About Me

Dr. Masuma Rahim is a Clinical Psychologist based in London. She has worked with a range of mental health problems across the lifespan and has extensive experience of working with offenders and those who present with a range of complex issues. She is forever banging on about the importance of communicating science, and in particular the mysteries of psychology, to the world at large. This blog is her attempt to do so.

6 comments

  1. A few thoughts on your recent piece in The Guardian. Journalists should be concerned with the truth of the matter. The truth is that seriously mentally ill people should not be put in the position of flying jet liners. If you insist on dancing around the facts of mental illness rather that addressing them clearly, you are hindering, not helping, peoples’ understanding.

    Yes, there is a stigma surrounding mental illness. The stigma which wrongly thinks mental illness is somehow a character flaw. It is not a character flaw. It is an illness, which many times leads its sufferers to do irrational things. Don’t try to minimize the seriousness of the illnesses.

    By taking it seriously we can work to improve the help we give its sufferers. And we can improve our measures to make sure they are not put behind the controls of a passenger liner.

  2. Dear Ms Rahim,

    I wanted to comment on your recent Guardian article but comments were closed so I thought I would write to you, and would love to hear your thoughts:

    I was Christened and when I was growing up my family was in the Church of Scotland. I suppose at a stretch you might say we were ‘liberal, secular Christians’. We didn’t have strong feelings about it and we drifted away from it because it just seemed inconsistent with the modern world.

    The thing is, we would have drifted away very much quicker if Christianity was in the state Islam is in at the moment, if Christian societies all over the world were at war over religion and Christian fundamentalists had for instance machinegunned the whole Monty Python team for making ‘Life of Brian’. We would have run out and bought ‘I’m an atheist’ T-shirts.
    Yet people all over the world don’t seem to be drifting away from Islam as they have from Christianity, on the contrary they seem to be clinging more intensely to it. I don’t understand this, it frightens me and makes me worry for the future.

    I am very sorry if you feel threatened or harassed, and I completely condemn the types of abuse you mention in your article. I just wonder to what extent you understand that many non Muslims simply find Islam as a whole a frightening phenomenon? For instance don’t many of the young Jihadis come from families who are quite normal, non fundamentalist Muslims. Ideologies have, as it were, a life of their own, and it is the ideology rather than individuals that people are afraid of.

    Best friendly regards,

    Douglas Gibb

    1. Dear Douglas

      Many thanks for reading the piece and for taking the time to comment.

      I understand that, to many non-Muslims, the idea of Islam is frightening. If I – with a lifetime of familiarity with Islam and the Quran – find extremists intimidating, to say the least, I can only guess at the fear which must abound if Islam is an unfamiliar belief system. It is for these reasons that I think the fear-mongering we see so often is one of the main issues, and why I think we need to work to reduce its impact as much as possible.

      I can’t say I have all the answers, sadly. But I think that if we can maintain some kind of society in which we try to remember the things which unite us, rather than focusing on the things which divide, we might have a chance.

      Regards

      Masuma

  3. Hi Masuma, I know this isn’t the ideal place for this and I’m sorry. I used to follow you on Twitter (I was a llama and then a fox) and although I’m no longer on there I always appreciated your tweets – both about psychology and myriad other things.

    I read your Guardian piece and I was so sorry to read it. I know there is nothing I can say that will change anything. However, I would like to offer to you the solidarity you have shown to me (and others with mental health problems). You have been prepared to say difficult things to your own profession on my behalf and I hope I can do the same for you in my life. I will take every opportunity to combat the thinking that leads to what you are experiencing where I encounter it.

    I can understand why you think it will not get better but I hope on this you are wrong. I think there are still many people working quietly towards a good society alongside their neighbours of other faiths and none. The charity you are involved with is such a good case and I wish the broader public realised how hard Islamic charities work to help people in poverty who’s needs have been forgotten by society. I will make sure to publicise them where I can.

    In the meantime I will be thinking of you, your sister and her children and everyone who has been made to feel as a stranger in their own land rather than a neighbour in the community of which we are all a part.

    1. Ana

      That is an extraordinarily kind response and I find myself somewhat overcome. It is deeply appreciated. As I’ve always said, our only strength lies in our solidarity. Thank you.

      I have of course noticed your absence from Twitter, and I hope that all is well with you and yours.

      Best wishes

      Masuma

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