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Why is it important to recognise diversity among Muslims?

Why is it important to recognise diversity among Muslims?
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In previous sections, we’ve taken a look at Muslims, the beliefs of Islam, Muslims in Britain and the, some of the challenges that we need to be aware of for this community. What I’d like to speak about a little bit in this section here is the importance of recognising the diversity of the Muslim community, both in the UK and, of course, across the world. For those of you who are listening from outside the U.K. It’s really important to recognise that the Muslim community is not a monolith. There is a lot of diversity that exists within the community and a great number of disparities.
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As such, one can’t make assumptions about major beliefs subsidiary beliefs, types of practices, degrees of engagement and integration and so forth. Because of this, it’s really important for health professionals and social care professionals to be patient led or service user led. At the same time, opening up the space for conversations about mental health. As such, there may also be a diversity of levels of comfort in broaching the subject of mental health. Bearing all of this in mind, as a health professional in particular, is important because guided questions are really useful in allowing that patient to feel comfortable and for them to know that assumptions are not being made about them necessarily.
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You might find yourself for example, seeing a young, a young Muslim man with an earring, wearing modern clothing and so forth, and find as you speak to them that they’re actually deeply religious and that their mental health has a lot to do with their understanding of their faith. At the same time, you might find a person who dresses in a very traditional way, but yet their mental health or the issues that they’re facing have very little to do with their beliefs and practices. This is all about those taps that we spoke about a little bit earlier on, the basin and the taps.
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Ultimately, what we’re trying to do here is work out which tap is on and how much it’s on in order to get a sense of this. So it’s important to recognise diversity and diversity exists. Let’s get on to talk about what some of those features are now.

In this step, Dr Yusuf explains why it is important for practitioners who provide mental health support to recognise diversity among Muslims.

There can be significant differences between Muslims in their levels of religiosity. For example, how important religion beliefs are in their everyday life, or how frequently they pray. Religious practices and beliefs of Muslims were described in Activity 4: ‘Muslims in Britain’.

And, as you learnt in Activity 5, Muslims are subject to different surrounding circumstances for example, because of experiences of migration or their socio-economic circumstances. These factors can affect both their experiences of mental health, and of mental support.

Dr Yusuf reminds practitioners not to make assumptions about the importance of religion in the lives of Muslims. He recommends that practitioners are patient, or service-user led, and advocates the use of guided questions. Through asking these questions, it can become possible for practitioners to understand if, and how, bio-psycho-social and spiritual factors are causing mental health problems.

Over to you

Can you think of a simple question you could ask to find out more about someone’s religious beliefs and practices? Try asking a friend or colleague this question. Share your question, and your experience of asking the question in the comments below.

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Understanding Muslim Mental Health

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