Challenges of Islamophobia: Psychiatric Considerations for Effectively Working with Muslim Patients
The significant change in the sociopolitical climate of the world after 9/11 in the United States and after 7/7 in the United Kingdom has undoubtedly created a tension between Islam and the West. Furthermore, this has increased the fears that continued conflicts between Islam and the West could lead to even more severe and global turmoil (Chomsky and Achcar). Perilous power: the Middle East & US Foreign policy: dialogues on terror, democracy, war, and justice. London: Paradigm Publishers; 2006). Islam is the second largest religion practiced in the world today with approximately 1.6 billion followers. In the United States, the estimated number of Muslims is between five and seven million followers, 1.1% of the total population (Pew Research Center. US Muslims concerned about their place in society. Pew Research Center; 2017). Muslims in America are among the most diverse groups of individuals. Of the 60% immigrant Muslim Americans, more than 75% are African Americans, Arabs, and South Asians (Pew. Muslim Americans: no signs of growth in alienation or support for extremism. 2011. Retrieved 11 04, 2013, from Pew Research: Center for the People and the Press. http://www.people-press.org/2011/08/30/muslim-americans-no-signs-of-growth-in-alienation-or-support-for-extremism/). Since 9/11, increased Islamophobia has contributed to the process of racialization of Muslims and increased religious bigotry against Muslims with 45% of the general population considering Muslims to be violent (Pew Research Center. Muslim-Western tensions persist. Global attitudes project. Washington DC: Pew Research Center; 2011; Nussbaum. The new religious intolerance: overcoming the politics of fear in an anxious age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2012).
Islamophobia, along with diverse and complex cultural and religious systems, has undoubtedly created challenges for mental health providers. This paper will focus on understanding Muslim Americans and their specific needs and how to work effectively with Muslim American patients as a mental health practitioner.
KeywordsIslamophobia Muslim Mental health Psychiatric considerations Medications Therapy
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