Muslim leaders with lived experience of drug abuse helping people to overcome addictions and stigma
Robbie Hamza became entangled in a world of criminal offense and prescription drugs when he was just 13 decades previous, but he at some point obtained out and turned his lifestyle all around.
When Mr Hamza saw that drug addiction was an difficulty in the Muslim local community, he resolved to consider motion.
“I have been working around dealing with these issues with households in just our local community for almost 9 yrs,” he explained to the ABC.
“[I’m] obtaining cellular phone calls from moms and dads who are involved about their little ones and reaching out for help, or husbands and wives.
“All sorts of folks who know that you can find someone they can speak to that understands our methods of accomplishing items.”
Although there is no knowledge on illicit drug use in the Muslim local community, Mr Hamza claims the problem is “bigger than we believe”.
The 2019 Countrywide Drug Approach Residence Survey estimated that 9 million or 43 for every cent of Australians aged 14 and over had illicitly utilised a drug.
The study observed that hashish, cocaine, and ecstasy had been amongst the most typical illicit medicine applied.
Private story used to deal with stigma
Mr Hamza said people sought his assistance mainly because he was not ashamed to share his story at mosques and gatherings, so he could reach youthful Muslims.
He often starts his tale with how his lifetime adjusted when he felt insecurities in his early teenage a long time.
Mr Hamza had no-one to search up to, so he made “short-sighted and terrible choices”, injecting amphetamines by the time he was 18 decades outdated.
“One particular detail led to a further,” he said.
Immediately after embracing Islam in 2012, Mr Hamza said he stopped having medication and still left his daily life of crime powering.
Now, serving as a Muslim chaplain with a Brisbane prison, Mr Hamza raises awareness about drug troubles in the Muslim community.
He hosts a podcast called The Talk with Robbie Hamza with imams, the place he tackles the taboo subject of drug use in the Muslim neighborhood.
“It is really not a dialogue that a large amount of families are delighted to have with their buddies or their imams,” he reported.
In Islamic training, using medication — much like alcohol use — is haram, that means it is not permitted. It is the reverse of halal.
That is for the reason that drug and alcohol use are regarded as to lead to extra harm than benefit to individuals and societies.
There is also an expectation that a Muslim particular person would stay away from medication and alcohol for the reason that they have been taught to expand a religious connection, find inner peace and practise it appropriately.
As end result of people beliefs, Muslim leaders instructed the ABC if there was a household member addicted to drugs or alcoholic beverages, often kinfolk would not want the broader group to know about it.
Lucy Verwey, a clinical psychologist in south-west Melbourne, said shame was frequently related with substance abuse in the Muslim community.
“It is problematic that [drug misuse] is not being brazenly discussed because it means that folks are suffering with these kinds of challenges, they are still left sensation pretty isolated,” Dr Verwey stated.
“And that stigma can avoid them from having the therapy that they will need.
“It lets misunderstanding and misinformation to proliferate when [the issues] are not openly reviewed by individuals who have the know-how and practical experience to shed light-weight on it.”
‘No judgement’ help service for Muslim group
In addition to stigma and disgrace, there can be a absence of empathy for folks with drug abuse challenges in the Muslim community.
“It is a lack of knowledge,” Mr Hamza said.
“Unless you’ve lived as a result of it on your own, it’s very simple to stand and judge that man or woman.”
His message for Muslim group users is to not only acknowledge the challenges, but also to enable people know assist services are offered.
“In their intellect, rehab is this scientific terrible place where drug addicts have to go,” Mr Hamza said.
” [I] help them understand that it truly is not like that.”
Mohamad Fenj also noticed these notion complications so he established The Rehabilitation Task, a community-primarily based drug and liquor dependancy assistance assistance focused at, but not constrained to, the Muslim group.
The services has a “no judgement” approach supported by professionals.
“When somebody feels accepted, then they will acknowledge you again. And then they will acknowledge your aid that you supply,” Mr Fenj mentioned.
Much more than 110 people have contacted his organisation for help and guidance considering that July final yr.
Mr Fenj claimed other products and services presently providing support to break addictions did “wonderful employment”, but were being not specially developed for Muslim local community members.
“For Muslims, their faith is at the core of their id. And when anyone utilizes medicine or alcohol, it removes that perception of identity quickly,” he explained.
Mainly because recovery is the procedure of returning to their “original point out”, Mr Fenj states Muslims who want to get better are trying to rediscover their identity and reconnect with their faith.
Mr Fenj also focuses on restoring confidence and rebuilding a sense that the person’s life has meaning and value.
“It truly is vital not to judge … [but] empower them with the welcome and the really like and the respect,” he mentioned.
‘A new natural environment changes everything’
Mr Hamza said nine out of 10 youthful folks he worked with experienced marriage complications at property, though some others had been affected by their social circles, or emotion insecure.
“Insecurities will not go absent by doing bad stuff and pretending to be a thing you might be not,” he reported.
“They go absent by accomplishing good factors and receiving to know your self and really carrying out factors that you can be happy of, and make your have self-regard.”
Sarah, who only required to use her very first name simply because she has served time in jail, turned her life around after rehabilitation.
Sarah was in jail for four years due to drug-connected offences.
She mentioned she had “transferred competencies” of drug dealing to assistance her make good contributions in the community and convey people today with each other.
“As a substitute of contacting folks to offer medications, how about [bringing] them to fun and positive activities?” she stated.
Sarah is the founder of Melbourne Muslimah, an organisation run by and for Muslim women who frequently feel excluded at mosques or are “doubtful about themselves”.
The character fanatic supports charities for susceptible women of all ages and organises situations like hiking to assist people be more included in communities.
“You can generally leave your background guiding with new mates, so you’ve got acquired to improve your natural environment,” said Sarah, who also not long ago developed a Melbourne Muslim hikers team.
“A new environment changes almost everything, it presents you hope,” she claimed.
Sarah claimed when she produced other people today smile once more, she understood she had last but not least rediscovered her real self.
Read the tale in Bahasa Indonesia