The Muslimah Project: A Collaborative Inquiry into Discrimination and Muslim Women’s Mental Health in a Canadian Context [2020]

Prior research in Europe and North America demonstrates that religious discrimination against Muslim people, commonly known as Islamophobia, results in many negative mental health impacts, including depression, anxiety, isolation, and feelings of exclusion (Awan & Zempi, 2015). In Canada, Muslim women face a unique form of discrimination based on their religious, racial, and gender identities (Helly, 2012; Zine, 2008). Grounded in feminist intersectional theory and practice (Hill Collins & Bilge, 2016), the present manuscript emerges from a community‐based project centered on Muslim women’s experiences of discrimination and resulting adverse mental health impacts. Through a series of five focus groups (N = 55), the research team engaged with Muslim women from diverse backgrounds in order to gain a more complete understanding of mental health inequities in Canada. Thematic analyses of focus group data revealed that Muslim women participants regularly experience Islamophobic discrimination and face multiple barriers when attempting to access culturally relevant and responsive supports. Results illuminate the potential of reciprocal, community‐based research to investigate and respond to mental health disparities experienced by Muslim women in Canada.

Brianna Hunt, Ciann L. Wilson, Ghazala Fauzia, Fauzia Mazhar
American Journal of Community Psychology, 27 July 2020