Asma Khan

Asma Khan

I am Research Fellow in British Muslim Studies at the Islam-UK Centre, Cardiff University. I am interested in socio-economic inequalities, migration, and the everyday lives of British Muslims.

Location UK


  • Thanks for the feedback @ZitaMahmood, all very helpful for us.

  • Hi Sharon, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think it's important to think about language and consider whether we might be perpetuating negative stereotypes when we share our thoughts. 'Huge' families might be replaced with larger than average families - not all Muslim families have 7 children! And Muslim women face a number of barriers to work, which might...

  • Hi Atiya. I hope you are enjoying your learning journey.

  • Welcome Sarah. I hope you enjoy your learning journey.

  • Welcome to the course Antje.

  • Hi Lorraine. I hope you enjoy the course.

  • Hello Teresa, welcome to the course.

  • Hi Tracey, welcome to the course.

  • Hi Julie, welcome to the course. Thanks for introducing yourself.

  • Hi Eevi-Helena, welcome to the course.

  • Welcome to the course Michaela. I hope you find it useful.

  • Welcome to the course Fanny.

  • Welcome to the course Musarah.

  • Welcome to the course Mohammed. I hope it's useful for your very important work.

  • Welcome to the course, Atia. I hope you find it useful.

  • Welcome to the course Sharon. I hope the course is beneficial for you, and those you support.

  • Welcome the course Sarah, I hope you find it informative and enjoyable.

  • Welcome to the course Izees

  • Thanks @AzizaDar. The Centre for Media Monitoring indeed do some important work. Here is a link for those who might want to find out more:

  • @KarenSaxl That is an interesting interpretation @KarenSaxl, thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you for sharing your question @ZainabR, it is an important one. You''ll find some suggestions and points for consideration throughout the course and particularly in Week 4. Please do continue sharing your ideas and questions :)

  • Welcome to the course @FionaMillen, we hope you find it informative and helpful in your work.

  • @JusnaKhanom you are quite, colonisation had a huge impact on migration trajectories and experiences and there is a whole body of literature on this. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to delve into the important topics of colonisation/decolonisation in the space of the course. Following some of the links to further reading should allow learners to look more...

  • Thank you for adding to the conversation @FAITHINWELL-BEING.

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences here @FarahAhmed

  • Do you mean British-born and/or educated by "modern" Muslims @DebraWinstanley?

    Even the most educated Muslims might hold a strong belief in the supernatural in ways that influence their daily life. This is not necessarily problematic, and can support better mental health.

    Attributing mental health problems to jinn possession is more common amongst some...

  • Belief in the supernatural, including Jinn, is part of the Islamic tradition and one that most Muslims will hold. However, the belief that Jinn can cause or explain mental health problems is problematic, and might be the result of misinterpretation or misunderstanding of religious texts. It can lead to stigma and prevent people from seeking professional...

  • I really like it is a holistic perspective too @DebraWinstanley, and certainly not one just for work!

  • Great to see perspectives from other countries, I wonder if other learners have found differences from the British context too? Thanks for sharing @AaronReidenbach

  • Welcome to the course @SophieLouiseBamber! We hope you find it informative and enjoyable.

  • Hi @OmemaKam - these are important questions. The roles of mosques and imams in mental health support and promotion are covered in more detail later in the course.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts @OmemaKam - practical considerations are important to keep in mind.

  • Thank you for sharing your reflections here and throughout the course @AaronReidenbach, I'm really pleased that you have found it a space where you felt able to do so, and that you are motivated to encourage greater dialogue in your practice sphere as a result.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts here @SarahF. Definitions of mental health problems certainly seem like a continuous work in progress, as they perhaps should be - reflecting upon terminology and what it means to different people is an important part of understanding experiences.

  • It is, and from our conversations and research, we can see that Imam's would value the opportunity for such training. Again, however, it is important to remember that mental health support is only one aspect of their work.

