Mission of Hope conducted a free community forum discussing concerning issues that the Australian Muslim community are facing including drugs, alcohol and sexual health. The purpose of the event was to bring to light the taboo, unspoken issues that need to be addressed. The forum featured a number of Muslim professionals who directly deal with the impact of the real issues and were able to provide key information and updates on the current situation the community is facing. 

The forum was strategically divided into two types of sessions, the first a parenting workshop, looking at how parents can discuss issues with their children, and the second was health professionals working with the youth. Both sessions were a success into looking at a holistic approach to tackle these issues.

The topics that were discussed covered a wide area of issues from internet safety to issues unique to non-heterosexual Muslims. Informative presentations were conducted and attendees were encouraged to work together to provide solutions on how better to deal with these issues. Siobhan Irving, PhD Researcher on Sexual Health in the Muslim Community, gave her presentation via Skype speaking on non-heterosexual Muslims issues such as stereotyping, ideological baggage, isolation and judgment. “The reality is that while there are many who have found ways to reconcile their sexuality with their faith, are happy as they are, and believe they are committing no sin, there are also others who struggle with guilt and wish that they had been born heterosexual.”

The community forum covered the reality of drugs, alcohol and prostitution in the Muslim community, Internet Safety for Children, Communicating with Children, Evidence of Excessive Appetites, How to foster healthy conversations and communication with your children, Sex education and community awareness of STIs, Drugs and Alcohol in Shari’ah, Taboo Issues on Hepatitis C, Street Outreach, Issues unique to non-heterosexual Muslims, Muslim inmates in jail and their experiences, Effects on drugs on mental health and brain functioning, the nature of excessive appetites, The role of the health professional and real life scenarios.

“We cause a greater injustice to those who are suffering by not offering them support, counsel, advice, resources, services, and much needed education.”

“When we ignore the struggling members of our community suffering from addictions, sexual health & mental health issues, family disruptions, and turn a blind eye to their silent cries we are doing more harm than good. We cause a greater injustice to those who are suffering by not offering them support, counsel, advice, resources, services, and much needed education. It is not only the individual that becomes further affected, these issues also cross into families and jeopardise the community and society. We must come together insha’Allah with even greater determination to prevent an increasing community nightmare to save the lives of our ummah. “…and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity…” Quran 5:32. … “These problems do not discriminate based on whether you wear hijab or not, the length of your beard, how observant a Muslim you are, or whether or not you pray five times a day.” posted by Hanan Dover on the event page.