How American Muslims coped with 9/11 aftermath

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Washington, Dec 23 (ANI): 'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind' is a famous aphorism by Albert Einstein.

Now a Tel Aviv University researcher is exploring the link between these two realms in the Muslim world and says religion can be used in the clinical setting as an important coping tool for life stressors.

Since 9/11, U.S. Muslims have faced an increasing number of security checks, harassment, and verbal abuse, according to a survey conducted by Clinical psychologist Dr Hisham Abu-Raiya of Tel Aviv University's Bob Shapell School of Social Work who surveyed 138 American Muslims, asking how they coped with these new stressors.

He is investigating how various Islamic beliefs and practices impact the psychological well-being of its adherents.

During his post-doctoral studies at New York University, Abu-Raiya had witnessed firsthand how 9/11 impacted the Muslim community.

For this study, he investigated the high volume of negative events experienced by American Muslim participants.

The large majority reported experiencing at least one stressful interpersonal event after the 9/11 attacks, including anti-Muslim insults, special security checks in airports, and verbal harassment.

Abu-Raiya is attempting to scientifically quantify how the after-effects of the 9/11 attacks have affected mental well-being among American Muslims and what therapeutic role Islam plays, hoping to identify a clinical path for recovery.

Participants in general reportedly increased religious practices such as prayer, fasting, mosque attendance, and Quran reading following the 9/11 attack.

Those who described feeling isolated from others and their community was more likely to report feelings of anger and depression. They were more likely to doubt God or their faith, and to express the possibility that God was punishing them.

Religion can be used explicitly in the clinical setting as an important coping tool for life stressors, said Abu-Raiya, adding that the story of Job from the Quran - the same story that appears in the Old Testament - was particularly useful in guiding one patient through a long-term depression.

Because all religions share universal values, Abu-Raiya's study of Islam on the emotional well-being of patients in a clinical setting can certainly be applied to other religions, including Judaism and Christianity.

"Religion can offer an immense amount of support to the individual and community," said Abu-Raiya.

"My findings can help clinicians identify the kind of behavior that leads to positive responses-and how to help patients better reach their goal of healing," he added.

The findings were reported in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality in October. (ANI)

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