Half of all Americans do not know a Muslim personally. So, what they do know about Muslims comes from the media. However, media content analysis illustrates that 80% of that media coverage is negative. Not even North Korea, a designated terrorist state, has a higher rate of negative coverage than do Muslims. Unfortunately, as a result, Muslims are today the least trusted faith group in America. And because so much of American Muslims’ attention is diverted to combatting these perceptions, there are fewer resources and attention being focused on community development and the day-to-day challenges faced by many.
If the challenge is multilayered, so too then must be the solution. ISPU’s public policy research examines the structural barriers that hinder the American Muslim community from full inclusion and participation. The findings provide policy makers, the media, nonprofit leaders and the general public with an accurate understanding of the American Muslim community, while building allies and identifying common challenges and solutions. Additionally, ISPU’s social policy research examines the day-to-day challenges many Muslims face, providing case studies, data and actionable recommendations in order to catalyze community development and build capacity to confront those everyday obstacles that affect American Muslims’ ability to thrive. Finally, ISPU’s thought leadership work seeks to inform national debates. Through op-eds, panels, convenings, debates and the use of media, ISPU inserts expert voices into discussions that impact all Americans.