Health & Science

Drumbeat Of Hate Crimes Traumatizes Houston Muslims

The mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand are only the latest in a string of attacks the local Muslim community has coped with over the past year.

The Christchurch shootings are only the latest in a string of hate crimes against immigrants and Muslims. That’s taking a toll on Houston’s Muslim community, especially given recent incidents close to home.

Last year, an arsonist burned down a mosque in Victoria. Another tried to do the same in Houston. Then this January, a gunman fired at a mosque in Katy. That steady drumbeat of attacks can cause long-lasting mental trauma.

“You know, there’s a sense of feeling dehumanized, you know, and then you start to not understand your place,” said Sadia Jalali, a marriage and family therapist based in Houston. “You don’t understand…‘How can I feel safe?’”

That anxiety also takes a physical toll. “It increases blood pressure,” Jalali said. “You know, there’s people that are having heart issues, especially if they’re older.”

She said she worries it’s normalizing hate and mass violence for children. Jalali, who is Muslim, said when her own kids learned of the latest attack, they weren’t surprised.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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