When I look at my children, I see the typical childhood, worry free. Unfortunatley that is not the case for millions of children worldwide. Many children spend their days and nights worrying about where their next meal will come from, where they will sleep, wondering if they will be abused today. My heart breaks for these children. .
In third world countries, the United States is often viewed as some kind of Utopia. Americans are often viewed as rich and powerful, with perfectly safe homes, and happy spoiled kids. This isn’t always the case. In fact, many Americans do not live so well, many Americans don’t evn have homes, and many kids are like the children I just mentioned above: helpless, victimized, and weary.The truth is abuse knows no race, religion, country, or status. It happens everywhere.
During 2005, Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies investigated an estimated 3.6 million cases of child maltreatment. Of those investigations, approximatley one quarter were determined to have been abused or neglected. That is about 899,000 in the US, DC and Puerto Rico.[http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm05/chaptersix.htm#prevent].
Reading the reports and statistics can make one feel absolutely powerless. However, we can make a difference. Muslims should notify the Imams of their communites promptly and set about steps to correct the situation. In additon see these links:
Educate yourself on the signs of child abuse: http://www.preventchildabusewi.org/signs2A.htm
If you suspect a child is being abused notify your local CPS agency or if in the US call the national hotline: 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453)
To learn more about prevention and the child help organization: http://www.childhelp.org/get_help
Foster Care: A Fact Sheet for Prospective Muslim Families
As Muslims, we should try to make an effort to get our community to form support groups, build shelters, and become a refuge for the abused children in our communities. The Muslim children who are abused need to be in Muslim shelters and houses. Many muslims do not hesitate to donate to their favorite political campaign or send money overseas. However, we need help right here in our own communites. We have alot that needs to be done right under our noses. We need to stop making excuses. It’s time to step up and make a positive change!!!
“We get calls for Muslim foster families, for Muslim children…and we cannot place them. When everyone says no, that means they are placed wherever the state can place them. That will be within a culture and religion that is foreign to them. Every day they are within a non-Muslim home diminishes their religious identity.” (Molly Dagett, MSW Lutheran Social services. taken from: Foster Care: A fact sheet for prospective muslim families).
The Prophet (saw) said: Whoever sponsors an orphan will be like this with me in paradise and the put his middle and index fingers together. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful; Those who are miserly and enjoin miserliness on other men and hide what Allah has bestowed upon them of His Bounties…. (Qur’an 4:36-37)