US Muslims have suffered assaults and intimidation in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Muslims in the U.S. are racially and ethnically diverse, with nearly 60 percent born abroad. As a minority, making up 1.1 percent of the U.S. population, they have suffered assaults and intimidation in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The travel ban and the rise of nationalist rhetoric, which views immigrants as “other,” have contributed to feelings of being bullied, harassed and otherwise treated with suspicion.
“There’s this collective feeling of being under siege,” said Dr. Hamada Hamid Altalib, a psychiatrist and neurologist who is president of the Institute for Muslim Mental Health and chief editor of the Journal of Muslim Mental Health.
Many Muslims are wary of talking with outsiders about domestic violence or behavioral issues, for fear that may cast a bad light on the faith generally, said Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, founder and president of the Muslim Wellness Foundation in Philadelphia.
“There’s an ambivalence about sharing these challenges outside of the community because it reinforces the stereotype we’re trying to counteract about who we are,” he said.
That kind of cultural sensitivity is critical because Muslims won’t seek out mental health services if they fear that their religious identity might be threatened, said Shaykh Suhail Mulla, resident scholar at the Islamic Society of West Valley in Los Angeles and the Muslim chaplain at UCLA.
For example, a woman wearing the hijab and seeking out psychotherapy may not want to be told “You just need to take off your hijab and assimilate and be like everybody else and then you’ll be able to find a job,” he said.