Thursday, August 04, 2011

Abu Dhabi Gallup Center event in DC

Ahlan wa Sahlan

Okaaaaay... I know I should have finished this at least by yesterday, but what can I tell ya...I gotta work too ya know. So if you haven't already figured it out, I attended the "Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, & Future" event by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center this past Tuesday (Aug 2nd) in Washington DC. 
For all extents and purposes I thought it was going to be a literal snooze fest. I had woken up later than I had planned and anticipating intense traffic on my drive into Washington DC, I wasn't particularly in the best of moods. But Alhamdulillah I was wrong. The traffic was relatively light and I managed to step into the glittering lobby of The National Press Club with ten minutes to spare on the clock before the event kicked off at the scheduled 10:00 am (he shoots, he scores!). 

Shortly before the event

The event started with a brief introduction by PBS Newshour's distinguished senior correspondent Ray Suarez followed by opening remarks by Dr. Jocelyn Cesari, a research fellow in Political Science and Director of "Islam in West" program at Harvard. You can view both of them on my Youtube channel here and here.

However the real meat and potatoes of the whole event came next with Senior analyst of the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, Mohamed Younis's presentation of the in depth study of the Gallup surveys conducted throughout 2010. 

Mohamed Younis

Among the key findings presented were:  

  • Though most major religious groups rate their lives better now than in 2008, Muslim Americans' life evaluation ratings have increased the most. Sixty percent are thriving in 2011, up substantially from 2008.

  • Muslim Americans are among the most critical of the institutions and interventions associated with counterterrorism. They are the most likely among major American religious groups to see U.S. actions, not misinformation, as causing unfavorable views of the U.S. in majority-Muslim countries.

  • Nearly all Muslim Americans (92%) say Muslims living in the U.S. have no sympathy for al Qaeda.

  • Muslim Americans' political and social views are often closest to those of Jewish Americans, who are more likely than other major religious groups (at 70%) to believe Muslim Americans have no sympathy for al Qaeda. Jewish Americans also view U.S. Muslims as loyal to America (80%) and are more likely than Muslims Americans themselves to say that there is prejudice toward U.S. Muslims (66% vs. 60%). Additionally Jewish Americans and Muslim Americans show similar levels of support for a future in which an independent Palestinian state would coexist alongside of Israel (78% and 81%, respectively).

  • Muslim Americans have high levels of confidence in many American civic institutions. Fifty-seven percent say they have confidence in the honesty of elections, the highest percentage of all major U.S. religious groups studied.

  • Muslim Americans are as likely as other major faith communities to have confidence in the country's judicial system and in the quality and integrity of the U.S. media.

  • Muslim Americans (83%) are the most likely of all major U.S. religious groups to say the Iraq war was a mistake.

  • The part which particularly piqued my interest was the fact that 57% of american muslims say they have confidence in the honesty of elections. Saay whaaat?! I totally expected that number to be lower! You can watch portions of that presentation here and here. You can also see some of the slides here in my yfrog page. And if you're just too damn lazy to do all of that you can read Mohamed Younis's article about the Gallup study findings right here or watch him talk about it in this segment of PBS Newshour.

    After the presentation, a panel discussion was held with the following panelists: 


    Mohamed Younis
    Senior Analyst of the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center  

    Rabbi Saperstein
    Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

    Imam Mohamed Magid
    President, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

    Ray Suarez (Mediator) 

    D. Paul Monteiro
    Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement

    They were joined by Dr. Jocelyn Cesari for the Q&A session directly after the panel discussion.

    You can view portions of the panel discussion here, here, and here.

    Overall I was fairly impressed by the study itself. It was very thorough and managed to hit on important and significant points across the board. I liked the fact that the report also gave a series of recommendations for government and civic leaders.To quote Mohamed Younis: 

    "The report provides a snapshot of the Muslim American community as we see it today," said Younis. "As we look toward the next 10 years, it is vital to consider what actions can be taken to positively impact the U.S. Muslim community."

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Imam Mohamed Magid & Yours Truly
    On another note, besides taking this kodak moment with Imam Mohamed Magid, I also managed to bump into activist extraordinaire Raquel Evita Saraswati who was also present at the event. And here I was thinking I was the only tweep who managed to get out of bed to show up!


    Related links:
    My Event Pictures
    My Event Videos
    PBS Newshour


    Gloomy said...

    Honestly I always thought that Muslims were treated in an ill way after the attacks.. I remember I watched a video on youtube of how Muslim women were treated and honestly I did not like what I saw..

    I believe that if Americans listened to Muslim American, there wont be much of a clash.

    the event really seems to be interesting

    ren_crow said...

    Yea but those are isolated cases. It happens to some muslims for sure but it doesn't happen to everyone. There are problems which need to be addressed but even then the situation isn't as bad you may think.

    maryam said...

    Here are my thoughts about the Gallup results:

    Uh, I could have predicted those results. Could have saved them a lot of money!!!