Muslim American Integration Vital to National Interest

New Report Warns of Possible Muslim American Alienation

Jun 26, 2007, 01:00 ET from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

    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: (

SOURCE The Chicago Council on Global Affairs