Its 2 AM in the morning, Br. Moviz receives a phone call. A police officer meets Br. Moviz at ICNA Relief's office in New York City. The police officer brings a sister along with her who has been turned out after a domestic dispute. The police officer didn't want the sister to end up in a city shelter since she feared it would be too rough for her. After searching for housing arrangements for the woman, the police officer was lead to ICNA Relief through a local Islamic Center referral.
This is a typical day (or evening) for Mr. Moviz Siddiqi, Site Director of ICNA Relief's Temporary Housing Unit for Women in New York City. In the month of June alone, he received over two dozen calls from women in need of temporary housing. This is a clear indicator that more and more Muslim women are finding themselves in uneasy situations where they do not have a place to live.
ICNA Relief is routinely contacted by hospitals, mosques, police departments, Imams and the community to assist women who are need of temporary housing. The typical image of the homeless is that of one who is desperate, suffering from a severe mental health issue, shopping cart in tow with an untidy appearances. However, ICNA Relief's housing facilities dispel this image as many well educated and professional women reside, at our shelter, including doctors and engineers.
The circumstances leading women to ICNA Relief are varied; newly converted sisters whose families have disowned them, domestic disputes between spouses whereby women have been turned out after being divorced, students new to NYC and do not have an immediate support system come to us as they have run out of options. The reasons may be varied but the need is still the same, seeking a safe place to live and while working towards self-sufficiency.
Regular shelters pose many problems for Muslim women; they find it hard to pray, non-existent halal food and the generally hostile and unsafe conditions. The ICNA Relief shelter is a safe haven for Muslim women where the environment is culturally sensitive and the staff helps in the rehabilitation of women so that they may become contributing members of society. ICNA Relief supports women at all stages to meet their career and educational goals as well as a focus on their emotional and psychological well-being.
Given the amount of calls for assistance, there is a dire need for expansion. Currently, due to the lack of space and funding, ICNA Relief is only able to cater to a limited number of women. Unfortunately many women in need cannot be accommodated, forcing Muslim women to be out on the streets in absence of adequate support. Many of the women suffer psychologically and become depressed which often leads to their exploitation.
In this respect, your help is requested in the form of donations which shall go towards expansion of ICNA Relief's Shelter Network. Helping our Muslim sisters is indeed a noble cause, especially when they are in a situation where they are far away from their families who are unable to help and protect them. Your help can go a long way towards changing someone's life for the better.