A Window into the Muslim American Community

MPAC Publishes 'Intro to Muslim America'

October 8, 2010

Our nation continues to face an array of challenges, including two wars, an economic downturn, terrorism and a general sense of discontent among the people. Against this backdrop, a fierce national debate on the role of Islam and Muslim has dominated the public square in a hotly contested mid-term election and the anniversary of 9/11. The result? The Muslim American community and its experiences have become a political and social football.

Lost in this debate is the long history of social, political and cultural contributions that Muslim Americans have made to the American mosaic. Today, the public discourse has failed to mention the historical significance of an indigenous Muslim population who arrived to our shores more than 400 years ago, or even of the recent immigrants who have become an integral part of success of the American story.

To put the conversation in perspective, we have published a special report entitled "Introduction to Muslim America." We at MPAC hope that this special report will serve as a clear window into the Muslim American experience. This backgrounder will serve policy makers, civil society groups, media professionals, interfaith groups, educators and all those interested in having a nuanced and balanced look at our community and its rich history in our nation.

MPAC believes that a national conversation is needed on the role of Islam and Muslims in our country, as it has taken place in the past on American Jews, Irish Americans, Italian American, Japanese Americans, African Americans and many other groups. Although this conversation is crucial, various social and political forces have deliberately painted the Muslim American experience solely through the poisonous lens of terror and hate.

To us as an organization and to our community, this is unacceptable. The debate today has been filled with misinformation and misconceptions. Muslims are treated as if they live in a Petri dish, which millions of eyes can look at and make their own subjective conclusions. We see this vividly in the media with programs, such as the ABC "This Week with Christiane Amanpour" special townhall debate titled "Holy War: Should Americans Fear Islam?"

We hope that our "Introduction to Muslim America" will spark a broader conversation and will help in clearing the fog of misinformation. We ask you to read and share this document with all those who are seeking a way forward as we go through this journey together as Americans and people of conscience.

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