By Mark Hallum
First Lady Chirlane McCray toured the city last Saturday as part of her “Weekend of Faith in Action Against Domestic Violence” to promote NYCHope, an online portal for communities to educate themselves on abuse, seek help or learn how they can help someone they know who may be a victim.
McCray’s rounds took her to the Muslim Center of New York, located at 137-58 Geranium Ave., in Flushing, where she spoke to the congregation about the city initiative.
“We all know that Islam is a beautiful, life-affirming religion, of justice and peace, and a powerful force generosity and kindness,” McCray said. “But these days, it’s too often portrayed as a religion of oppression and violence, especially toward women. Domestic violence is a topic that is difficult for anyone to talk about, but members of the Muslim community must feel they must defend against the barrage of misconceptions. There’s extra pressure not to expose private struggles and pain, not to air dirty laundry, as some people say.”
McCray invoked the words of the Prophet Muhammad to explain why it is important for the community to have open conversations about issues within families and communities, even if it is uncomfortable.
The creation of the NYCHope portal was set in motion by the city’s Domestic Violence Task Force, co-chaired by McCray and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. By visiting www1.nyc.gov/nychope/site/page/home, residents can learn about how to identify domestic violence, organize safety plans and find family safety centers.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall