Peaceful Families: American Muslim Efforts against Domestic Violence

Princeton University Press
Free sample

An in-depth look at how Muslim American organizations address domestic violence within their communities

In Peaceful Families, Juliane Hammer chronicles and examines the efforts, stories, arguments, and strategies of individuals and organizations doing Muslim anti–domestic violence work in the United States. Looking at connections among ethical practices, gender norms, and religious interpretation, Hammer demonstrates how Muslim advocates mobilize a rich religious tradition in community efforts against domestic violence, and identify religion and culture as resources or roadblocks to prevent harm and to restore family peace.

Drawing on her interviews with Muslim advocates, service providers, and religious leaders, Hammer paints a vivid picture of the challenges such advocacy work encounters. The insecurities of American Muslim communities facing intolerance and Islamophobia lead to additional challenges in acknowledging and confronting problems of spousal abuse, and Hammer reveals how Muslim anti–domestic violence workers combine the methods of the mainstream secular anti–domestic violence movement with Muslim perspectives and interpretations. Identifying a range of Muslim anti–domestic violence approaches, Hammer argues that at certain times and in certain situations it may be imperative to combat domestic abuse by endorsing notions of “protective patriarchy”—even though service providers may hold feminist views critical of patriarchal assumptions. Hammer links Muslim advocacy efforts to the larger domestic violence crisis in the United States, and shows how, through extensive family and community networks, advocates participate in and further debates about family, gender, and marriage in global Muslim communities.

Highlighting the place of Islam as an American religion, Peaceful Families delves into the efforts made by Muslim Americans against domestic violence and the ways this refashions the society at large.

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About the author

Juliane Hammer is associate professor and the Kenan Rifai Scholar of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism and Palestinians Born in Exile.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Sep 3, 2019
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9780691194387
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Language
English
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Genres
Family & Relationships / Abuse / Domestic Partner Abuse
Religion / Islam / General
Social Science / Islamic Studies
Social Science / Sociology / Marriage & Family
Social Science / Sociology of Religion
Social Science / Violence in Society
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY: Esquire, Amazon, Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly

“A seminal and breathtaking account of why home is the most dangerous place to be a woman . . . A tour de force.” -Eve Ensler

"Terrifying, courageous reportage from our internal war zone." -Andrew Solomon

"Extraordinary." -New York Times ,“Editors' Choice”

“Gut-wrenching, required reading.” -Esquire

"Compulsively readable . . . It will save lives." -Washington Post

An award-winning journalist's intimate investigation of the true scope of domestic violence, revealing how the roots of America's most pressing social crises are buried in abuse that happens behind closed doors.

We call it domestic violence. We call it private violence. Sometimes we call it intimate terrorism. But whatever we call it, we generally do not believe it has anything at all to do with us, despite the World Health Organization deeming it a “global epidemic.” In America, domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime, and yet it remains locked in silence, even as its tendrils reach unseen into so many of our most pressing national issues, from our economy to our education system, from mass shootings to mass incarceration to #MeToo. We still have not taken the true measure of this problem.

In No Visible Bruises, journalist Rachel Louise Snyder gives context for what we don't know we're seeing. She frames this urgent and immersive account of the scale of domestic violence in our country around key stories that explode the common myths-that if things were bad enough, victims would just leave; that a violent person cannot become nonviolent; that shelter is an adequate response; and most insidiously that violence inside the home is a private matter, sealed from the public sphere and disconnected from other forms of violence. Through the stories of victims, perpetrators, law enforcement, and reform movements from across the country, Snyder explores the real roots of private violence, its far-reaching consequences for society, and what it will take to truly address it.
Intimate partner violence is a complex, ugly, fear-inducing reality for large numbers of women around the world. When violence exists in a relationship, safety is compromised, shame abounds, and peace evaporates. Violence is learned behavior and it flourishes most when it is ignored, minimized, or misunderstood. When it strikes the homes of deeply religious women, they are: more vulnerable; more likely to believe that their abusive partners can, and will, change; less likely to leave a violent home, temporarily or forever; often reluctant to seek outside sources of assistance; and frequently disappointed by the response of the religious leader to their call for help. These women often believe they are called by God to endure the suffering, to forgive (and to keep on forgiving) their abuser, and to fulfill their marital vows until death do us part. Concurrently, many batterers employ explicitly religious language to justify the violence towards their partners, and sometime they manipulate spiritual leaders who try to offer them help. Religion and Intimate Partner Violence seeks to navigate the relatively unchartered waters of intimate partner violence in families of deep faith. The program of research on which it is based spans over twenty-five years, and includes a wide variety of specific studies involving religious leaders, congregations, battered women, men in batterer intervention programs, and the army of workers who assist families impacted by abuse, including criminal justice workers, therapeutic staff, advocacy workers, and religious leaders. The authors provide a rich and colorful portrayal of the intersection of intimate partner violence and religious beliefs and practices that inform and interweave throughout daily life. Such a focus on lived religion enables readers to isolate, examine, and evaluate ways in which religion both augments and thwarts the journey towards justice, accountability, healing and wholeness for women and men caught in the web of intimate partner violence.
Following the events of September 11, 2001, American Muslims found themselves under unprecedented scrutiny. Muslim communities in the United States suffered from negative representations of their religion, but they also experienced increased interest in aspects of their faith and cultures. They seized the opportunity to shape the intellectual contribution of American Muslims to contemporary Muslim thought as never before. Muslim women in particular—often assumed to be silenced, oppressed members of their own communities—challenged stereotypes through their writing, seeking to express what it means to be a Muslim woman in America and carrying out intra-Muslim debates about gender roles and women’s participation in society. Hammer looks at the work of significant female American Muslim writers, scholars, and activists, using their writings as a lens for a larger discussion of Muslim intellectual production in America and beyond.

Centered on the controversial women-led Friday prayer in March 2005, Hammer uses this event and its aftermath to address themes of faith, community, and public opinion. Tracing the writings of American Muslim women since 1990, the author covers an extensive list of authors, including Amina Wadud, Leila Ahmed, Asma Barlas, Riffat Hassan, Mohja Kahf, Azizah al-Hibri, Asra Normani, and Asma Gull Hasan. Hammer deftly examines each author’s writings, demonstrating that the debates that concern American Muslim women are at the heart of modern Muslim debates worldwide. While gender is the catalyst for Hammer’s study, her examination of these women’s intellectual output touches on themes central to contemporary Islam: authority, tradition, Islamic law, justice, and authenticity.

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