Islamophobia, Shame and the Collapse of Muslim Identities by Noha Sadek, M.D.

Negative attitudes toward Muslims have worsened following the acts of terrorism of 9/11 and the 2016 presidential election. What has been the impact of these negative attitudes and acts on contemporary Muslim identities? Dr. Sadek will examine how Islamophobia and the question of Muslim identities have appeared in cultural and media discourses in the West and in the analysis of a Lebanese-American woman who identified as a “secular Muslim.” Sadek will also discuss how Islamophobia, through its creation and propagation of Muslim stereotypes, flattens the depth, diversity and historicity of Muslim identities and induces shame. Driven by shame, Muslims may sever the tie to their cultural background or idealize their religion as in the case of Islamic fundamentalism. While these strategies may protect Muslims from their painful shame, they risk collapsing their identities. Dr. Sadek will also discuss social defenses employed by Muslim communities facing Islamophobia

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the phenomenology of Islamophobia, as a form of prejudice, and its historical context.

2. Assess the impact of prejudice, as in Islamophobia, on individual and collective identities, paying attention to the important role of shame.

3. Analyze the defensive strategies that individuals and communities facing prejudice might employ to manage the prejudice-induced shame.

4. Identify the advantages of helping patients explore and face their prejudice-induced shame in order to integrate disavowed aspects of their identity.

5. Studying the cultural phenomenon of prejudice, as in Islamophobia, will empower psychotherapists to identify and face the unconscious forces at play in their patients and in themselves when encountering a hated or feared “other,” Muslim and otherwise.

Noha Sadek, M.D., is a child psychiatrist, an adult psychoanalyst and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University Medical School. She is in private practice in Providence, RI, where she sees children and adults in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Her writing focuses on the psychology of class across the socioeconomic divide and on the question of identity in contemporary times.

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Date(s) - December 5, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Central Congregational Church
296 Angell Street (Diman Street entrance)
Providence, Rhode Island

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