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ISPU’s Center for the Study of American Muslims (CSAM) is the first major independent research center devoted exclusively to collecting, analyzing, and disseminating empirical data on the diverse spectrum of Muslim communities in the United States. CSAM brings together talented scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines whose research deepens our understanding of American Muslim communities— an increasingly visible population that remains poorly understood.

CSAM has two primary goals; to nurture and support talented scholars who are developing an inspired future research agenda for the study of Americans Muslims, and to make cutting-edge research about American Muslims accessible to audiences outside the academic community. We pay particular attention to topics that are timely and relevant to policy makers, journalists, and the general public. Occasionally, we publish special reports on challenges faced by Muslim American communities which are intended for a more narrow audience, primarily activists, social service providers, and advocates for these communities.

We commission experts to share their original research on American Muslims through policy briefs and reports, opinion editorials and interviews in the mainstream media. CSAM also sponsors public conferences and academic workshops. In addition to CSAM’s research initiatives and regular collaborations with other research institutes and universities, we offer small seed grants to scholars who propose projects that reflect our research priorities.

CSAM’s research areas of focus include the following:

  • Impact of U.S. policies on American Muslim communities
  • American Muslims’ diverse political views and positions on major policy issues
  • Factors that shape American Muslims’ civic engagement in the United States
  • Growth and development of American Muslim communities, and the unique challenges they face.



Date: 2/1/2015

Since 9/11, American Muslims have been the subject of intense negative attention. In 2010, the negative attention turned into a series of organized actions against the community, including attempts to burn the Qur’an, protests against mosque building, and state legislators introducing anti-religion bills targeting Muslims. ISPU launched its latest research project, Islamophobia: A Threat to All, to contribute to knowledge about anti-Muslim bigotry. The project tracks trends related to the nation’s ongoing social, political, and demographic transformation in the years leading to 2050 and converting that data into actionable suggestions for advocates, community leaders, and legislators. ... » read more

Date: 10/1/2014

ISPU Insights is a biannual publication that highlights some of the projects, studies, and initiatives that ISPU has been working on throughout the year. ... » read more

Date: 7/17/2014

Although there are various approaches to help couples achieve healthy relationships, little is known about how American Muslims perceive and utilize marriage education programs and counseling interventions, as well as how they navigate marital disputes, and utilize professional and religious-based services to prevent divorce. ... » read more

Farid Senzai
ISPU Fellow
Hatem Bazian

Date: 5/15/2013

This benchmark study, the first of its kind on the Bay Area’s Muslim community, serves many purposes including providing groundbreaking data on its demographics, sense of identity, economic well being, political and civic engagement, and the challenges that it faces. The resulting data is useful for academics and practitioners wishing to pursue further research, as well as for the community and its leaders, philanthropists and foundations, policymakers, and the general public. As a source of information, it will serve as an important tool for advocacy and media purposes, given that data about the community has often been misrepresented. Finally, the report will add to and complement the growing body of empirical data on local Muslim communities and the national portrait. ... » read more

Date: 3/27/2013

This pilot study initiates the process of documenting the prevalence of alcohol use among this specific population and to explore potential areas of intervention. In particular, this pilot study examines the relationship of alcohol use and various factors: family, religiosity, personal beliefs, and social influences. Our research combined an innovative sampling technique – respondent-driven sampling – with a web-based survey to gather data on this difficult-to-reach group. ... » read more

Date: 1/16/2013

This report is for American Muslims who want to better understand sharia in order to explain it to others, and for non-Muslim Americans who seek an explanation of sharia at a higher level of sophistication than is available in popular media. It should be noted that this report does not seek to change the minds of anti-sharia advocates or to provide point-by-point responses to their propaganda. Rather, it seeks to provide an informed exposition of some basic concepts of Islamic law so that Americans can intelligently engage in and raise the quality of this ongoing public conversation. ... » read more

Date: 12/4/2012

This report assesses the radicalization of Muslim prisoners in post-9/11 America. In the last decade, Muslim prisoners have been scrutinized for ties to terrorist and other extremist organizations, not to mention characterized as both a “threat” and a “danger” to national security, due to the in?uence of foreign jihadist movements. However, closer scrutiny shows that these fears have failed to materialize—indeed, despite the existence of an estimated 350,000 Muslim prisoners, there is little evidence of widespread radicalization or successful foreign recruitment, and only one documented case of prison-based terrorist activity. ... » read more

Asma Uddin
Legal Fellow
Date: 8/30/2012

Looking at the historical and scriptural foundations of religious freedom in the United States and Muslim-majority countries, ISPU Legal Fellow Asma Uddin proposes a new way of communicating to build bridges and enhance religious liberty abroad. ... » read more

Asma Uddin
Legal Fellow
Dave Pantzer

Date: 6/14/2012

An analysis of the anti-sharia initiatives and the first amendment. ... » read more

Farid Senzai
ISPU Fellow
Date: 4/3/2012

As the 2012 presidential election season moves into full swing, the American Muslim minority community has become a more important player on the political landscape, especially in key swing states. However, data on its members’ political attitudes and behaviors have been limited and scattered. This report represents the first effort to comprehensively combine and analyze a decade’s worth of research on this particular community in order to provide insights for political strategists and community organizers. It includes analyses of the data by racial and ethnic background, state of residence, education level, and other factors. ... » read more

