Research finds Muslims are uniquely bonded by a shared community – an ummah

Muslims are uniquely bonded by a shared community—an ummah, according to researchers at Sussex University. 18 Muslim respondents had in depth interviews, to provide a more through understanding of the impact of hate crimes, and to gain the personal insight into the effects of hate crimes.

Researchers of this study have described this as “vicarious trauma”, where people experience the pain that others have faced. The study looked at the impact of Islamophobic hate crimes on British Muslims, and Professor Mark Walters, the lead author of the study, explained how what was found was that “Muslim communities experience a strong moral bond that was based on a shared cultural and religious belief system. This was linked to the concept of brotherhood (noted by several of our interviewees), or “ummah” which means “community of believers”.’

Muslims are likely to experience this vicarious trauma on not just a local and national level, but international levels to, if they hear or read about another Muslim being victimised. According to the researchers, this “shared suffering: is likely to be experienced as a direct result of them being “different”. Therefore, the idea of a community for these individuals was not just spatial or institutional practice, but also specific to their group identity, which in turn “gave rise to greater levels of empathy with those with whom they shared a central identity”.


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