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MY Project USA - Empower Our Youth

Muslim Child Brides Or Sex Trafficking Victims? 

When Would Community Leaders and Imams Pay Attention To This Issue? 

“And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass? It is the freeing of a slave.” (Holy Quran - 90:12-13)

Assalamu Alaikum Dear family,

Today, I want to draw your attention to another extremely sensitive and critical issue: The illegal marriages of minor Muslim  girls in exchange of property, money and other advances in America. In other words the sex trafficking of minor Muslim girls in the disguise of marriage at the hands of their immediate family.  

In Columbus, I am coming across a number of minor Muslim girls or young adults that have been married off at the age of 14, 15, 16 year old to older, wealthy men  that could pay in cash or property to the girl's family.. We have a number of teenage moms in the community that might have 2-3 children even before they turn 18.  These girls are being married off by their own parents or family members. Such weddings are not legally registered anywhere. They are only formalized through imams who would perform  religious ceremony (nikah) to pronounce a minor girl and an older man as husband and wife. 

According to the witnesses, such secretive weddings are being held in the basements under the special precautions that nothing is being posted on Facebook and social media. At this point, this has been an established practice within some ethnic communities. It's not limited to Columbus' boundaries either, it has been across America. Everyone within these communities are aware of the presence of these child brides and minor moms, but apparently there is no cry to stop this practice and address this issue. So far,  I have not seen any imam or community leader spoke against it publicly.

Most of these young girls/women/victims and their children suffer in abusive relationship. Some are dumped by their "husbands" in a few years as they move on to the next wife. Some suffer through more years if the parents are receiving payments in installments or have properties that they received at the time of the "wedding.."

This should not be mistaken by a wedding of any minor girl that does not involve the exchange of huge amount of money or properties. They are two different cases. Although the wedding of any minor would be against the law in the United States, such cases would not be constituted as sex trafficking. 

Once again, I am taking the lead in unveiling this heinous crime against these girls. I have already been under attack by some Somalis and other Muslim leaders in Columbus for talking about sex-trafficking. They have accused me of exaggeration for the sake of self promotion and fundraising. I know this newsletter would stir more attacks and a slandering campaign against myself and against MY Project USA. 

Regardless, I am committed to address this and similar issues purely for the sake of the God almighty.  I am mindful of the complexity and seriousness of the issue. It  could easily be exploited against our organization. Our strategy would be to work with parents, families, and authorities together to find solutions for individuals that are already suffering. We would also be working on the prevention side by empowering the parents through education and employment to provide financial stability in the household. It is hard but doable. I can't do it alone though. I need your help. I need your prayers, your moral support and your financial support.

In these very last days of Ramadan, I ask you to please pay attention to these hidden but organized injustices within our own communities and help me address it. Please check out our LuanchGood campaign and pitch in to sustain and grow our initiatives that are designed to prevent and stop all forms of human trafficking, drugs, gangs  and violence within our own communities. All donations are tax deductible and zakat eligible. I pray that Allah SWT make it possible for you to support this much needed but neglected cause. 

In Solidarity with Youth & Families

Zerqa Abid
Founder & Executive Director 
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A Message From the Outreach Committee:

Ramadan/Eid Volunteer Opportunities - Share Your Blessings  
Calling on all community members 

First, we want to thank you for showing your interest in supporting MY Project USA. As the only non-profit of its kind in the area, we rely solely on your efforts and contributions to the project in helping sustain and empower the youth of the Hilltop area. 

We are always in need of committed volunteers, and here are some of the ways you can donate your time:

MY Family Pantry 
MY Family Pantry is a sub-set of MY Project USA, and works on serving fresh produce and other goods to families of low socioeconomic income in the Hilltop area. We need help every Thursday afternoon to unload and stock the goods and every Saturday morning to distribute them to families. 

MY Family Pantry Sign Up
MY Eid Toys Drive 2017
Put smiles on the faces of the thousands of children within our refugee community on the west side and help us reach our goal of 2500 toys and 750 goody bags, God willing. 
MY Eid Toys Drive 2017

Eid Open House for Refugees 

This year we will hold a two-day open house at MY Deah's  store to share our Eid Blessings with our Muslim Refugee and other brothers and sisters that are facing financial difficulties.
Eid Open House 2017
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3036 Sullivant Ave., Columbus, OH 43204
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PO Box 1311, Hilliard, OH 43026

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MY Project USA · PO Box 1311 · Hilliard, OH 43026 · USA