June 27, 2017

Young and Muslim in times of fear

What impact are the recent Islamophobic attacks having on Muslim youth?

“If I am murdered, know I saw it coming. I suspected it, feared it, obsessed over it even. Never had the privilege of being oblivious and carefree. Sure, I could assume it’ll never be me, but my demographics don’t allow for such folly. I can’t sit here as a woman, a black woman, a black Muslim woman and never consider that I may find my way into someone’s crosshairs.” These are the words of Nadirah Hangail written after the attack on the Finsbury Park mosque in London; after the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen.

These events have created a conversation about mental health among youth in the Muslim community, especially if people are being targeted for their faith, and the way they express it. At vigils for Nabra Hassanen, young mourners shared how easily her fate could have been their own. Joshua Salaam is Chaplain at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), the mosque and community Nabra belonged to. He recently shared that many young people from that community are afraid to walk outside, and are experiencing nightmares and issues related to the trauma of Nabra’s killing.  

The fears of these young people are not unfounded. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a research and education center at the University of Maryland, believe that Muslims are in fact the most likely victims of terrorism worldwide. And in the United States, the Council on American Islamic Relations found that hate crimes targeting Muslim Americans were up nearly 600 percent from 2014 to 2016.

Join our discussion on the trauma, and toll, Islamophobic attacks take on the mental health and emotional well-being of young Muslims.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with: 

Shefa Ahsan @shefaahsan

Nadirah Angail  @nadirahangail

Muhbeen Hussain @MuhbeenH
Founder, British Muslim Youth

Fatima Mirza
Supervisee of social work, Pastoral Counseling 

What impact are the recent Islamophobic attacks having on the mental health of Muslim youth? Leave your thoughts below.