Muslim Youth Identity

On December 2nd, 2015, AMHP’s Chair of Mental Health Education, Rukhsana Chaudhry, convened a group of speakers to discuss their experience forming their identity as Muslim youth and how they work with youth around the country. Each of these speakers delivered Ted-style talks on how their experiences formed their identity in the context of stereotypes and prejudice which they have faced. Aman Ali, a noted storyteller and comedian, from New York discussed his way of coping over the years and pursuing a creative career despite obstacles from his own cultural group and beyond and he described this as learning that ultimately you have to make a choice to “just be you.” He also talked about the need to tell the stories of American Muslims because these stories are not being told and this perpetuates stereotypes and prejudice. He is now working across the country to highlight stories of Muslim American youth in differing communities to highlight the diversity and struggles that exist in varied communities through his YouTube show titled, “Homegrown Homies.”

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What are we up to now?

The Muslim Youth Identity (MYI) event which took place on December 2nd in Washington, D.C. was a huge success and the AMHP Mental Health Team would like to to maintain the momentum that was garnered from the event by hosting similar events throughout the country. We received several inquiries about coordinating similar Ted-style events modeled after the MYI event in Washington D.C.  We are now seeking individuals from a diverse set of geographical areas who are interested in hosting an MYI in their city.  If you or someone you know is interested in coordinating a #MuslimYouthIdentity event in your area, please send an email to mentalhealth@amhp.us and visit this link to fill out the appropriate form. We’re always on the lookout for smart, savvy young leaders as well who can deliver a valuable lesson or two — and we’d like your help by nominating a speaker of your choice.

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Media Coverage

  • Young Muslims Discuss Identity Amid Trump Call for Ban

It’s hard enough to be a young per­son today, but es­tab­lish­ing a sense of iden­tity and find­ing a com­munity be­comes even more com­plic­ated for Muslim youth when people like Don­ald Trump make ag­gress­ive, fac­tu­ally du­bi­ous blanket state­ments about Is­lam and gain fol­low­ers in the pro­cess. Read More

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#MuslimYouthIdentity

MYI Events:

These events were led by youth speakers who shared their personal experiences of forming their Muslim identity in a climate of prejudice and Islamophobia. More MYI events are planned in 2017.

Impact of Islamophobia PanelIn April 2016, AMHP coordinated a panel on the impact of Islamophobia on mental health which was part of the larger Islamophobia Conference held at Boalt Law School in Berkeley, California.

Mental Health Awareness MonthIn May 2016, AMHP, the Family & Youth Institute, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Imam Sohaib Sultan from Princeton University shared their insights on what the American Muslim community can do to reduce the stigma around mental health and help our loved ones get the care they need.

Anti-Bullying Committee – In November 2016, AMHP convened a committee that assessed existing anti-bullying efforts and resources, identify gaps that need to be filled, and promote collaboration among organizations.

  • National Interfaith Anti-Bullying Summit: The primary objective of the Summit is to share information, current best practices and research about an increasingly serious problem facing children from various faith backgrounds

Health & Fitness Camp AMHP hosted its first ever Health & Fitness Camp at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Former NBA Player, Mahmud Abdul-Rauf and NBAA Player, Bilquis Abdul-Qadir, were featured guests at the camp. The camp was intended to promote the mental, physical and spiritual health of youth between the ages of 12-18 years.

Suicide Prevention ToolkitSubmitted Islamic perspective on suicide prevention for National Suicide Prevention Toolkit

Mental Health First Aid TrainingCollaborated with Muslim Wellness Foundation in September 2014 to conduct a groundbreaking training for imams, chaplains, and community leaders in Washington, D.C., on understanding mental health issues from an Islamic perspective, reducing stigma and responding to crises.

Meetings with SAMHSA & HHSCoordinated meetings with Senior Officials from ISNA, SAMHSA and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in September 2012 and 2013 to elevate the discourse on mental health in the American Muslim community.

Matters of the Mind Series Conducted “Matters of the Mind” series and reached audience of 150 at All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Northern Virginia

Award and RecognitionDr. Rukhsana Chaudhry, Chair of Mental Health Programming, received an appreciation award for AMHP’s “great contribution to developing a network of the health providers and for the services rendered to the community” and for AMHP’s contribution to “mental health awareness and research” at the annual Muslim Mental Health Conference at Michigan State University.