Domestic Violence in Muslim Communities

The Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (API-IDV)
Publication Date: 
June, 2011

The Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence has organized resources for Muslim communities in the United States because so many Muslim immigrants living in the U.S. come from various regions in Asia: Central, East, South, Southeast, and West Asia, i.e. the Middle East. You can download them via the ; or follow the links below. All links are to research conducted by API IDV.

Factsheet on domestic violence:

Directory of Domestic Violence programs serving Muslim communities in the US:

Muslim Forums on Women's Issues - A Resource Directory:

Translated Materials on Domestic Violence in the US:


Notions of identity carry complex political, social, and familial meanings. The following terms are defined for clarity only and not to force anyone into a particular regional and ethnic grouping. Self-identification is appropriately a matter of individual decision.

  • Arab, Middle Eastern, West Asian refers to people from the Middle East, also called West Asia and includes peoples who trace their origins to the countries, diasporas and/or ethnicities of these regions.
  • Asian includes peoples of Central Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and West Asian ancestry, i.e., those who trace their origins to the countries, diasporas and/or ethnicities of the above regions.
  • Muslim, which includes the Sunni and Shia' sects, refers to people who self-identify, culturally or religiously (whether they are practicing or not), as Muslims.
  • Not all Arabs are Muslims. They can be Christians, Druze, Baha'is, or Jews. Christian sects in the Middle East include Antiochian Orthodox, Assyrian, Chaldean, Coptic, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Maronite, Melkite, Roman Catholic, Syrian Catholic, and Syrian Orthodox.
  • Not all West Asians, such as Iranians/Persians and Turks, are Arabs.
  • Indigenous Muslims refers to African American Muslims.
  • Immigrant and refugee Muslims in the U.S. come from Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan; MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Region: e.g., Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Palestine; Africa, e.g., Somalia; and Europe, e.g., Bosnia.


  • Muslims constitute 0.8% (2,454,000) of the U.S. adult population.1
  • 65% of U.S. Muslims are foreign-born; 27% of them emigrated from South and Central Asia, including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.2
  • 35% of Muslims in the U.S. self-identify as African American, the largest racial group within the community.3
  • 18%, nearly one in five Muslim Americans, self-identify as Asian.3
  1. Pew Research Center Forum on Religion and Public Life. Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population. Washington, DC: Author; 2009. (Retrieved 1-10-11)
  2. Pew Research Center. Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream. Washington, DC: Author; 2007. (Retrieved 1-10-11)
  3. Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Muslim Americans: A National Portrait, An in-depth analysis of America's most diverse religious community. Washington, DC: Author; 2009. (Retrieved 1-10-11)

Domestic Violence Statistics

  • A survey of 63 Muslim leaders showed that 10% of Muslims experienced physical abuse in their homes. Alkhateeb, Sharifa. "Ending domestic violence in Muslim families." Journal of Religion and Abuse 1.44 (1999): 49-59.
  • A study of 23 Muslim married female immigrants from Bangladesh residing in Houston, Texas revealed a 10% prevalence rate of spousal abuse. Rianon, Nahid J., and Shelton, A. J. "Perception of spousal abuse expressed by married Bangladeshi immigrant women in Houston, Texas, U.S.A". Journal of Immigrant Health 5.1 (2003): 37-44.


Important Resources for Advocates

Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence

Muslim Advocacy Network Against Domestic Violence (MANADV)

A collaboration between Peaceful Families Project and the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence.

  • A national network of advocates, service providers, activists, researchers, scholars, legal and health care professionals, on-line forums, and community-based-organizations addressing domestic violence in Muslim communities by empowering survivors, deepening advocacy, strengthening families, and organizing communities.
  • MANADV aims to diminish the isolation advocates experience by building a national network where they exchange information; dialogue; share resources; strategize about intervention, prevention, and community organizing; analyze critical issues; develop models and trainings; and build alliances.
  • Join Sharifa's List, named in honor of Sharifa Alkhateeb's groundbreaking advocacy on behalf of Muslims, to become a MANADV member and obtain information on resources, publications, trainings, and events.

For more information about MANADV and to sign up for Sharifa's List, visit or send an email to .

To forward news of MANADV among your networks, download and share a describing MANADV.

Peaceful Families Project

Resources on Legal Issues

  • Awad, Abed. (2002). New Jersey Law Journal, 169(11), 28-31.
  • Awad, Abed and Popescu, Robert S. (2003). Appellate Division Declines to Adopt Bright-Line Prohibition Against Out-of-Country Visitation. New Jersey Law Journal, CLXXIII(12).
  • ,
  • . Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, California