Psychology of Xenophobia
Awaad, R. (PI)
What is the current U.S. socio-political climate like for Muslims? How is it affecting their mental health? Executive Order 13769, dubbed the "Muslim Ban", suspended the entry of citizens from multiple Muslim-majority countries and banned the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely. The "Muslim Ban" coincided with the highest level of hate crimes against Muslims in America (91% increase in 2017 per CAIR). These levels are comparable to post-9/11 levels of hate crimes. Decades of research on minority communities has documented how stress associated with stigma, intimidation and discrimination is detrimental to physical and mental health. In this seminar we will explore the historical implications of Islamophobia and its modern-day impact on the global refugee crisis. Students will be introduced to the stigma that surrounds mental health in general and minority communities in particular. Special attention will be paid to the development of the nascent field Islamic Psychology and integrating Islamic spirituality into therapy as a means of addressing the under utilization of mental health services in Muslim populations. A combination of stimulating group discussions, talks by guest speakers, and field trips to community partners will provide students with different perspectives and a deeper understanding of these topics.