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Wafa House, Inc established its office and toll free Hotline in September 2004. Wafa House provides services to victims of Domestic Violence as well as education to the community at large.
Wafa House is a domestic violence organization started by Dorria Fahmy and Nawal Kahf. They realized the serious need for such an establishment among the Muslim community.
The victims they came across were of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent who did not feel comfortable going to a shelter where their needs may or may not be met.
The most difficult issues at hand were the language barriers and insensitivity to their religious needs. Most of the victims were not able to articulate or express themselves in English. These victims were looking for shelters where they would be able to practice their daily religious routines, such as praying five times a day, etc. This requires a person to wash up or take a mini shower prior to praying. Also, the Muslim victim requires special dietary needs of Halal meats, slaughtered in a particular way.
While working full time at a local hospital, Dorria realized that these victims felt reluctant to leave their abusers in fear of being re-victimized by going to a place where they would not be able to acclimate to the environment comprised of staff that may not be sensitive to their needs. Despite the options Sr. Dorria offered the victims, the majority would end up dropping the charges against their abusers due to lack of support. At this point, the unique idea of creating a program that caters to the needs of the Middle Eastern and South Asian victim came into light
Dorria Fahmy was a volunteer for the Passaic County Women's Center in Paterson and a Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) member for her local police precinct. She joined forces with Sr. Nawal Kahf, a domestic violence counselor, and began to lobby and advocate for the needs of the abused women in the Muslim community. Along with the support of the Islamic community and Sheikh Mohammad Qatanani of the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC), these two sisters initiated the groundbreaking steps towards opening the doors of Wafa House in December 2004.
- Nancy Shihadeh
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