(OTTAWA, CANADA – Sept 27, 2007) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) and Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) today said there should be no stigma attached to rape or sexual assault victims. Both Muslim groups also urged women to report every incident of sexual violence.
CAIR-CAN and ISSA are seeking to clarify the Islamic position on attitudes toward victims of sexual violence following a recent report that a Muslim university student who was sexually assaulted is concerned about a possible negative response from the community.
In a joint statement the two organizations said:
“Victims of any crime, and particularly the crime of sexual assault, must have the support of both the justice system and of the communities in which they live. Faith is a source of comfort, not a source of shame for the victims.
“There is no stigma associated with rape or sexual assault victims in Islam. The Quran clearly states that no person should be punished for the wrongdoing of another. If anything, a stigma should be linked to the perpetrator. Islam puts a positive duty on each and every individual in the community to fully support victims.
“Only a distorted cultural view would motivate someone to reject a victim of sexual assault. This callous attitude has absolutely no place in Islam."
Women’s rights, often misunderstood, have been central to the teachings of authentic Islam for 14 centuries. Quranic verses (6:164), (17:15), and (53:38) state that no one should be punished for the crimes of another.
CAIR-CAN and ISSA are urging victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse to call ISSA at 1-866-239-ISSA. A booklet on how to help victims of sexual abuse is available by calling ISSA. (http://www.issaservices.com/)
CONTACT: Shahina Siddiqui, ISSA President, (204) 944-1560; or, Sameer Zuberi, CAIR-CAN Communications Coordinator, (613) 254-9704 or (613) 795-2012