Dealing with the Stress of Negative Media Coverage about Muslims

imagesNegative media coverage about Islam and Muslims is an unfortunate reality of our current era. Such news stories can cause emotional stress on Muslims, especially Muslims who are active in combating stereotypes about Islam and more obviously Muslim people, such as women who wear the headscarf.

Many Muslims may feel intimidated, discouraged and frightened by the continuous negative portrayals of Islam and Muslims. The media is certainly not always to blame, but for many Muslims it seems that the media does not give a care if what or how they portray a story will create a harmful backlash against tolerant, moderate Muslims who are trying to be positive members of their communities.

Here are some ways that I have found useful in dealing with the stress of negative news stories about Muslims:

1. Acknowledge your stress and negative feelings, such as hopelessness, sadness, confusion, fear, etc. Denying that these feelings exist will prevent you from actually overcoming them. Be honest with yourself, and then work through those feelings in order to replace them with more helpful feelings (such as a determination to do something constructive/helpful).

2. Along that line, look for helpful and constructive actions to take, such as posting a facebook article about Islam or about Muslims who are working for positive causes. (Example: when a certain terrorist attack takes place, post a condemnation of this attack by a prominent Muslim group, such as the Council for American Islamic Relations or the Islamic Society of North America).

3. Discover coping skills that work for you. Talk to someone about your feelings, go for a walk, write in a journal, and of course, the number one action to take is to talk to Allah (swt) and pray that He helps you and the ummah in this stressful time.

4. Remember that Allah (swt) is Wise and All-Knowing and that He will reward you for your patience and hardships. Allah is also the Most Kind and Most Merciful; He hears all of your duaas/prayers and He is the source of all help. Whatever happens will happen by His Divine Decree, and we must remember to accept His decree and be patient, while at the same time do our best to improve our situations.

5. Remember that it is normal to feel down sometimes and to feel disheartened by the negative portrayals of Muslims in the media. Just try to find ways to feel better and give yourself hope.

6. Use these stressful times as an opportunity to train yourself to be calm during stressful situations (Chapter 10 of my book).

7. A useful statement I once heard a Shaykh say was something like, “We cannot stop the media from reporting the way they choose to report stories about Muslims, but we can try to be the best examples of Islam that we can be to whoever we meet and interact with.”

May Allah (swt) help us to represent our faith in the best way possible and to please Him, Ameen.


  1. Debra Hamdan

    Dearest Sheima, so glad to get this on Facebook. What a wonderful tool to connect such positive topics. I am so glad you addressed this one. I am thrilled you are ma’shalla writing. It is imparitive we have more of realistic topics addressed. Thanks and May Allah keep you and tour family in his graces.

    1. Sheima (Post author)

      Dearest Aunt Debbie,
      Thank you sooo much for your kind words and encouragement! May Allah bless you and your family!

  2. mustapha

    Your eloquence and your exactitude in choosing words reflect the sincerity of your belief and transmission of it to all those with hearts and minds .
    my Allah grant you more knowledge ,wisdom and everlasting ability to extend this beautiful philosophie that confirms Islam as a true and only religion to follow .

    1. Sheima (Post author)

      Thank you so much for your positive, encouraging words! May Allah bless you and reward you in both worlds

  3. Shahima Shabandri

    Dea can I please know about the value of health…Did islam ask us to value health???

    1. Sheima (Post author)

      Yes dear sister:
      “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.”

      The Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Bukhari Vol 8, Book 76, No 421

      Let us be thankful for our health and free time!

      “Whoever among you wakes up secure in his property, healthy in his body, and he has his food for the day, it is as if he were given the entire world.”

      The Prophet Muhammad as recorded in Tirmidthi


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