Muslim leaders with lived experience of drug abuse helping people to overcome addictions and stigma

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.”

A neighborhood-operate organisation, The Rehabilitation Project has a aid service designed for Muslim local community users.(Equipped: The Rehabilitation Task)

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to search up to, so he made “short-sighted and terrible choices”, injecting amphetamines by the time he was 18 decades outdated.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.

A group of men taking photo together in a archery field
The Rehabilitation Challenge operates a non-residential assistance software with treatment groups and recreational routines.(Equipped: The Rehabilitation Venture)

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.

Dr Lucy Verwey
Lucy Verwey says people with addictions can truly feel isolated when they face problems that are not overtly reviewed.(Provided)

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

A man wearing glasses standing in front of trees
Mohamad Fenj says recovery from habit normally takes time and help from some others.(ABC News: Erwin Renaldi)

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.

Ergun Genel praying.
Some folks with drug addiction need to rediscover a feeling of identity, states Mr Fenj.(ABC Radio Sydney: Dayvis Heyne)

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.