WASHINGTON, June 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Greater Muslim American
civic and political engagement is urgently needed to prevent alienation in
a community that is vital to U.S. security and relations with the Muslim
World. This is the main conclusion of an independent Task Force sponsored
by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
The Task Force, led by Farooq Kathwari, CEO of the Ethan Allen
Interiors Inc., and former Secretary of Labor and Illinois Congresswoman,
Lynn Martin, brought together a group of 32 distinguished Muslim and
non-Muslim Americans to examine the Muslim American experience and provide
a roadmap for accelerating Muslim American engagement in civic affairs and
U.S. political life.
The report found that although Muslim Americans are a well-educated,
diverse group that can make greater contributions to the nation, they lack
strong institutions and sufficient recognizable public or political voices
to gain regular access to government and media circles.
"There is a great need and opportunity for Muslim Americans to fully
participate in American society and politics," stated Mr. Kathwari. "The
recommendations of the Task Force provide sensible and implementable ways
to achieve this objective."
Many Muslim Americans responded helpfully to September 11 and condemned
other terrorist acts. Despite this response, many Americans continue to
view Muslim Americans with suspicion in the post September 11 environment.
The present climate of mistrust and the lack of engagement threaten to
marginalize and potentially alienate some elements among Muslim Americans.
To combat this trend it is critical that Muslim American leaders and
institutions continue and amplify their condemnations of extremism and
terrorism and continue to strengthen efforts to prevent radical activity
within the community. National leaders and the media in turn need to
communicate these endeavors to the public.
"The continued isolation and mistrust of Muslim Americans since 9/11 is
a recipe for a national crisis," stated Secretary Martin. "It is in the
interest of all Americans to build trust and rapidly bring Muslim Americans
into the social and political mainstream to strengthen our democratic
institutions and to improve homeland security"
To accelerate Muslim Americans' civic and political engagement, the
Task Force recommends:
-- Muslim American leaders continue to take the lead in encouraging
greater civic participation, leadership development, and institution
building within their community.
-- Non-Muslim groups and government leaders work to better recognize
Muslim American contributions to national security, improve
collaborations with Muslim American institutions, and provide greater
opportunities for young Muslim Americans in government service.
-- Media organizations and Muslim American groups jointly sponsor seminars
to address concerns and deepen relationships and understanding.
-- Leading research and policy institutes deepen their work on Islam and
Muslim communities and create partnerships with Muslim American
-- An American Diversity Dialogue be established among Muslim and
non-Muslim leaders to examine critical issues in Muslim American
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922, is a leading
independent, nonpartisan organization committed to influencing the
discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy
formation, leadership dialogue, and public learning. Copies of the full
Task Force report can be found at: (http://www.thechicagocouncil.org).
SOURCE The Chicago Council on Global Affairs