mentality because they can think along the lines, “I can trust her” or “she deserves more attention because our Prophet has taught us that women are important than men”.

To conclude matters properly, I had to block her from my life. I am not going to enter her circle or talk to her students. What if they are subdued? Should I be handling them when I need solutions fast for issues about neglect of women. I cannot simply go and state to them, “Help me get in the right position fast because I am playing buddy for another abused woman who also needs help and I am running “Forgotten Femmes”. I cannot state this to her and her students because I am considering the entire circle a potentially unsafe environment.

Reality is that after meeting this Muslim woman and the Muslim man mentioned in the blog post “Be Aware Of Some Imams Or Muslim Me. who Are Trying To Handle #MeToo Discussions”, I have felt dismayed enough to think about this article, “Federal report finds 476 people died of domestic violence in Canada between 2010 and 2015”. I feel it’s the Muslim leaders like these who are responsible for how the Muslims around the world have been scapegoated as corrupt people who seek to oppress women.

Lastly, I must comment that I accidently met a Hindu neighbour who made sure to invite me to her house and treat me. She soon learned that I was new here and struggling to adjust. She was waaaayyyy more hospitable than this Quran teacher. Her house is always open for me; and, I have regained some stability due to her efforts. Some Muslims need to realize that God is really looking at your character and conduct and not counting how many people you are mindlessly preaching.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

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