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Muslim Army vet offers other women shelter in a storm

Sakinah-Ali-MujahidBy Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio

MINNEAPOLIS -- As her marriage unraveled, Taalibah Qatadah As-Siddiq fell into homelessness and lost her job.

Her security shattered, the mother of eight searched for some safe place for her and her children. She found it at Sisters Need A Place, a small shelter focused on Muslim women. With the stability of a home, she began to rebuild her life.

"Situations can change," said As-Siddiq, who works part-time now at the shelter and calls herself den mother to the residents. People often become homeless because of events beyond their control, she added. "I'd like to see people lose the judgment that they hold on people, that it's not always people who don't care or don't try."

Sisters Need A Place began informally 15 years ago as Muslim women gathered in homes around the Twin Cities to talk about life over tea and coffee. In 2004, organizers opened a permanent location for the service. Sakinah Ali Mujahid, the shelter's executive director, was honored recently by the Minnesota Humanities Commission along with 25 other Minnesotan veterans for their military and community achievements.

Mujahid's need to help women was shaped by her own experiences. "I was abandoned with my four children," she said.

"When I was getting divorced -- still a very hard subject -- I couldn't process through it," she said. "So I actually had to sit for awhile and figure out what my priority was and that was...take care of my children."

After getting back on her feet Mujahid says she vowed to help women who had similar experiences. She decided then: "I'm not gonna let this happen to anyone else." (Read more or listen to the story)

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