Event organized in collaboration with the Middle East Psychological Association (MEPA)
The unfolding crisis in Gaza provided the backdrop for a recent lecture organized by Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) College of Islamic Studies (CIS).
Delivered in conjunction with the Middle East Psychological Association (MEPA), Psychological and Spiritual Coping in the Face of Atrocity and Tragedy in Palestine highlighted key psychological and spiritual strategies for individuals, families, and communities who are relentlessly exposed to the ongoing tragedies in Palestine. This was accompanied by practical advice on how to navigate mental and emotional burdens and support one another when witnessing devastation caused by conflict and other disasters.
The talk was delivered by Dr. Omar Mendoza Mahmood, former Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar and a consultant in the development of CIS’ Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology that will launch in Fall 2024. A clinical psychologist with broad experience as a clinician, researcher, and professor, he has previously worked for Sidra Medicine, University of California San Diego, and King Fahad Specialist Hospital Dammam.
Speaking after the lecture, Dr. Mahmood said: “There can be no denying that what’s happening in Gaza is taking its emotional toll on citizens around the world. The continuous influx of news and imagery via traditional and social media further compounds the sense of helplessness many feel when confronted with the suffering of the Palestinians. In the face of such tragedy, many in our communities are reporting overwhelming stress and negative thoughts, in addition to feelings of guilt and inadequacy. We hope this lecture offers emotional and spiritual support to those who need it.”
“We’re delighted to be working closely with Dr. Mahmood,” comments Dr. Recep Şentürk, Dean, CIS. “His insights are invaluable for the Master’s program in Islamic Psychology, which is designed specifically to integrate the religious sensitivities of Muslim populations into mental health care treatment. Both he and CIS are committed to nurturing future generations of practitioners and scholars in the nascent field of Islamic psychology and enhancing contemporary Islamic practices.”
Tina Balachandran, Director of MEPA Qatar Country Chapter, and co-organizer of the event, added: “In times of crisis, the integration of psychological resilience and spiritual coping becomes a powerful source of strength, guiding individuals toward healing and inner peace. The Middle East Psychological Association, Qatar Chapter, is focused on creating an inclusive community and we encourage a holistic approach in navigating challenges."
HBKU’s CIS provides a unique platform that contributes to critical intellectual debates on Islam in a global context, through its blended academic programs and an immersive learning experience; as well as its distinguished research division, which includes several research centers and clusters.