CAIR, ISNA to conduct first comprehensive survey of U.S. Islamic centers
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/12/08) A coalition of Islamic and research groups today announced the launch of a nationwide census project, the first comprehensive survey of its kind, intended to collect accurate data about America’s mosques.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) will conduct the study over the summer and fall, publishing the findings in a report to be released in early 2009.
The census is co-sponsored by a coalition of organizations including CAIR, ISNA, the Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom Foundation, the Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (IMAM), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Hartford Institute of Religion Research (Hartford Seminary), and the Religious Congregations and Membership Study 2010 (a project of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies).
The goal of the census is to contact every mosque and Islamic center in the United States to compile accurate information about the Muslim community in America, specifically relating to size, infrastructure development, the participation of women and youth, and depth of involvement in American society.
“As the American Muslim community continues to grow and flourish, it is imperative for scholars to provide an in-depth understanding of the American mosque and its Muslim adherents. The vibrant diversity of our community is an asset to our nation, and understanding the American mosque is essential to understanding U.S. Muslims,” said CAIR Board Member Dr. Ihsan Bagby, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky who is directing the study.
Dr. Syed Sayeed, National Director of ISNA, said: “Muslims in America are making an important contribution in enriching the mainstream of America. A recent study published by Harvard University press has shown that the Pakistani American Muslims alone annually donate around a billion dollars worth of cash, goods and services. Our African American Muslims made us proud by providing leadership in the political field and we were able to have our first two Muslim congressmen from that background. It is critical for us to get a clear count of this richly diverse community, a study of our mosques and institutions serving the Muslim community and educating both Muslim and the mainstream community about Muslims and Islam.”
“We at MAS Freedom consider this to be a very significant project that will have powerful social and political implications for the national Muslim community both now and for years to come. We salute CAIR and the other partner organizations that will participate in and expand the outreach of this very important census,” said Ibrahim Ramey, Director of the Human and Civil Rights Division of MAS Freedom Foundation.
“Projects such as the mosque survey enhance understanding and engagement of the Muslim American community with various sectors in our society in an open and transparent manner,” said Haris Tarin, Director of Community Development for MPAC.
“The Muslim community is an important demographic in our country, one that is often not adequately covered. We are excited that these Islamic organizations are coming together to make this count, and we support their effort fully,” said Richard Houseal of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, which helped design the survey.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR Board Member Ihsan Bagby, Tel: 859-494-3743, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR Strategic Communications Director Ahmed Rehab, Tel: 202-870-0166, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: [email protected]