Conflict Resolution within Muslim Families

Conflict resolution within Muslim families: 

An innovative training program

The Peaceful Lives project consisted of  an innovative 10-day training program that took place between February and June 2016. Oftentimes, looking for advice that takes into account their specific situation and concerns, Muslim families turn to local religious actors and other relevant community actors. This training wanted to respond to the urgent need for Muslims to receive adequate support in situations of family conflict. 

The training programme was an initiative of KARAMAH EU vzw in collaboration with the Centre for Family Studies of the University of applied Sciences Odisee (Kenniscentrum Gezinswetenschappen – Odisee Hogeschool). Mediation Instituut Vlaanderen (Mediv), a recognized mediation training institute in Belgium joined the program as a key partner.

Recent research in Belgium confirms that there is a need for more suitable methods of dispute resolution within Muslim families. Existing training courses within the area of family disputes are often insensitive to the characteristics of mediation within Muslim families and the specific social difficulties and challenged that many Muslim families face today.

The aim of the program was to strengthen local actors and religious leaders and to provide more insight into the processes of family mediation within Belgian Muslim communities.

 The professionals and religious leaders are in the position in family mediation to bring about a crucial and profound positive change in family relationships, particularly with regards to young people and women. Consequently, the aim of the training was to bring about social change processes that, in addition to healthier family relationships, also entail greater openness, social engagement, active citizenship and gender equality.

The program consisted of teaching methods and practical skills with a view to healthy conflict management. It consisted of two parts; theoretical and practical. On the one hand, the participants were familiarised briefly with theoretical frameworks from different disciplines. On the other hand, the participants were engaged in the issues discussed trough active work forms that encouraged them to delve deeper into the methods and practical competencies needed for successful family mediation.
We are convinced that by strengthening the conflict resolution skills of different care providers, imams, religious mediators and other actors in the community throughout Belgium, the program will have a significant impact on many families, men and women, young and old.