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Addressing the impacts of Islamophobia

Dr Hankir answers the question: ‘What can health and social care practitioners do to address the impact of Islamophobia?’
So what can health and social care professionals do to address the impact of Islamophobia On Muslim mental health? As always, we begin with the human heart, and we engage in introspection. We must be brutally honest with ourselves and ask Am I source of Islamophobia? If so, we must purify our hearts by challenging Islamophobia that may be harbouring within us. We must remind ourselves that Islamophobia can have profoundly adverse effects on the mental health and well-being of Muslims and those perceived as Muslim, and that Islamophobia is deadly. We must be aware that Islamophobia can be unconscious, implicit, and we must take the necessary measures to address this.
We can do this by attending talks that provide a counter narrative so, for example, the charity Medact have provided alternative training to PREVENT in health care online.
We must not passively consume information given to us through PREVENT training.
We must, at the very least, be aware of how traumatic Islamophobia can be. We can carefully and gently ask patients if they or someone they know has been referred to PREVENT, and if so, what impact it had on them. We must encourage victims to report Islamophobic attacks. The non-governmental organization Muslim Engagement and Development, for example, have an Islamophobia response unit that victims can contact to report incidences and for support. Supervisors and line managers must be able to provide pastoral support that is ideally trauma informed. Because Islamophobia is traumatic. They must make themselves emotionally available.
When a Muslim health care professional or student has the courage to speak to them about the emotional impact that Islamophobia has on them and signpost them to the relevant services if and when appropriate and necessary. Validation here is key.

In this step, Dr Hankir answers the question: ‘What can health and social care practitioners do to address the impact of Islamophobia?’

Dr Hankir makes some practical recommendations, beginning with recommending that practitioners ask themselves if they are a source of Islamophobia. This may be a question you want to reflect on privately, perhaps making a note in your reflective diary on your response.


Medact is a UK-based campaigning and advocacy movement for health professionals. Medact conduct research and evidence-based campaigning. You can find out more on their website, where there are open-access reports, videos, and blog posts.

Over to you

Think about the recommendations that Dr Hankir makes in this video. Tell us which one you think you might be able to implement in your work, and why. If you don’t agree with Dr Hankir, tell us why. Please remember to be respectful of the sensitivity of the topic, and to your fellow learners, in your response.

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Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

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