Black/African Americans represent 25% of the American Muslim population, the single largest racial group in this religious community. However, Black Muslims experience intersectional or “acute” invisibility as they are not perceived as typical members of the American Muslim community, with Arab and South Asian Muslims viewed as the norm; or of the Black community, in which Christianity is the dominant religion. Black Muslims also experience marginalization due to anti-Black sentiment within the Muslim community. The unique vulnerabilities of being Black and Muslim in the United States are significant. However, in the face of anti-Black racism and anti-Muslim bigotry, Black Muslims often draw upon faith and deeply rooted spirituality, ancestral knowledge and cultural identities to strive towards restoring meaning, health and balance in their lives. In a post-9/11, post-Ferguson Trump era, it is important to discuss the cultural and spiritual resilience which have strengthened Black Muslims through the centuries and the strategies/coping mechanisms that will serve the community as they face new threats to their collective well being.

The Deeply Rooted Project will focus on addressing the “acute social invisibility” which affects the mental health of Black Muslims, particularly in light of rising anti-Muslim bigotry and ongoing racial violence and trauma in the Black community. It will also seek to enhance protective factors which mitigate these stressors and promote positive psychological well-being. By leveraging the effectiveness of community based education on reducing mental health stigma, Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF) proposes a series of interrelated activities designed to build the capacity of community leaders and lay people to recognize and alleviate the negative impact of anti-Muslim bigotry and racism on Black Muslims.

Deeply Rooted Project Activities: