The Issues We Address
To Protect, Nurture & Empower Our Youth
Abuse at Home & Negligence
This category includes all different forms of child abuse, domestic violence, sibling abuse, sexual and emotional abuse.
According to statistics, family violence and negligence are the top factors that get our children into more troubles and major issues once they reach their teenage and in their adult lives. That's why MY Project USA is fully committed to addressing this issue at various levels.
MY Project USA is committed to addressing the issue of Human Trafficking by providing counseling and other support to victims, at-risk girls, and their parents.
We have launched a national initiative "Muslims Against Human Trafficking" lead by Zerqa Abid, a mother who has dedicated her life to save all children. We have launched several awareness campaigns over the years within the Muslim American Community.
Please subscribe to our newsletter to stay posted about the upcoming workshops.
Alcohol, Drugs & Gangs
Alcohol and other drug use among our nation’s youth remains a major public health problem. Substance use and abuse can increase the risk for injuries, violence, HIV infection, and other diseases.
According to the Gallup Organization’s 2009 report “Muslim Americans: A National Portrait”, 16 percent of American Muslim youth between the ages of 18 and 29 engage in binge drinking, consuming four to five alcoholic beverages a day. Among older Muslims, the number is 14 percent.
There is no data available on drug use within Muslim kids at the moment, however, we have learned that in some communities drug traffickers are especially targeting Muslim middleschoolers and even younger kids.
Child Molestation & Sexual Abuse
Child Molestation is a taboo topic in the Muslim community. Nobody likes to bring it up.
But not talking about it does not help at all. In February 2015, a renowned Chicago imam and Muslim scholar, Mohammad Abdullah Saleem, 75, the founder and the head of the Institute of Islamic Education in Chicago, was charged this week with felony criminal sexual abuse of a 23-year-old administrative assistant at the school.
The civil suit accuses him of abusing that employee, as well as three female students at the school as far back as the 1980s.
The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported; experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities. CSA is also not uniformly defined, so statistics may vary. The statistics below represent some of the research done on child sexual abuse.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted.
Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:
1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse
Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident
During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized
Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized
Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13
According to research released by the Institute of Social Policies & Understanding, ISPU, in 2011: “While bullying is on the rise in American schools, the reasons why Muslim children are being bullied vary: the American mainstream’s limited knowledge, pervasive misperceptions, and negative stereotypes about Muslims.
Little is known about Islam and Muslims, and little is being done to redress this situation. Recent data gathered on this student population indicates that continued inaction might engender a divided society related to school-based ostracism.
This brief recommends a series of actions that, if implemented at the individual, school, community, and legislative levels, will help improve the situation and lead to a greater acceptance of Muslim children and youth.
Pornography & Internet Safety
In this era of smartphones and other gadgets, even our toddlers are using the internet in one way or the other. It is no brainer if the average age of a child exposed to pornography has been dropped to as low as 7 years old.
InternetSafety101.org, an excellent resource for parents and guardians states: Experts have warned that the rise in the viewing of pornography was implicated in a variety of problems, including a rise in the levels of STDs and teenage pregnancies.
Additionally, males aged between 12 and 17 who regularly viewed pornography had sex at an earlier stage in life and were more likely to initiate oral sex, apparently imitating what they had seen. Internet pornography was blamed for a 20 percent increase in sexual attacks by children over three years.
One out of three youth who viewed pornography viewed the pornography intentionally. Seven out of ten youth have accidentally come across pornography online.
Nearly 80 percent of unwanted exposure to pornography is taking place in the home (79 percent occurs in the home; 9 percent occurs at school; 7 percent other/unknown; 5 percent at a friend’s home).
Violence & Extremism
In the recent wake of ISIS, its online propaganda and recruiting strategies have raised concerns within communities and agencies around the country.
MY Project USA takes a preventive approach by engaging youth in several different types of activities and programs that are designed to raise them as peaceful and balanced human beings and productive citizens of the United States of America.
Depression & Suicides
According to Mental Health America’s website, depression has been considered to be the major psychiatric disease of the 20th century, affecting approximately eight to twenty-eight million people in North America. Adults with psychiatric illness are 20 times more likely to die from accidents or suicide than adults without a psychiatric disorder.
Major depression, including bipolar affective disorder, often appears for the first time during the teenage years, and early recognition of these conditions will have profound effects on later morbidity and mortality. Left untreated, depression can lead some youth to take their own lives. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds and the sixth leading cause of death for 5- to 14-year-olds. Attempted suicides are even more common.
Despite this, depression in this age group is greatly underdiagnosed, leading to serious difficulties in school, work, and personal adjustment, which often continue, into adulthood. Unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact.
A forced marriage is one that takes place without the full and free consent of one or both parties. It can happen to either gender, at any age. It may be a marriage that is threatened or one that has already taken place, either in the United States or abroad.
Tahirih’s survey confirms that forced marriage is a problem in the United States today, with as many as 3,000 known and suspected cases identified by survey respondents in just the last two years.
The fact that potentially thousands of young women and girls from immigrant communities may face forced marriages each year in the United States is alarming and demands attention. 67% of survey respondents felt that there are cases of forced marriage that are not being identified in the populations with which they work.
The survey also revealed very troubling and complex dynamics at play in many forced marriage situations. Individuals may be subjected to multiple, and sometimes severe, forms of force, fraud, or coercion to make them enter or stay in a forced marriage.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM is a centuries-old, harmful, traditional practice that affects an estimated 140 million women and girls around the world causing lifelong physical and psychological harm. This practice that involves the removal of various parts of female genitalia is carried out across Africa, some countries in Asia, and the Middle East, as well as in locations where FGM-practicing immigrants reside, including the United States.
In 1997, research conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that at least 150,000 to 200,000 girls in the U.S. were at risk of being subjected to FGM. In a report released last year by the non-profit Sanctuary for Families, a group that works with domestic abuse victims, the Sanctuary concluded that FGM is on the rise in the United States. It found that the number of girls and women at risk for FGM in the U.S. increased by 35 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to an analysis from the 2000 U.S. Census.
It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15. Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating; and later cysts, infections and infertility, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
MY Project USA has launched an initiative "Muslims Against FGM" to end this evil practice. We are currently conducting a survey and are also encouraging community to sign an open letter to stop this practice. Please check our page for more information.
Foster Care to Prostitution Pipeline
The Justice Department has estimated that nearly 450,000 children run away from home each year and that one-third of teens living on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. This includes Muslim children too.
“Chances are if you're a victim of human trafficking in the United States, you were a foster child first. According to arrest records of juveniles arrested for prostitution-related crimes in Los Angeles County, 59 percent were in the foster care system,” says Kevin M. Ryan, President, and CEO, Covenant House.
Muslim Foster Parents could definitely help. MY Project USA organizes programs and campaigns to encourage more Muslim families to consider fostering children in need of temporary care.
Here is a shortlist of some of the most pressing issues that MY Project USA addresses with more holistic approach.
Each of these issues needs several instutes and organizations. We have partnerd with several organizations and agencies to make sure that we do our very best.