Muslims for American Progress

An accurate public understanding of Americans who are Muslims has never been more important.

As Thomas Jefferson teaches, an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.

The majority of Americans do not know a Muslim.

Today, issues surrounding American Muslims are central in our political discourse, policy debates and popular culture. Yet most Americans say they don’t know a Muslim and, according to media content analysis, more than 80% of media coverage of Islam and Muslims in the United States is negative. This opens the door for a narrow media image to distort public perceptions of this diverse community.

Educating the Public as a Civic Duty

If  “an educated citizenry” is vital to the health of our democracy, then providing accurate information on Muslim Americans is a civic duty. Our Muslims for American Progress (MAP) project aims to do just that.

Report Now Available

  • To fill the widespread gaps in knowledge about Muslim American citizens, including their positive effect on the country, the Muslims for American Progress project quantified the contributions of Muslim Americans in the state of Michigan. We did so by analyzing contributions across eight key areas:...

The Muslims for American Progress Project

The Muslims for American Progress (MAP) Project educates the public by providing a much-needed, evidence-based portrait of a deeply misunderstood community. The MAP project quantifies the contributions of American Muslims in eight areas:

  • Civics and Democracy
  • Economic Development
  • Medicine
  • STEM
  • Philanthropy and Nonprofits
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Sports
  • Education

Click here for the methodology and references used to determine the figures in this video.

To quantify these areas of contribution, the MAP project “counts and profiles”: Our researchers quantify American Muslim contributions with hard facts, while profiling individuals of distinction to showcase the community’s diversity while giving it a human face.

Our MAP research began by capturing the contributions of Muslims in the state of Michigan. To learn more about the impact Muslims are making in Michigan, please visit the MAP website: www.MuslimsForAmericanProgress.org. Click here, for more details on our project methodology.

We are now working on replicating our MAP research in New York City, and we could use your help! If you have suggestions of Muslims who are making impact in one of our eight focus areas, please share them with us here.

Meet the Research Team

Dalia Mogahed

Program Director, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Dalia Mogahed is the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where she leads the organization’s pioneering research and thought leadership programs on American Muslims. Mogahed is former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslim communities worldwide. With John L. Esposito, she coauthored the book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. President Barack Obama appointed Mogahed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009. She was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about U.S. engagement with Muslim communities, and she provided significant contributions to the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group recommendations. She is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. She is also the CEO of Mogahed Consulting.

Sarrah Buageila

Sarrah Buageila

Project Manager, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Sarrah Buageila is the Project Manager for ISPU’s Research Department. Sarrah spent eleven years at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan where she has worked as an Interviewer, Research Assistant, and Project Manager within the Project Design and Management Group. She primarily worked on the National Survey of Family Growth, a study of the National Center for Health Statistics. Sarrah has co-authored papers for the International Field Directors and Technologies Conference and the American Association for Public Opinion Research Conference. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and has completed Graduate work towards a Masters of Liberal Arts in American Studies.

Rebecca Karam

Rebecca Karam

Primary Investigator & Report Author

Rebecca Karam is a doctoral candidate in sociology and student fellow in the Advanced Research Collaborative at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. She received her BA in sociology from University of Michigan-Dearborn. Her research is situated at the intersection of the sociology of religion, international migration, and race and ethnic studies. She is particularly interested in American Islam and generational differences in immigrant religious communities.

Rebecca is currently working on her dissertation. Using qualitative methods, she is conducting a study investigating the identity politics of American-born Muslim adults in Metropolitan Detroit in order to generate a deeper understanding of religiosity, institutional affiliation, and the role of community among American Muslims across generations. Her most recent publication addresses post-9/11 backlash facing Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Muslim Americans in New York City and the use of coalition-building and resource mobilization formulated in response to such hostility.

Hazel Gomez

Hazel Gomez

Research Assistant

Hazel Gómez graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelors degree in Forensic Science. Currently, she is studying the Islamic sciences with Rabata.org’s Ribaat Academic Program under the tutelage of Shaykha Tamara Gray. Hazel dedicates her time as a volunteer and advisor to various nonprofits ranging from community development and convert care to anti-racism work within the Muslim community.

Previously, Hazel spent time as a community organizer with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago focusing on the intersection of immigration and criminal justice reform. She also worked as the lead research assistant at the Alternative Education Research Institute focusing on the analysis of the criminal justice systems, reentry programs, and conversion to Islam of certain Latin American countries. She is also an avid reader of all things Muslims in America, and is interested in the research and creation of an authentic Latino Muslim experience. Hazel intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Islamic Chaplaincy.

Aisha A. Arshad

Aisha A. Arshad

Research Assistant

Aisha A. Arshad is a Master’s degree candidate in Islamic Studies at Islamic Online University. Most recently, she served as the Head of their national student committee for women in the UAE, where she resided for several years before returning to the United States.

