Community in the Time of Corona

Documenting the American Muslim Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

As COVID-19 continues to spread in many communities, ISPU and a group of partners set out to study how American Muslims have been impacted by the pandemic, in a two-phase survey project.The resulting research, Community in the Time of Corona, is an ongoing project that investigates how COVID-19 is impacting the mental health, faith, service work, and other aspects of life for Americans who are Muslim.

Phase 1 includes quantitative measurement of service in each state, which catalogs everything from providing healthcare workers with mental health support to donating much-needed funds to meet the basic needs of families who have been hardest hit by the crisis. It also includes stories of individuals and communities that took action to alleviate or prevent the suffering around them. 

Phase 2 includes a series of reports drilling down into the results of a non-probability, nationally representative online sample of self-identified American Muslims and of the American general public fielded from March 22 – April 8, 2021 by Qualtrics. During the fielding dates, vaccines were becoming widely available, but access was dependent on state, age, and pre-existing health conditions. On March 22 in the United States there were 54,716 cases reported and 648 deaths; on April 8, there were 80,458 cases reported and 1,008 deaths. Topics covered in Phase 2 include mental health, attitudes on vaccines and masking, trust in public officials, affect on lives (job loss, finances, health, and death), among others.

Portrait of man wearing protective face mask looking straight standing on the hilltop above city

Phase 1: American Muslim Responses

Browse Muslim service by state (click a star on the map) or by type (select category boxes to the right of the map).

Types of Service Documented in Phase 1

631

Acts of service from American Muslims logged since March 15, 2020

To examine American Muslim service in depth, ISPU researchers created nine different categories, further broken into a variety of subcategories to accommodate specific service input by survey respondents. These categories were selected based on contributions reported to ensure as many aspects of societal needs were accounted for in the study. Submissions were coded into categories based on details provided by survey respondents.

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Medical support includes healthcare workers and public health officials continuing to serve in their existing positions.

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Food security and basic needs support includes donations of food and household supplies.

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Education includes teachers and administrators providing remote education and organization, from K-12 through university, as well as public educators providing translation services, community education, and more.

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Spiritual support includes faith leaders, counselors, chaplains, and others involved in decision-making at houses of worship, hospitals, and universities providing both community leadership and individual support.

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Safety/PPE/supplies support includes individuals and groups who provided, created, and financed the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical supplies, including sewing masks, donating blood, and fundraising for equipment.

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Technology/innovation includes the creation of new products, like testing kits, ventilators, and PPE, as well as new sterilization and sanitization processes.

A person amid a crowd with their hand up icon

Civic engagement/policy/community leadership includes those who work within their communities to influence decisions impacting public safety, from the closing of worship spaces, to facilitating voting by mail and census completion, to increasing understanding of new federal and state laws.

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Mental health includes providing counseling and resources, as well as creating new avenues for community support during this time of crisis.

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Economic security support includes financial contributions that do not fall into any other category.

Phase 2 Results and Reports

Phase 2 reports include the results of a non-probability, nationally representative online sample of self-identified American Muslims and of the American general public fielded from March 22–April 8, 2021, reflecting a moment when vaccines were fairly new, when they were harder to access, and when medical and other essential personnel, older Americans, and those at high risk who were eligible to get them.

Phase 2 Survey Methodology

Results and reports from Phase 2 will be published throughout Fall 2021 and Spring 2022.

In Their Own Words

“As physicians we often are expected to have all the answers and comfort/reassure others. But the burn out of not being able to show emotional vulnerability and put on a brave face is real. This is the reason I formed the Physician Support Line—a safe place for physicians to discuss their emotional health from colleagues who have the shared experience of medicine but also unique training to provide mental health relief.”

MONA MASOOD, Pennsylvania

“I look after children of essential workers, and also pack school supplies and food packages for families from my school and school district.”

REIES FRANCISCO ROMERO, Minnesota

“I am sewing face masks at the request of my local hospital. I personally have made 810 so far and intend to make hundreds more.”

WHITNEY AKHTAR, Illinois

“As a board member, I am coordinating my masjid’s response to COVID-19. We have implemented a Muslim Food Services initiative to deliver halal meat and groceries to families in need. We are sewing masks for donation to local healthcare facilities.”

SAMEENA ZAHURULLAH, Illinois

“I am an educator. Moving to distance learning has been one of the most challenging transitions for children. I hold my classes, tutorials and I hold social Zoom meetings so students can meet their classmates in a controlled setting and discuss their anxieties and frustrations.”

TARA ZAAFRAN, Texas

Meet the Research Team

Dalia Mogahed

Dalia Mogahed

Director of Research, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Petra Alsoofy

Petra Alsoofy

Outreach & Partnerships Manager, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Erum Ikramullah

Erum Ikramullah

Research Project Manager, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Katherine Coplen

Katherine Coplen

Director of Communications, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Katie Grimes

Katie Grimes

Communication & Creative Media Specialist, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Meet the Research Team

Dalia Mogahed

Dalia Mogahed

Director of Research, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Petra Alsoofy

Petra Alsoofy

Outreach & Partnerships Manager, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Erum Ikramullah

Erum Ikramullah

Research Project Manager, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Katherine Coplen

Katherine Coplen

Senior Communications Manager, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Katie Grimes

Katie Grimes

Communication & Creative Media Specialist, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Partnerships

This project was completed in partnership with the National Muslim Taskforce on COVID-19 (a coalition chaired by AMHP, FCNA, IMANA, and ISNA), U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, Muslim American Society (MAS), Islam in Spanish, National Black Muslim COVID Coalition, and Poligon Education Fund.

American Muslim Health Professionals
Poligon logo - Amplifying Muslim American Voices in Congress
The Fiqh Council of North America
Islam in Spanish logo
US Council of Muslim Organizations
National Black Muslim COVID Coalition logo
Islamic Society of North America
IMANA
Muslim American Society logo
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