Pioneering research seeks to understand American-Muslim perspective on Islamophobia

  Patricia M. Rodriguez Mosquera, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT is conducting the second phase of her research on the psychological consequences of Islamophobia with the help of CAIR-Chicago.

The first phase of the study discovered that negative emotional experiences of Muslims are linked to their perceived negative social image in American society. There is a suggestion that these negative perceptions are gendered, with American-Muslims viewing the negative social image of Muslim men stereotyped as ‘aggressive’ whilst the perception of women is that they are ‘oppressed’.

The second phase of the study is looking deeper into the gendered pattern of the responses. Using different questionnaires, Dr. Rodriguez Mosquera is asking male and female participants separately how they perceive the social image of Muslim men and Muslim women and if they identify as a merely a “Muslim” or as a “Muslim man” or “Muslim woman.” Participants are also being asked how they feel about these negative stereotypes in US society.

“This data is very important because psychology's approach to American-Muslims is very narrow,” said Dr. Rodriguez Mosquera, emphasizing the significance of the research. “It does not yet recognize the complexities of American-Muslims' experiences in US society, and American-Muslims' own perspective in dealing with Islamophobia and inaccurate representations of their group. With this project, we hope to bring this perspective into academic psychology. As a cultural psychologist, I am committed to the perspectives of the communities I work with.”

The study is using data collected from surveys handed out to Muslims by CAIR-Chicago volunteers at the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA) 48th Annual Convention, the largest of its kind in North America. The event, which took place from July 1 – 4 2011 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, saw 303 surveys completed.

As the study is on-going, Dr. Rodriguez Mosquera is still taking survey submissions. If you are interested in participating then please contact her via email prodriguezmo@wesleyan.edu