AMHP Meets with Senior White House Officials to Discuss the Rise in Islamophobia
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 – American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) Founder and President, Arshia Wajid, alongside other American-Muslim leaders met with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, and other White House officials earlier this week to discuss the rise in Islamophobia and its impact on the American-Muslim community.
In the current wave of anti-Muslim hysteria, even Muslim health professionals are not immune to bigotry or racial hatred. Recently, a Muslim physical therapist in Southern California approached a patient. The patient refused treatment and asked the physical therapist if he was a terrorist.
“When health professionals who are caregivers and healers in our society are subject to prejudice, it impacts their morale and creates a sense of helplessness,” remarked Wajid. She cited a recent study published in the American Journal of Bioethics which stated that nearly 24% of American-Muslim physicians experienced religious discrimination frequently over their career.
Wajid commented that this statistic only accounts for Muslim physicians, and does not reflect bias against other Muslim healthcare professionals or those who work in various sectors of the economy. She requested the Administration to mandate cultural sensitivity education to create a more inclusive and welcoming work environment.
Anti-Muslim hysteria has resulted in a high degree of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. “The stereotypes and religious bigotry American-Muslims face only further alienates individuals suffering from these issues and inhibits them from seeking treatment,” she explained.
“Whether it is at the workplace, school grounds or our neighborhoods where we encounter negative rhetoric or physical harassment, the community overall feels unsafe,” said Wajid. Given the rise in Islamophobia, which has a direct impact on the mental and physical health of American-Muslims, she urged White House officials to invest more in mental health services and resources.
AMHP is grateful for the opportunity to voice concerns on the psychosocial impact resulting from the rise in anti-Muslim bigotry and looks forward to continued engagement with the Administration.