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Behind Close Doors - Preface

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One of the major challenges facing communities is that of domestic abuse and violence. While governments and various agencies have instituted laudable programmes to combat violence against women and children – for example, the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign – one needs a sustained approach to combat the scourge of domestic abuse and violence.

As an editor, I often grappled with this question as well: is our newspaper providing a forum that will address the issue on an on-going basis? Does Muslim Views give coverage that will tackle the problem as part of a process rather than an event?

So, when I received a letter for publication in Muslim Views in October 2008 from author and community activist, Jasmine Khan, it triggered off a sustained campaign which went to the core of the challenge of combating violence against women and children.


Jasmine Khan’s letter was the answer to the question I had been grappling with for a long while. The letter, while focussing on a particular case of abuse of a wife, encapsulated what thousands of women face daily. When Jasmine Khan telephoned me to

thank me for publishing the letter, I invited her to write a column for Muslim Views based on her experience as a  writer and her work in the community.


The title of the column, ‘Stop the Cycle’, was a phrase that Jasmine Khan had used in her letter. I felt it captured what was required of each one of us. While awareness campaigns over a limited period of a few weeks had a role to play, the column put forward a challenge: get to the root causes, address systemic issues, and stop the violence.

Few columns in Muslim Views received the response that ‘Stop the Cycle’ elicited. Those affected by domestic abuse and violence contacted the newspaper and the writer directly and shared their stories. And it was these stories that gave life to this column.

After reaching an agreement with Jasmine Khan to write a series of articles over a few months, the readers’ response gave us a clear message: the column is giving voice to women and children who want their stories to be told. And so, the column continued, eventually running for three years!

This publication is, therefore, in a sense a continuation of that first discussion with Jasmine Khan when she called me to thank Muslim Views for publishing her letter. This collection of articles written over a period of three years will sustain the campaign to ‘Stop the Cycle’. For that we owe a word of gratitude to Jasmine Khan and all those who made this publication possible.

Farid Sayed

Editor, Muslim Views

Cape Town, 20TH March, 2012

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