Thwarting Ethnoviolence Against Muslim Women: Performing Identity in Social Action

  • William L. Conwill University of Florida
  • Khairunnissa Jooma Tellico Bay Counseling and Wellness Center
Keywords: Ethnoviolence, Campus-based activist research, Social action, Intersections of gender, religion and culture, Diaspora studies


This is a case study of campus-based activist research on multicultural diversity and tolerance in a college town in the Southeast after the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers to decrease the post-9/11 hostility against Muslims, particularly women. As part of a Community Mental Health Consultation project at the University of Tennessee, the first author, a professor, assigned the second author, a foreign-born Muslim woman graduate student, to recruit and organize several Muslim women students from the Muslim Students Association. The students, performing their identity as Muslim women, conducted community workshops on Islam to promote knowledge and awareness of religious differences, and ethnic diversity and tolerance; and to reduce hostility against the Muslim community. This article includes web links to videos of their first workshop. We describe in detail the students collaborative intervention to address threats of gendered ethnoviolence as social action. A number of positive outcomes accompanied their empowering intervention, including the institution of the Ramadan Fast-a-Thon, now celebrated nationally at more than 230 colleges and universities. We conclude with implications for counseling and psychology for such collaborative intentional action in community interventions, given the harsh polarization around religious and cultural issues we struggle with today.
How to Cite
Conwill, W. L., & Jooma, K. (2008). Thwarting Ethnoviolence Against Muslim Women: Performing Identity in Social Action. Journal for Social Action in Counseling & Psychology, 1(2), 30-47.