Reducing Islamophobia Through Apology and Afghan Resettlement Support

These 2 developments should help counter any potential rising Islamophobia.

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

Given the homicide bombing as the United States withdrew from Afghanistan amidst the resurgence of the Taliban, there seemed to be a risk for rising Islamophobia. Two recent developments should help to counter that.

As the Jewish High Holy Days of Awe approached, with apologizing to others a priority, the American Defamation League (ADL) apologized for opposing the proposed Islamic Community Center and Mosque near Ground Zero 11 years ago. Known as the Cordoba House, it was promised to promote interfaith dialogue. Ironically, it was modeled after Jewish Community Centers, as well as the renowned Jewish cultural center, the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, where the co-editors and I were invited to speak about our edited books on Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and psychiatry. Instead, the space became another condominium tower.

The CEO of the ADL also voiced concern for Islamophobia escalating as Muslim Afghan evacuees who helped us in Afghanistan resettle in America. In a much more positive recent response, various refugee resettlement organizations report that the American people are contributing unanticipated and unprecedented financial support and practical supplies.

Certainly, our mental health care will also be needed. Unresolved grief from losses and a range of posttraumatic stress disorder intensity due to trauma will require outreach and culturally congruent services. Clearly, the Muslims from Afghanistan should not by any means be viewed, feared, or scapegoated as a monolithic group.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.