MWO Chairlady, Fatima Ndaila
In order to effectively fight the HIV/AIDS problem among the Muslim community, there is need for effective participation of men in the fight against the pandemic. This is the view of the chairlady of the Muslim Women Organisation (MWO) sister Fatima Ndaila, who asked Muslim men in the country to support women in the struggle and avoid blaming them of bringing HIV/AIDS into their homes.
Sister Ndaila told Malawi Muslim Official Website that “it is sad to note that over half of Muslim brothers in Malawi think that only women are the ones who bring HIV/AIDS in their homes.”
She was reacting to findings by Muslim Sisters Aids Network (Musanet) that over 200 out of 1,000 of its members are HIV positive. She said this is so due to ignorance, pretence and failure to work together with women.
“Men don’t want to work with us women. When they see us, they just think we are haram but when they do their infidelities, they are right,” she complained.
“And that mentality of considering husbands as heads of the family, I think is also what is killing us women. One time it came to the point that a certain woman (Musanet member) found herself in difficulties when she tried to deliver HIV/AIDS messages to her husband.” Sister Ndaila said the woman’s husband was so furious and accused her of being misled by some unmarried women.
“To me it was a great shock in as far as this pandemic is concerned. So let us work together in fighting this pandemic among the Muslim community in Malawi,” added sister Ndaila.
The chairlady further gave examples on how other men react when they receive messages on HIV/AIDS.
“I remember a certain day when other men walked out of the meeting after Musanet introduced the topic of polygamy. It was not that women were against it but we were trying to discuss some areas that are not good. But they stormed out without further attending the meeting. Now, with that, do you think we can work together? She wondered.
When asked if polygamy is also one of the contributing factors to the spread of HIV/AIDS among Muslims, sister Ndaila was quick to say: “No! Let me be clear here. We are not saying Polygamy is what increases HIV/AIDS but we have to know that in this era, polygamous practices are very tricky and quite different from the past. We should not pretend as we are clean while we are not but let us also learn to accept that there are other Muslims who are suffering out there.”
According to the chairlady, Muslim Women Organisation was formed in 1986 and it falls under Muslim Association of Malawi.
In everything we do, approach is very important. As women lets try by all means to humble ourselves and put Allah in front before we tackle some of these problems. The question that comes to mind is, how much effort have we put in trying to engage these men? Have we used the right channels to engage them? As MWO how much have you done for the women in order to equip them with skills to tackle the HIV problem within their families (i.e. husband & children)before reaching out to the outside world. Is going to the press the best way to engage each other in dialogue? We know how cunning these brothers are so plan well before approach.
it is understable for the frustration of our muslim mothers and sisters who are puting their efforts in trying to reduce the spread of this pandemic.as ida rightly said,the approach indeed matters.but in my opinion, our sheikhs are also to blame because am sure if they preached the teaching of islam in regard to hiv/aids am sure by this time people would have understood the effect of this disease on our ummah and what roles we muslims should play in fighting this pandemic. but they have chosen to keep quieit even when they know that islam is away of life and therefore can offer a better solution to this problem.
Bravo MUSANET you desrve credit for the job well done it is pathetic to note that the women are getting awareness message of HIV through the workshops which MUSANET have been conducting and the Men are not making any efforts to mobilise themselves and conduct such warkshops because HIV is transmitted through meetings of men and wemen you know what i mean here, so why should it be wemen only making an effort of fighting with the desease. MUSANET is an organisation for Wemen Muslim sisters so why should we spend our resourses to train the men as well? its high time men should also wake up and start conducting their own HIV workshops. Its pathetic to see that women have realised the importance of VCT through the workshops and when they inform their husbands about the positive status they are getting devorced for another woman, how sure are they that they are not positive.Its not fair to the inocent woman, may be the men are getting deceived with the report from NAC which recommended Circumcision to all men to prevent contracting the desease, NO NO NO circumcision is not an insurance of NO HIV it is totally a wrong perception to think like that. We all can admit that we have lost many muslim brothers with the desease so why should we pretend like all is well.
My fellow brothers and sisters lets all take part in fighting the desease to protect the future muslim generation