A Portrait of Detroit Mosques: Muslim Views on Policy and Religion
Mosques are the cornerstone of the Islamic experience in America. One sign of the growing presence of Muslims in the United States has been the rapid growth of Muslim civil society, characterized by a dramatic increase in the number of mosques, social and political organizations, and advocacy groups.
Dr. Ihsan Bagby, ISPU Fellow and Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky, believes that examining mosques and their leadership is the first step in understanding the Muslim community and a necessary step in improving their standing in the society at large. There is also a need to confront the concern in official circles and the general public that the mosques are becoming increasingly radicalized.
The Detroit Mosque Study project seeks to conduct a comprehensive study of Detroit mosques and their participants. Specifically this project will do the following two things. First, it gives a detailed overview of mosque activities, finances, structures and history, along with the views of mosque leaders towards Islamic practice, mosque priorities, and America. Secondly, it will provide information on the demographics and views of mosque participants on Islamic practice and various public policy issues. Several interviews, surveys, and focus group discussions will aid in seeking this information.
The overall impact of this study will benefit the Muslim and non-Muslim communities. For the latter, accurate data will identify core issues that interest Muslims, and assess the charges that Muslims are increasingly radical. For Muslims, the study can be used in planning for future activities and growth.
Dr. Bagby brings a wealth of experience to this study. Previously he was leading a national study of mosque, including several in Detroit, for the Council of American Islamic Relations. He has also worked closely with Zogby International Polling to develop surveys about Muslims in the United States. The Detroit Mosque Study will build on the National Mosque Study Project by examining the mosques in Metro Detroit as a case study.
A team of dedicated research assistants worked closely with Dr. Bagby in getting valuable experience for future projects. Ameena Qazi was the administrative coordinator for the project.