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Panel Discussion on Faith-Based Healing and Coping Practices Among Afghan Muslims
What will this panel discussion cover?
Connecting to faith, spirituality, and sacred spaces may be an important factor for Afghan newcomers settling into communities across the country. Faith-based supports can decrease social isolation, create a sense of belonging, and help newcomers heal from trauma. This panel discussion will explore how faith-based practices can help Afghan Muslims cope with the impacts of trauma and resettlement stressors, as well as support their transitions into their new communities. Examples of specific community-based programs and faith-based interventions will be provided.

Conceptualizations of mental health and distress among Afghans will also be discussed. Switchboard’s recently published information guide Faith-based Healing among Afghan Muslims will be highlighted as a tool service providers can utilize when working with clients.

Is this panel discussion for me?
This discussion is intended for service providers interested in learning basic guiding principles of Islam and how Afghan Muslims can lean into their faith to cope with challenges and trauma they
have sustained from the refugee journey. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions from a panel of qualified experts.

Why should I participate?
After this panel discussion, participants will be able to:
• Recognize how spirituality and faith-based practices can help Afghan Muslims cope with traumatic and challenging experiences
• Describe faith-based community programs and interventions for Muslim newcomers

Mar 30, 2023 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Dr. Omar Reda
Dr. Omar Reda is a board-certified psychiatrist, Harvard-trained trauma expert, and advocate for the mental health of Muslims, immigrants, and refugees. He is the author of many books including Untangled and The Wounded Healer. Dr. Reda is a highly sought-after public speaker who has consulted for the UN, WHO, and many NGOs working with refugees. He has built healing programs for trauma survivors in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Reda’s passion for healing focuses on tackling the family dysfunction and youth vulnerability resulting from trauma.
Dr. Sedique Popal
Dr. Sedique Popal is the founder and president of the Noor Islamic and Cultural Community Center (NICCC), a nonprofit organization that strives to serve the religious, educational, and social needs of the growing Muslim community of Contra Costa County and surrounding communities in Northern California. Through NICCC, Dr. Popal has helped Afghan refugees secure essential services and items needed as they resettle in the United States. Dr. Popal also started an after-school program for students in grades K–12 to provide youth-based support at NICCC. In addition to his leadership role at NICCC, Dr. Popal is a professor at the University of San Franciso and teaches applied linguistics.
Dr. Jacob Bentley
Dr. Jacob Bentley is a licensed clinical psychologist and acting associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He also serves as a clinical supervisor for an asylum evaluation network in the Seattle area, where he facilitates volunteer medical and mental health evaluations as part of applicants’ asylum legal determination processes. His research focuses on the impacts of forced displacement on the health and well-being of refugees and asylum seekers. He has over 15 years of experience collaborating with refugee communities. Along with many collaborators, he has contributed to the development of a program called Islamic Trauma Healing, a lay-led, faith-based group intervention aimed at addressing trauma-related distress and promoting communal reconciliation.
Madina Masumi
Madina Masumi is a Switchboard Training Officer with a focus on cultural awareness. She is a licensed K–12 school counselor with over a decade of experience serving students from marginalized populations in Fairfax County Public Schools in Northern Virginia. She previously worked as a case manager for public assistance programs. As the daughter of Afghan refugees, Madina has experienced firsthand the challenges of refugee integration. She holds a Master of Education in School Counseling from George Mason University. Madina speaks fluent Dari and is proficient in Spanish.
Aelya Salman
Aelya Salman comes to the International Rescue Committee with a breadth of experience working directly with impacted individuals, particularly newcomers, immigrants, and refugees. In past roles, she has worked on issues of gender inequity, learning differences between immigrant and naturalized children, culturally specific domestic violence prevention, and frontline refugee resettlement. The motivation for her work is the unwavering belief that a better world is always possible. She is originally from Karachi, Pakistan.