Jammu & Kashmir

Kashmiri platform Pe’nd Online programme on drug de-addiction today; know details here

Used syringes lay on the dusty floor in an abandoned house which junkies have overtook as their drug den. [FPK Photo/Mir Yasir Mukhtar.]

A Kashmiri online platform, Pe’nd Online, which organizes live panel discussions with prominent Kashmiri professionals from around the globe on pertinent day-to-day issues concerning Valley, has announced a new series of expert discussions on drug de-addiction awareness, and the first session is scheduled this evening.

Today’s programme, as part of the online awareness campaign, will discuss substance use disorder, its challenges, and opportunities.

Today’s session on Alcoholics Anonymous and Milati Islami program expert engagement will be broadcast at 8:30, in the evening.

The second one is training the trainers: How to detect, help, and support mental health with a focus on addiction, to be telecast on March 18, Saturday 8:30 pm.

The last and third one is mental health and addiction: An Islamic psychotherapeutic approach, on March 25, Saturday 8:30 pm.

The speakers of the programme, which will be broadcast on the Facebook channel of the platform, are Aadil Shah, Dr Shaheen Shora, Dr Fazle, Imam Abu Noman Tarek, Imam MuhammadAbuelezz, Nazila Isgandarova,  KashmalaQasim, Greg (Waleed) Kavalec and Dr Brice Balmer

Dr Adil Shah  is a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist working with one of the leading substance misuse service providers based in the UK. He has a Masters in Psychological Medicine from Cardiff University and is a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Dr Shaheen Shora is a British Kashmiri psychiatrist based in London, UK. She is also a dedicated social justice worker, passionate about young people’s and older adults’ mental health and well-being.

Dr Fazle is a lecturer of Psychiatry and works at the Drug Deaddiction Centre at the SMHS Hospital. He has done his MD in Psychiatry from GMC Srinagar and DM in Addiction Psychiatry from PGIMER, Chandigarh.

Imam Abu Noman Tarek is the secretary general of the Canadian Council of Imams (CCI), an Imam, and a trained mental health professional.

He is a recipient of YMCA peace medal 2022, which recognizes individuals and organizations that promote tolerance, social justice and community cohesion. Recently, as the first community leader, he was also honored by the Grand Erie School Board with the Learn, Lead and Inspire award for his outstanding contributions in building a culture of learning, well-being and belonging.

Muhammad Abuelezz is religious scholar who graduated from Al-Azhar University Cairo in 2001. He has a master’s degree in Islamic studies from the University of Georgia, US. He is now a Ph.D candidate in Human Relationships: Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy at Wilfrid Laurier University. He works currently as the Imam and Center manager of Rose City Islamic Center Windsor, ON, Canada.

Nazila Isgandarova is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Spiritual Care and has a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral counselling, marriage and family studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Master of Social Work from the University of Windsor.

Nazila is the recipient of The Order of Vaughan, which is the highest civic honour in Vaughan, Ontario, and the prestigious Forum for Theological Exploration research award for her study on domestic violence against Muslim women, the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care Senior Research Award and the Society for Pastoral Counselling Research Award. Nazila is an Assistant Professor at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto, teaching mental health, psychopathology, and psychotherapy courses.

Her book, titled Muslim Women, Domestic Violence, and Psychotherapy: Theological and Clinical Issues, was published by Routledge in 2018 and Islamic Spiritual Care by Pandora Press in 2019.

KashmalaQasim is the Operations Manager at the Khalil Center. Kashmala completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology from the University of Toronto and completed a Masters in Neuroscience from McMaster University. She has also completed the Taleemul Quran Diploma course from Al Huda Institute. Kashmala has been a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the Islamic Online University, and has also received Level 1 Pastoral Counselling training from the University of Toronto.

She is now pursuing a PhD at York University in Psychology and is an Educator with the Khalil Center. Kashmala’s dissertation involves conducting qualitative research studies looking at the development of an Islamically-integrated peer support group for mental health in Muslim women as well as understanding the role of the Qur’an in Muslim women’s perceptions of mental well-being and empowerment.

Greg Kavalec is a systems design administrator with vast experience in the corporate and small business environments. Greg is a Board member of MillatiIslami World Services and the founder of IslamAwakened.com. He has served as a Chaplain in numerous Texas prison systems and is an active volunteer in various masajids. To learn more of Greg’s powerful story of recovery as a former addict and his journey to Islam, see this.

Brice Balmer, a Mennonite minister, has worked for 23 years at the House of Friendship addiction recovery programs.  In order to learn more about spirituality and addiction, he did his Doctor of Ministry degreeon “How men in recovery have understood and experienced God”.

He has been a leader in Interfaith Grand River in the Region of Waterloo for over 20 years.  Before retirement, he was an assistant professor at Martin Luther University College in the spiritual care and psychotherapy program.

Brice worked in the area of “Harm Reduction” and was chair of the Integrated Drugs Strategy for the Waterloo Region; this strategy has shaped the direction of health and social service programs over the past fifteen years. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of Muslim Social Services.

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