  • Thanks for sharing your ideas @trishbutler - I think they sound great and mutually supportive and beneficial.

    It is important to remember however that Imams roles are often much wider than the provision of mental health support, for example, they oversee congregational prayers and have a role to play in all the births, deaths and marriages in their...

  • Great to see you sharing your thoughts and reflections @LilyDryburgh-Smith, and yes, we do hope that this course is part of a wider conversations around minority religious beliefs too.

  • Thanks for the signposting to the Imams project @RodericVassie. This is an ongoing study and the results from it are currently being analysed ready for dissemination. Dr Timol and Dr Sidat have shared some of their early findings with the us in this course, publications and other resources will be available from the project in the future.

  • @RifaatRafiq There isn't a single national body of mosques, even with regional councils of mosques there are some mosques that are members in a given area whilst others are not. This makes it difficult to spread a single message but it may be possible through working closely with those who are aware of these nuances and differences, and can work across...

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts here @RifaatRafiq. Could you say a little more about why it can be difficult to focus on spirituality in your setting?

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts here @KarenSaxl. I wonder why you wouldn't carry it over into a professional setting. Would sharing spiritual beliefs such as these make it easier for others to do the same?

    I know when I saw your comment it reminded me that Dr Ali and I have a running joke ever since he observed that I touch wood (when there is some...

  • I guess this would vary from individual to individual, and from community to community. Dependent mainly on their perspective of being a 'good Muslim' - later, in Week 2, Dr Rothman talks about this being about the journey, and not the destination. But how this is understood on an individual level might be very different.

  • @AaronReidenbach I would suggest that any methodology that takes a holistic approach, and one which is mindful of religion/spirituality, would be appropriate. I wonder if other learners have specific suggestions?

  • @DebraWinstanley Later in the course, in Week 4, we explain a little more about how imam's come across, and support, those experiencing mental health problems. I hope this might give you a sense of the approachability of imams and how they work. My sense is that your approach would be welcomed and that many imam's are looking for opportunities to learn more...

  • This is great to hear @DebraWinstanley

  • Thank you for sharing your experience @AzizaDar - it is really informative for us to know more about how religion can be a source of support in everyday lives.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts here @KarenSaxl. The BPS model, or the BPSS model in this course, include physiological considerations alongside the others. Throughout the course, practitioners give examples of how they try to take all of these factors into consideration.

  • Welcome to the course @AylaMueen . We hope you enjoy your learning journey.

  • That's an interesting question Aaron and I think it would vary from community to community. I would suggest that perhaps reaching out and beginning conversations to form a better understanding might be an approach professionals might take as a starting point.

    I wonder whether other learners have any suggestions?

  • @AaronReidenbach great to hear your perspective from a different working context Aaron. How do you think people working within these systems could most effectively become better-informed?

  • @RachelBeadle Thanks for sharing your ideas here Rachel. I would say that the other 90% is perhaps a mixture of community organisations and informal social networks (friends, social groups, families etc). Joint working seems like a positive idea to me. VCS organisations do some amazing work with the ability to develop relationships of trust over time.

  • @AaronReidenbach Mosque are an important point of contact with Muslim communities. The ways in which these spaces are used can differ according to ethnicity, gender, and generation. In Week 4 we'll learn more about these spaces and how they might be able to support the promotion of mental good mental health support and support-seeking.

  • @RachelBeadle This is exactly the outcome we would hope for learners Rachel, easier conversations about religion and mental health. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  • @AmySanderson really positive to hear you already have this appreciation of diversity in interpretation. Thanks for sharing.

  • @AaronReidenbach thanks for sharing this information about your own context, it's great to hear about some differences and similarities. I was particularly interested in the socio-economic mix your describe.

  • Some of it can be attributed to those factors. It is also important to bear in mind that while Islamic scriptures may acknowledge the importance of mental health and seeking support and treatment where required, this is not necessarily reflected in lived experiences and everyday practices within Muslim communities. Perhaps because of differences in...

