Acceptability of Friday Sermons as a Modality for Health Promotion and Education
Our objective was to assess the acceptability and feasibility of using sermons for health promotion in American Muslim mosque communities by deploying a tailored sermon in two mosque communities. With input from a community advisory board and resident imams, sermons communicated four health-related themes: (i) good health is a grant from Allah, (ii) one’s body is trust and must be cared for, (iii) trusting in God’s plan does not preclude taking actions to care for oneself, and (iv) community members are caretakers of one another. Self-administered, post-sermon questionnaires asked attendees about the acceptability of the sermon and the sermon-giver, and to identify survey themes. Data analyses involved descriptive statistics and regression modeling to assess variance in acceptability across race/ethnicity and gender. Of the 235 respondents, the majority found the sermon content acceptable and desired to hear health-based sermons more often (72 and 67% respectively). There were no significant differences in acceptability of sermon or sermon-giver by gender or race/ethnicity. Our study demonstrates that theologically-framed health messaging is acceptable within sermons in American Muslim mosque communities. This study underscores the potential utility of mosque sermons for health education programs and for health behavior interventions in American mosques.
KeywordsReligion and health Health promotion Health education Community intervention Sermons Community-based participatory research
We are grateful to the research team in implementing the study: Shaheen Nageeb, Hadiyah Muhammad, Milkie Vu, Akila Ally, and Ahamed Milhan. We also thank Drs. Michael Quinn and Monica Peek in for their mentorship in study design, grant writing, and project implementation, and Sang Lee for conducting statistical analyses. Finally, we are immensely grateful for the critical support and advice of our community advisory board, imams, and mosque staff without which the project could not have been accomplished: Fatema Mirza, Nancy Romanchek, Shehla Diba, Anam Eljabali, MahRukh Mian, Kifah Shukair, Masood Iqbal, Luma Mahairi, Lynn Salahi, Beenish Manzoor, Ayesha Sultana, Shaykh Kifah Mustapha, Mufti Nazim Mangera, Kamran Hussain, Amanat Ansari, Ali Tai, Lila Zegar, Rula Zegar, Aisha Rahima, Badie Ali, and Elham Atieh.
This work was supported by the Mentored Research Scholar Grant in Applied and Clinical Research (grant number MRSG-14-032-01-CPPB) from the American Cancer Society supported AIP’s time-effort and provided project funds including those supporting SM and NA.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.
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