DETROIT — A public research university located in Detroit, Michigan, has kicked off a new counseling service to discuss and identify the struggles Muslim women face on college campuses.
“It’s a support and a safe place for them,” Kaifa Alsoofy, a university counselor at WSU who came up with the idea for the group, told The Arab American News.
Alsoofy, who works at Wayne State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), came up with the idea to help Muslim women on campus.
She added that in her work as a counselor, she’s seen Muslim women face issues like identity struggles and family, cultural, or religious expectations.
With many of them being first-generation college students, their families may not have accurate expectations of the students’ workloads or understanding of the stresses they face.
“They might feel like they don’t have a place to bounce off thoughts and ideas with their peers,” Alsoofy said.
Offering them a chance to meet other Muslims, the group hopes to help them overcome these challenges.
“They’ll be learning about their religion in terms of their own perspective and research,” she said.
“Women living in a religious household, and being raised a certain way, they may begin to question a lot of things, or want to know more about things that are different than they were taught growing up.”
Alsoofy, who is Muslim herself and also went through some of these things, said she hopes the group counseling will benefit “the individual as a whole.”
The group’s online description states that counselors will teach stress management techniques, help participants develop healthy coping skills, and create healthy boundaries.