Islamophobia: Social, Religious, and Clinical Considerations from a Jewish Psychiatrist

  • H. Steven Moffic


For culturally competent caring, a Jewish psychiatrist perspective on Islamophobia needs to include several components. The first is an appreciation for the psychiatrist’s own Jewish identity and related values, especially as they pertain to being a psychiatrist. The second is an appreciation for the relevant history of interactions between the Jewish and Muslim peoples. A third is a basic understanding of Islamophobia and how it developed. Weaving together these aspects should lead to concern on the part of the Jewish psychiatrist for the harm that Islamophobia in particular can do to Muslim citizens, to Muslims who have mental illness, to other people, and to the therapeutic alliance between Muslim patients and Jewish psychiatrists, let alone other non-Muslim psychiatrists. Finally, comparing histories of the Jewish and Muslim people, including within psychiatry, should lead to an appreciation of the relationship of Islamophobia to Antisemitism and how together we can complement one another’s efforts to improve our people’s mental health. Indeed, we psychiatrists are bound by our ethical standards to do so.


Antisemitism Cultural competence Ethical Freud Islamophobia Jewish psychiatrists Maimonides Therapeutic alliance Trauma 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Steven Moffic
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical College of Wisconsin (Retired Tenured Professor)MilwaukeeUSA

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