An Accurate Public Understanding of Americans who are Muslims has Never Been More ImportanT.

As Thomas Jefferson teaches, an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.

The majority of Americans do not know a Muslim.

Today, issues surrounding American Muslims are central in our political discourse, policy debates and popular culture. Yet most Americans say they don’t know a Muslim and, according to media content analysis, more than 80% of media coverage of Islam and Muslims in the United States is negative. This opens the door for a narrow media image to distort public perceptions of this diverse community.

Educating the Public is a Civic Duty.

If  “an educated citizenry” is vital to the health of our democracy, then providing accurate information on Muslim Americans is a civic duty. Muslims for American Progress (MAP), a project of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), aims to do just that.

The Muslims for American Progress Project

The Muslims for American Progress (MAP) Project educates the public by providing a much-needed, evidence-based portrait of a deeply misunderstood community. The MAP project quantifies the contributions of American Muslims in the state of Michigan and New York City in eight areas:

  • Civics and Democracy

  • Economic Development

  • Medicine

  • STEM

  • Philanthropy and Nonprofits

  • Arts and Entertainment

  • Sports

  • Education

To quantify these areas of contribution The MAP project “counts and profiles”: Our researchers quantify American Muslim contributions with hard facts, while profiling individuals of distinction to showcase the community’s diversity while giving it a human face.

Please read more about our methodology here.

Our Team 


Dr. Debbie Almontaser

Community activist, advocate, entrepreneur, and educator who works across sectors in NYC.

Founding Principal, Khalil Gibran International Academy; CEO, Building Cultures Group Inc; Founding Board Member, Muslim Community Network; Founding Board Member, Yemeni American Merchants Association Board Member, Micah Institute; Member, NYC Department of Education Diversity Advisory Board.

Advisor on cultural and religious diversity issues for Public Advocate Tish James, Borough President Eric Adams, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the NYC Commission for Human Rights, and New York City Council members.

gareth Bryant

Poet, writer, model, mental health chaplain, and community activist serving NYC through Lenox Hill Hospital and the nonprofit Muslims Giving Back.


Photographer, film producer, and digital media consultant, founder of Mustafa Davis Studios™.



A growth strategy research and advisory firm covering: OIC markets; Halal, Ethical, Social entrepreneurship; Islamic finance; and the Muslim market.

Tarek El-Messidi

Marketing consultant and digital strategist for businesses and nonprofits.

Dr. Sally Howell

Associate Professor of History, Director, Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan - Dearborn.

Jennifer Maytorena Taylor

Award-winning documentary producer and director of character-based social issue feature films. Assistant Professor, Social Documentation at UC Santa Cruz.