The Need For Our Work

In a post–9/11 world, American Muslims face numerous challenges that prevent individuals from realizing their full potential. ISPU addresses these challenges through solution-seeking research, paving the way for a brighter future.

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In a post–9/11 world, American Muslims face numerous challenges that prevent individuals from realizing their full potential. ISPU addresses these challenges through solution-seeking research, paving the way for a brighter future. Some of these challenges are externally imposed as a result of the current geopolitical climate and widespread misunderstanding. The lack of data and dearth of Muslim voices in media and policy circles compound the problem. Anti-Muslim sentiment and targeted policies that infringe on personal and religious freedom are the new normal. But, many day-to-day challenges facing the community are internal, resulting from life’s challenges, cultural norms, a diversity of interpretations of Islam, and the overlapping of identities.

ISPU addresses both sets of challenges by:

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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.