Muslims for American Progress

by Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress
Muslims for American Progress

Over the past two years, you increased understanding between American Muslims and their fellow Americans by supporting ISPU’s Muslim for American Progress (MAP) project. In so doing, you made it safer for Muslim kids to go to school. You helped journalists report on Muslim communities more accurately. You helped interfaith leaders address bigotry in their communities. And so much more. In short, you put relevant, rigorous research in the right hands, turning facts into fuel for positive change.

You helped people like Saba - a busy mom, raising her family, who is also a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Saba knows that the dreams she has for her own children are reflective of the dreams every mother has. And yet, she has seen the impact of Islamophobia, religious-based bullying, and ignorance on her family, her community, and her patients. Saba uses ISPU’s research, including MAP, to educate residents training in the field of psychiatry to help them think about the issues that might impact their Muslim patients. She also uses the research to increase cultural competence, so that these future specialists are better equipped to effectively treat Muslim patients in need of mental health services. Saba is just one of the nearly 2,000 changemakers that ISPU reached in 2018 who are turning facts into fuel, powered by ISPU and supporters just like you.

As the MAP project winds down, we are removing the project from GlobalGiving. But the research you made possible will live on and continue to make positive change for many years. It will be available for the foreseeable future at And, we will continue to share it widely at educational events nationwide.

I hope that you will stay engaged with ISPU and there are many ways to do that. First, follow or donate to our other GlobalGiving project – Helping Journalists Cover American Muslims Fairly. Second, follow our other work by signing up for updates at Or, follow us on Facebook or Twitter. We sincerely thank you for being our partners, friends, and supporters!

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Though Muslims on screen and television have come a long way thanks to the work of great Muslim creatives and their allies, we still have a long way to go to seeing more nuanced and diverse Muslim characters on screen. So, when one of our partners invited ISPU to come to Hollywood to share our research, we jumped at the chance to participate in a panel. The panel, speaking to 100 screenwriters and show runners at NBCUniversal was moderated by actress America Ferrera and included news commentator and author, Van Jones. Among the research we shared was our Muslims for American Progress (MAP) work, that you empowered us to conduct. In sharing MAP, we offered solutions, by providing a key source for inspiration for rich, humanizing characters that go beyond the "Bad Muslim Terrorist" or "Good FBI Informant." It was a thrill to see how our work could be applied in this critical sector to expand the conversation on Muslim images in popular media.  All thanks to you! Did someone in that room get inspired that day to create a character we can recognize as ourselves? We hope so. What we do know is that they now have an addition tool available to them to make that possible.

And, if that weren’t enough, we have 8 MAP exhibits scheduled for the first half of this year in Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Utah and New York. And the demand for the MAP traveling exhibits is only increasing, These exhibits are a great opportunity for audiences nationwide to interact with the stories and the data. What we love most about MAP is that it integrates research with the human experience and brings people together on a journey to understanding, compassion, and truth sharing.

 We have also held several dissemination events, during which project experts are joined with MAP project participants to share the research results as well as their own stories with the audience. These events enable us to dive deeper into the data and examine additional dimensions of the study. For example, through MAP, we honor Black History Month by taking a closer look at the contribution of Black Muslims in making of  Upper Manhattan.

Lastly, MAP has been cited in multiple media outlets, just recently our data was picked up in an article by New York Times. We are grateful to you, for enabling us to interject accurate data into conversations both in local communities and on national levels. Thank you.

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New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Michigan; these are some of the places where we shared our Muslims for American Progress (MAP) research, photo narratives and short digital stories highlighting Muslim contributions to our nation over the last couple of months. You empowered us every step of the way, and it is because of your support that we were able to produce and share this critical work.


At the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University we put on an event titled "Countering Stereotypes: Muslim Impacts on NYC”, where we shared project findings and introduced attendees to some of the amazing people highlighted in our photo narratives. We were joined by two such people, Ali Abbas and Najmah Abraham who shared their remarkable stories and lent their voice to the data. You too can check out their stories and many others at  


Across the Hudson, in NYC, we shared MAP with a group of 50 arts and culture philanthropists attending a symposium, Beyond Islamophobia:  How American Stories Transform Communities, organized by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and the Brademas Center at New York University. We shared our experience using our one of a kind research in moving beyond simply combating Islamophobia, and rather moving towards a vision of an America we want to see, one where diversity is embraced and all people are recognized for the strength of their character.


When we share MAP, we share narratives of real people, who strive everyday for the progress of our nation and society. Through MAP we explore together, the commonalities that unite us as human beings. And one conversation at a time we promote understanding and dialogue over bigotry and echo chambers. Today, we need this more than ever. But as you also know, MAP is not just about the stories, it also uncovers quantitative data about the American Muslim community. And at a time, when misconceptions and falsehoods spread too fast, MAP presents an opportunity to bring the conversation back to facts.  

Thank you for being part of this exciting journey, and for helping us amplify the voices of the American Muslim community.

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A biology teacher striving to offer services tailored to the needs of her student population, a fashion designer defying stereotypes and carving her own creative space, a nutritionist and fitness professional answering the call to serve others in a place far away from home...these are some of the stories that you brought to light through supporting ISPU’s newly released MAP-New York City project. You empowered these individuals and amplified their voices, shining a light on the amazing work they do every day. And in turn, you built understanding by introducing the wider American public to people they might never come across otherwise.

22.3% of America’s Muslims live in New York City and they fulfill some of the most iconic jobs the city is known for - in fact, we now know that 40% of NYC cab drivers and more than 57% of street vendors happen to be Muslim. We know this because you helped us discover these facts and so much more. Through these stories and data points, you helped us create a portrait of this often misunderstood and misrepresented community.

Now we are starting to take this evidence based portrait on the road and to put it into the hands of all those who can change the world for the better. People like Sarah, a Senior Advisor in the NYC Mayor’s Office, who recently shared this research with leaders from all over NYC who serve Muslim New Yorkers at the “History of the Future Summit”. The data and stories grounded the conversations and provided those who work with Muslim communities a better understanding of those they serve.

Thank you for helping us bring this exciting project to life. We couldn’t have gotten here without your support. We hope that you enjoy the results as much as we enjoyed discovering and now sharing them!  You can find all the stories, videos and research at:


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Thank you so much for your generous support to ISPU’s Muslims for American Progress (MAP) project.

In times where facts are often interchanged for judgments and stereotypes, MAP aims to create a space for dialogue, truth and understanding. Through this project we share the story of American Muslim communities- communities that are often marginalized and misrepresented - communities that feel the brunt of bigotry on a regular basis. MAP enables American Muslims to share their narrative through data, pictures and human stories.

So where are we now? We are wrapping up the research phase of MAP-NYC, and we are really looking forward to releasing and widely sharing the report in July. Through this project we examine the myriad contributions of Muslim New Yorkers  to the success of the entire city and the health, happiness, and well-being of their fellow Americans. The qualitative data will be accompanied by photo narratives of highlighted contributors and 5 video narratives.

We also continue to share data and stories from MAP Michigan nationwide, with additional exhibits and events being scheduled all the way up to 2019. As we release our findings from MAP-NYC, we anticipate additional exhibits in new locations. MAP also received over 20 media mentions including, TV, radio, print, and online outlets.With every exhibit, interview, media mention or panel discussion we are creating new opportunities to reflect on the commonality of our human experience and the way all of us are integral part of the unique and diverse fabric of our nation.

This work could not have been possible without your support. Thank you for playing a part in bringing this criticat work to life.


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Organization Information

Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Location: Detroit, MI - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @theispu
Project Leader:
Meira Neggaz
Detroit, MI United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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