Date: 11/10/2014

Demographics in the United States are changing rapidly, and the 2012 presidential election was a clear illustration of the Unites States’ movement toward a more diverse population. Forecasts indicate by 2050, or even 20432 the United States will not only be more populous, it will also be a “majority-minority” country. These demographic shifts will have major political, socio-economic, legal, and cultural impacts on public discourse and public policy. ... » read more

Alejandro Beutel
Asma Uddin
Legal Fellow
Hussein Rashid
Date: 11/10/2014

In the anti-sharia laws being enacted today in states across the country, we see a modern-day example of laws targeting one group but ultimately affecting many others. In evaluating the significance of these laws and formulating solutions, it is important to place them in the broader context of American history and the struggles other religious groups have faced. ... » read more

Date: 11/10/2014

Since 9/11, the public spotlight on American Muslims has been intense, and much of the time the exposure has been negative. The level of scrutiny on American Muslims has increased over the years, particularly since 2010 when Florida-based pastor Terry Jones sought to burn the Qur’an publicly; a national controversy erupted over plans to build a Muslim community center near the World Trade Center; and Louisiana and Oklahoma adopted anti-Islam legislation seeking to prohibit Muslims from practicing their faith. ... » read more

Date: 3/13/2014

In the United States, it is estimated that approximately half of all first marriages will end in divorce. As divorce becomes more prevalent among American Muslims, it is increasingly important for families to understand how to minimize the risk of divorce and build a foundation for healthy marriage. ... » read more

Date: 6/19/2013

Dispelling the popular misconception that Sharia oppresses women, ISPU Fellow Asifa Quraishi-Landes illustrates the empowering aspects of Islamic law for women. Dr. Quraishi-Landes explains where Sharia is in fact more favorable to women than modern Western law displaying why many Muslim women may prefer the traditional religious legal system to protect their rights. ... » read more

Sahar Aziz
Legal Fellow
Date: 11/27/2012

In the post-9/11 era, Muslim women donning a headscarf in the United States find themselves trapped at the intersection of bias against Islam, the racialized Muslim, and women. ... » read more

Sahar Aziz
Legal Fellow
Date: 11/9/2012

ISPU Fellow Sahar Aziz testifies before the United States Commission on Civil Rights on the federal civil rights engagement with Arab and Muslim American communities post 9/11 world. ... » read more

Erik Love
Date: 11/5/2012

Islamophobia remains one of the most pressing issues in the 2012 elections and will remain relevant in both the 2013 and 2014 “off-year” elections. ... » read more

Date: 11/1/2012

Daniel Tutt examines the shared history of Mormons and Muslims and presents suggestions for how policymakers and leaders from both faiths can move past prejudice towards mutual understanding. ... » read more

David Schanzer

Date: 10/18/2012

An analysis of the magnitude of the threat of al-Qa'ida inspired violent extremism in the US and approaches to combating it. ... » read more

Date: 9/21/2012

A look at the controversial provisions to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and the possible expansion of executive power and encroachment on civil liberties. ... » read more

Sikander Shah
Legal Fellow
Date: 8/9/2012

ISPU Legal Fellow Sikander Shah addresses the current water crisis in Pakistan, placed among the top 17 thirstiest countries in the world. Looking at Pakistan's state conduct, he argues why water should be categorized as a human right rather than an economic good in order to ensure adequate access and distribution to the population. ... » read more

Sahar Aziz
Legal Fellow
Date: 7/18/2012

ISPU Legal Fellow Sahar Aziz was invited to testify before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about how to address the rise in workplace religious discrimination claims. ... » read more

Date: 6/27/2012

An informative primer on the function and form of the mosque and the people that make up its community. ... » read more



Did you know that October is national bullying prevention month? To be effective, it’s critical to identify emerging patterns in bullying that uniquely impacts diverse groups such as Muslim students. Just last month, the world was shocked when local Texan school officials had Ahmed Mohamed handcuffed, detained, and suspended for inventing a clock that beeped in class. The teen is now moving to Qatar. A number of commentators have correctly observed that the incident reflects intensifying Islamophobia. It also reveals the role that some adults play in fostering anti-Muslim bias in our schools and creating a hostile learning environment for Muslim students in violation of federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws and policies. Bullying is not limited to youth who target classmates. Read More...
An item in this week’s LGBT Global Roundup about the struggle to recognize marginalized pro-LGBT voices in the Arab world, reminds us that while religious voices are typically the loudest in denying human dignity, religions are not homogeneous. Here in the US, meanwhile, much of the post-Obgergefell v. Hodges opposition is framed as a religious concern, though it’s seldom noted there have been deep, ongoing debates about inclusion in American Muslim communities for years. Globally, key movements in the US, France, and South Africa receive the majority of media attention for more progressive discussions on sexuality and Islam, though a 2011 report shows how pervasive (and deep) these conversations truly are. Read More...
American Muslim youth are a heterogeneous group, with varying backgrounds, experiences, and needs. Families, schools, and communities can benefit from research on American Muslim youth to improve current approaches in youth programming and development. This report identifies the nuances and complexities of American Muslim youth’s developmental context and environments. It highlights research on underserved Muslim youth populations—namely young Muslim women, African-American Muslim youth, convert Muslim youth, and refugee Muslim youth. Risk factors and behaviors are also highlighted. Finally, eight youth programming recommendations that can be implemented around three developmental contexts (families, schools, and communities) are provided. Read More...