About This Site

About This Site

Purpose

Our purpose is to educate and empower Muslims around the world with the practical resources to recognize abuse and stand up to it. We also coach victims of spiritual abuse, train mental health professionals, and work with institutions and Islamic leaders to set up procedures for accountability and prevention. For more on our services, including coaching and cult recovery please see our services page.

There are some who want to use this exposure of abuse for fueling Islamaphobia, furthering their own careers, or discrediting Islamic scholars and institutions as a whole. Our position is that our Islamic institutions and scholars are valuable, necessary, and should be respected but we should not tolerate abuse. When religious leaders in authority use their power for personal gain, it harms both the victims and their scholarly role. We want to protect both the community at large and the roles of our leaders and scholars and not use the fall of one to bring down the other.

We affirm the importance of teachers, imams, and community leaders and are only concerned about the abuses of those positions. We will work with any sect or religion in addressing abuse and will host contributors regardless of faith under the common cause of preventing abuse.

We have spent over six years listening to and documenting stories of spiritual abuse, corroborating the stories, and consulting subject matter experts. This is an independent project to protect, educate, and empower our community against abuse of religious authority.

Why We Are Not Naming Names

In Shaykh’s Clothing is an organization dedicated to addressing the roots of spiritual abuse. By providing education, training, and policies we can help people stand up to spiritual abuse, create accountability, and significantly decrease abuse in the community.

Spiritual abuse is not the problem of a few bad apples. This is a problem of human dynamics which will never go away completely, but we can do our part to create healthy communities that can recognize abuse and maintain checks and balances in the spirit of Allah’s message to assist one another in piety and God-consciousness.

We have stories in which the culprits are not named, however in many of them those immediately effected have been helped. Even without disclosing all the details to the public, simply publishing the account is helpful for victims in those cases. Our work has resulted in removing abusive religious figures from their positions, helping families take legal action, and successful semi-public exposures of abusive figures.  For those not involved or aware of the incidents, the stories serve as an articulation of the patterns of forms of abuse that occur in the name of Islam.

We also have to maintain due process and lead by example by not granting ourselves self-proclaimed power to accuse by name individuals without evidence to implicate the individual. Though we do not stop anyone from publicizing the names of the accused if they wish to do so, we cannot go public on the behalf of victims when the evidence is only with the victims.

Finally, the assumption that people will stay away from religious figures if there are public warnings against them is false. Warnings may confirm keeping a distance to those who would not be attracted to certain figures in the first place, but we find it much more effective to discuss the phenomenon, help those directly affected, and work on prevention, because there is no shortage of abusive figures in the world.

Is Merely Contributing, Collaborating, or Sharing Panels with Others and Endorsement?

We do not hold the position that merely hosting or being hosted by a guest contributor, collaborating with, or sharing a panel with an individual or a group is an endorsement of that individual or group. We advocate for people to trust themselves and not to look for “safe people” in the sense of turning off their better judgment and circumventing getting to know someone well before trusting them beyond a superficial level.  Everyone must be given a clean slate, but mere associations and relationships should never be viewed as endorsement as expounded upon here.

Furthermore, it is imperative we also speak in organizations where the leaders are abusive, because it may be the only way to get the message of spiritual abuse to congregants. This is especially the case with Sufi-tariqas, where the disciples may not have opportunities to learn about what they may be going through from outside sources. We recognize that merely associating with such figures or organizations may be seen as support, therefore to avoid confusion, we clearly state that such collaboration or associations, in and of themselves, are not necessarily support or an endorsement of those individuals or groups.

 

Our Evidentiary Methods

Our evidence consists of the following: first- hand witnessing, being involved in cases, speaking with abusers, anecdotal, emails, texts, and other electronic communications, and corroborated witnesses and testimony including that of community leaders, board members, and scholars. Anecdotes on this site are not exaggerations, no matter how far-fetched they seem. Names and other personal information have been changed for protection of privacy.

 

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