Aisha previously worked as an IT and educational technology professional in various capacities both in the corporate sector and in education, in the United States and abroad.  She attained her undergraduate degree in Information Systems from Virginia Commonwealth University and her M.S. in Educational Technology from the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University.

Kristin Waterbury

Kristin Waterbury

Research Assistant

Kristin Waterbury is a Research Assistant for the MAP Project. She received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn where she used quantitative and qualitative methods to study the Muslim community and other minority groups in the Metro-Detroit area. Kristin has a background in event planning and development work. She has previously worked with ISPU as the Development and Events Assistant, where she was responsible for donor stewardship, coordinating and executing several ISPU events. Kristin intends to pursue a master’s degree in Public Policy.

Hassan Jibril

Data Analyst

Hassan Jibril is a Data Analyst at ISPU for the Muslims for American Progress and American Muslim Poll projects. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from the University of Michigan. Hassan has also previously worked for ISPU as a Research and Development Intern and as a Research Assistant where he created the visualization for the Islamophobia 2050 project, analyzed ISPU digital communications and performed demographic research among other tasks. Hassan also spends time as a youth mentor in his local community and volunteers for various nonprofits.

Dalia Mogahed

Program Director, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Dalia Mogahed is the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where she leads the organization’s pioneering research and thought leadership programs on American Muslims. Mogahed is former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslim communities worldwide. With John L. Esposito, she coauthored the book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. President Barack Obama appointed Mogahed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009. She was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about U.S. engagement with Muslim communities, and she provided significant contributions to the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group recommendations. She is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. She is also the CEO of Mogahed Consulting.

Sarrah Buageila

Sarrah Buageila

Project Manager, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Sarrah Buageila is the Project Manager for ISPU’s Research Department. Sarrah spent eleven years at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan where she has worked as an Interviewer, Research Assistant, and Project Manager within the Project Design and Management Group. She primarily worked on the National Survey of Family Growth, a study of the National Center for Health Statistics. Sarrah has co-authored papers for the International Field Directors and Technologies Conference and the American Association for Public Opinion Research Conference. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and has completed Graduate work towards a Masters of Liberal Arts in American Studies.

Elisabeth BeckerElisabeth Becker

Principal Investigator

Elisabeth Becker is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at Yale University, where she is a junior fellow in cultural sociology and religion and politics. She graduated with a BA in Sociology from Cornell University. Her interests center on religion, ethnicity, culture, and inequality. Her dissertation draws from over two years of ethnographic research in European mosques, where she examined contestation over Islam and its connections to national identity struggles in Germany, Great Britain, and Spain.

Elisabeth’s academic work has been published in the Journal of Racial & Ethnic Studies, the Journal for the American Academy of Religion, and Social Science & Medicine. She also writes about religion and politics for mainstream outlets, having published in The Washington Post, UN Dispatch, Policy Trajectories, Global Dialogue, and Discover Society.

Meral Kocak

Meral Kocak

Research Assistant

Meral is a first-year law student at Georgetown Law Center, where she is studying constitutional and international law. She holds a master’s in Islamic Studies from Harvard University and a bachelor’s in Anthropology from Melbourne University. Her research interests include constitutionalism and legal history, particularly in the Middle East.

Her previous research has included media politics and constitutional history in Turkey, which she has presented at Harvard University, Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan. Her academic works on gender, progressivist politics, and racial inequities have been published in academic journals at the University of Chicago and Harvard University. She is passionate about asylum advocacy and social justice.

Safia AlbaitiSafia Albaiti

Research Assistant

Safia Albaiti is a master’s candidate at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her current research is on Doctors Without Borders and the historical sociology of humanitarianism. She is studying the evolution of the organization through a comparative historical and ethnographic study of its work during the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa in the ’90s and with the global refugee crisis in Greece today.

Her interests include the history of social classes in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and the impact of neoliberal austerity and social movements on non-governmental organizations. She is also passionate about social justice, the community dimensions of American Muslim identity, and the transformation of American Islam.

Taylor Mattia

Taylor Mattia

Research Assistant

Taylor Mattia is a second-year doctoral student in Politics at New York University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Middle East and North African Studies from the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on identity politics and political violence, and her master’s thesis will examine the relationship between identity salience and support for particular immigration policies within the context of the U.S.

Her previous research has centered on the motivations and effects of international interventions, use of repression by the state against dissidents, and ex-militant electoral participation. She has also participated in communal projects assessing health food access in Chicago and access to water among marginalized communities in both Detroit and the Palestine during her time as an undergraduate student.

Nusrath YusufNusrath Yusuf

Research Assistant

Nusrath Yusuf is a research assistant at a neurobiology lab in Harvard Medical School and Broad Institute at MIT. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from Brandeis University. Her research interests include neurodevelopment, conflict resolution, transitional justice, particularly in the Middle East.

She has previously volunteered and interned with various health research organizations, and currently she is looking for projects to bring her varied research interests together. She is also passionate about migrant communities in the Middle East and the U.S.