  • Thanks for sharing your question and reflections from your own practice here @trishbutler. From your own experience, would you say that all (or many) mental health support providers (specialist or not) take a similar approach to yours?

  • @AmandaBevan Thank you for introducing yourself Amanda, it's great to see such a wide range of learners on the course. Please do keep sharing your ideas and questions!

  • @trishbutler thanks for sharing your thoughts Trish. Mental health certainly seems to be more complex than that which can be easily observed or measured :)

  • @trishbutler great to hear your practice perspective Trish. It's great to hear that you feel confident to reach out to those with religious knowledge to find out more. I hope the course will give you some ideas around how to do this (particularly in Week 4).

  • @MiziRahman These are great insights, thank you for sharing. It's great to hear different perspective from outside the UK.

  • @trishbutler Thank you for sharing your reflection Trish. Absolutely, it is important to remember that not all mental health problems are diagnosed.

  • @RachelBeadle Thank you for your comments Rachel. We are so pleased you have found the course helpful. You have added some great reflections and thought-provoking questions to the conversations.

    I do hope that participating in conversations as part of the course is a helpful starting point for you and all our learners. And, perhaps, identified some...

  • @trishbutler thanks for sharing your reflections here.

  • I think Grenfell highlighted the vulnerability of BME communities and is an extreme example of the ways in which socio-economic disadvantage can be harmful to health and wellbeing. Thanks for sharing your reflection @MartinH

  • @AmySanderson Thank you for sharing this information about your experiences in Bradford. It's interesting to note how the nature of migration has changed over time there. Indeed, transnational relationships and obligations form part of the British-Pakistani experience. I wonder if this is different in other British cities and towns?

  • @MohamedMunsoor Thank you for sharing this resource.

  • Even if their knowledge about mental health support is not well-informed, or framed in a different way, can close social networks can still be important sources of support? Can these networks even learn more about mental health problems, and correct any unhelpful misconceptions, through their experiences of providing this support?

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences @HannahFarr, I hope the course is helpful in your efforts toward collaboration and greater understanding. Do comment if you have tried any of the approaches introduced in the course, and let us know has works (or doesn't work) in your experience.

  • @DSusiMiller Thank you for sharing your reflections and positive outlook. I hope the course gives you an opportunity to consider some ways in which this positive change might occur. It sounds like you're doing some great work!

  • @RodericVassie that is an interesting question. In both cases, for me, I would frame their experiences in terms of their vulnerability, rather than ignorance, and would think that responses might be framed in terms of building resilience and identifying sources of support for this. I would worry that labelling their misconceptions as 'ignorant' would put up a...

  • Hi @AimanTariq Welcome to the course, we hope you enjoy your learning journey with us.

  • @RobinaKoser and @ShamsaAslam welcome to the course! We hope you enjoy your learning journey.

  • No offence taken, do carry on sharing your questions!

    Islam does recommend certain gender roles for the wellbeing of families and communities. There is lots of subjective interpretation of these among individuals, households and communities. Sometimes these interpretations are more related to ethnic cultures than they are to Islamic scripture. So not Muslim...

  • Thanks for sharing your experience @HananBasher

  • @AaronReidenbach Welcome to the course. We hope you find it informative and enjoyable. Great to see the wide range of practice backgrounds of learners on the course!

  • Thanks for sharing your reflections @AaronReidenbach

  • @RachelBeadle That's an interesting reflection. I wonder what other learners think?

  • Making the links between Islamic and mainstream/Western conceptions of mental health is a complex task and a work in progress. And not one without contention!

    Muslim communities have only been established in Britain since the 1960s and the needs of Muslim communities from their religious leaders have changed over time. Imams are increasingly coming across...

  • As Dr Ali explained in Week 1, and he goes further in explanation in Week 4, imams receive theological training in scriptural studies and not in pastoral care, including providing mental health support. They are often expected to pick this important element of their work up 'on the job' and over years of experience. There are lots of branches of Islamic...

