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MuslimPro & the

Trauma of Surveillance

What is MuslimPro?

       A mobile app available for iPhone and Android which offers features such as prayer times, Quran, qibla (direction of prayer), duas (supplications) and "comprehensive religious, lifestyle and community features. According to MuslimPro, it is "the most accurate Prayer time & Adhan application recognized by more than 95 million Muslims around the world." On November 16, 2020 Vice Media published a disturbing report: How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps. "A Muslim prayer app with over 98 million downloads is one of the apps connected to a wide-ranging supply chain that sends ordinary people's personal data to brokers, contractors, and the military."

        For many Muslims around the world, this news was incredibly unsettling and downright devastating. The expressed outrage following the release of the Vice Media report was swift and revealed the myriad ways communities attempt to cope with the daily onslaught of targeted discrimination, monitoring, and surveillance.

MuslimPro's privacy and data violation has struck a chord because it strikes at the heart of a spiritual practice that is so central to who we are. It's a devastating betrayal to realize that Muslims were mined for information harmful to us, through a tool that helps us PRAY. Such a disgustingly ugly and cunning trojan horse.

-Dr. Kameelah Rashad

Founder& President, Muslim Wellness Foundation

SURVEILLANCE

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Psychological Impact of Surveillance

 

Surveillance & Trauma

The monitoring and surveillance of American Muslims is a form of psychological warfare. It is designed to induce paranoia, anxiety, hypervigilance, fear and exhaustion. This strategic subtle and overt targeting erodes a community's sense of safety and trust. Ultimately, this warfare has very detrimental mental health consequences. There is no doubt that wide-spread government surveillance of Muslims has caused profound collective trauma. However, we often talk about surveillance in a legal or civil rights framework. Yet, secrecy and unchecked surveillance are eroding the health and stability of Muslim communities across the U.S.

What is Trauma?

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm.

Signs & Symptoms of Trauma

It is critical that we name this data violation & psychic violence as a an individual AND collective trauma - an event that shatters one sense of safety, causing helplessness, fear and despair. Research from the Journal of Muslim Mental Health: “...experiences w/govt surveillance are accompanied by increases in anxiety over future surveillance, avoidance discussing topics that may increase the possibility of surveillance...”

These are just some ways that trauma may show up in one's life - emotionally, physically and spiritually

Emotional

  • Depression, sadness

  • Feeling despair or hopeless

  • Shock, denial or disbelief

  • Anger, irritability, mood swings

  • Emotional numbness, feeling disconnected

  • Anxiety & fear

  • Guilt, shame, self-blame

Physical

  • Fatigue or sleep disturbances (insomnia)

  • Eating disturbances (loss of appetite/overeating

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Edginess and agitation

  • Low energy

  • Racing heartbeat

  • Aches and pains

Spiritual

  • Lack of meaning

  • Feeling empty of cynical

  • Difficulty envisioning a brighter future

  • Feeling a sense of despair or disconnection from God or purpose

  • Thinking "Is God punishing me?" or "Why is this happening?"

ROOTS & WINGS

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Coping with Surveillance Trauma

 

ROOTS & WINGS

ROOTS & WINGS

Coping with Trauma

Our communities are resilient AND are deeply hurt by these experiences of discrimination and harm. In order to begin healing, we have to honor/acknowledge all that we feel. What are some steps we should take to cope?

  • Spiritual Fortification

  • Acknowledgement & Affirmation

  • Digital Security & Safety

Acknowledgment

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm.

Spiritual Fortification

These are just some ways that trauma may show up in one's life - emotionally, physically and spiritually

Digital Safety & Security

Resources & Information

The monitoring and surveillance of American Muslims is a form of psychological warfare. It is designed to induce paranoia, anxiety, hypervigilance, fear and exhaustion. This strategic subtle and overt targeting erodes a community's sense of safety and trust. Ultimately, this warfare has very detrimental mental health consequences. There is no doubt that wide-spread government surveillance of Muslims has caused profound collective trauma. However, we often talk about surveillance in a legal or civil rights framework. Yet, secrecy and unchecked surveillance are eroding the health and stability of Muslim communities across the U.S.

ROOTS & WINGS

Contact Us

7433 Limekiln Pike

Suite 204

Philadelphia, PA 19138

 (267) 571-1730

info@muslimwellness.com

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