  • @RachelBeadle Thank you for sharing this experience, I am sure it is helpful for other learners to put some of the knowledge into the everyday practice context.

  • Great to have you sharing your reflections @RachelBeadle. Is there a particular mode (practice or belief) of Islamically-inclusive that you 've come across that you would consider incorporating? What further information would you need before doing so? (other than important ethical considerations that you mention)

  • Akhlak is very knowledgeable and kind! It's a real honour to have him contribute to the course.

  • @KhadijahConteh welcome to the course, we hope you find it useful and enjoyable.

  • I am just going to pop a link to the FutureLearn code of conduct here, as a reminder for all.

  • I suggest that labelling someone's deeply held beliefs as ignorant is not conducive to the type of relationship needed to understand their experiences and perspectives, and to support them to make positive changes in their lives and achieve improved mental health. It is also unhelpful to achieving and effecting the changes required to improve understandings...

  • @RodericVassie I would consider rephrasing your comment about "BAME patient's ignorant opinion". Perhaps consider how someone with a mental health problem who feels that it is related to their religious beliefs would feel upon reading this.

    A GP taking into account a patient's experience and understanding of their pain would not be untoward (I believe)....

  • Hi @trishbutler please see the signposting suggestions to find out more about Dr Mir's work, she's been popping into the course regularly so might be able to give some additional guidance.

  • Unfortunately, sometimes all we have are apples and pears of different shapes and sizes to draw some conclusions. There is certainly space to improve the evidence base.

    The Islam-UK Centre has not conducted any original research in relation to mental health in the production of this course. Instead, we have used our platform and resources to draw together...

  • @RodericVassie There is limited data available specifically around differences by religious group because information on religion is rarely included in national datasets relating to health and healthcare. Even data on ethnicity, that allows us to draw some conclusions for religiously homogenous ethnic groups of Muslims, is patchy. This is made clear in Step...

  • Hi @RachelBeadle - no such thing as an ignorant question! Can I ask what you mean by ‘apparent intolerances imposed by the Muslim culture’? Ethnic diversity among Muslims and differences in interpretations of Islamic texts mean that it would be hard to identify a singular Muslim culture. Perhaps an example might help to explain what you mean.

  • @ThereseGrace That is a shame, perhaps you might take a little time to reconsider before leaving the course? We have valued your input throughout and I believe you are close to completing. Both religion and mental health are sensitive topics and we would like to facilitate positive and productive conversations around both. Comments are moderated if they do not...

  • @ThereseGrace I really value the respectful way in which you are sharing your perspective, reflecting on your position to articulate your views and asking questions rather than making assertions. This is not an easy thing to do.

    I would urge all learners to be respectful to what might be a different perspective. Perhaps think about the comment and what you...

  • @SarahDarby Really pleased to hear that the course is prompting reflection for you Sarah.

  • @TayyebTahir thank you. I do hope you find time to fill in the course survey to give your feedback on the course. We will review all feedback there.

  • @AnnieHall Thanks for your comment - we decided to use a term that had a common shared understanding throughout, for the wide range of people taking the course. I am sorry that you found it didn't always encompass your own understanding.

    I am really pleased to see that you completed the course, I hope you found it helpful.

  • Hi @NeslihanIlhan welcome to the course, we hope you enjoy your learning journey.

  • I think, and as other learners have pointed out, it is and should be. However, practitioners may be hesitant to ask about spirituality because of a lack of familiarity with particular religious beliefs. By adding it as a specific dimension it may remind, and support, practitioners of its importance for some groups.

  • @ThereseGrace Thanks for sharing your reflection here. It is indeed complex but I think with the right approach, and more time than we often give to building relationships, it might be possible to reach a wider range of people.

  • Welcome to the course @trishbutler. Great to see your comments around the course, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and learning from your expertise.