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Blaming Islam: Examining the Religion Building Enterprise

Contact: 586-416-1150;

Detroit MI: The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) released its long awaited report entitled “Blaming Islam: Examining the Religion Building Enterprise”.

Dr. Louay Safi, a Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and a recognized authority on Islam and the Middle East, authored the report.

The report examines the religion building enterprise and assesses recent writing on Islam by scholars, pundits and policy makers. While the report suggests that Islam is in need of a new interpretation it also points out that on balance, Islam has been a positive force, rather than a villain to be arrested and chastised.

In the report, Safi argues that containing radical groups and ensuring more friendly and cooperative relations with the Muslim world requires a drastic shift in policy and attitude. In addition, American Muslims can be of great help in reconciling the differences between the United States and the Muslim world while also helping to fight terrorism and extremism. It suggests that US government officials should involve American Muslim scholars and leaders on policies relating to Islam and the Muslim world.

The report also recommends officials to:

* Engage Muslim leaders who represent social and political groups that are committed to democracy, instead of relying completely or exclusively on the views of experts who do not have firsthand contact or experience with Muslim groups.

* Ensure that U.S. foreign policy is always respectful of democratic principles and values, the rule of law, and protection of human rights.

* Apply the same set of principles and values to all people, regardless of their religious and ethnic affiliation.

* Withdraw support from authoritarian regimes, and send a clear message by requiring an open political system and free and fair elections as a precondition for economic cooperation.

* Have a clear position regarding Islam, and avoid sending mixed messages to Muslim communities and societies.

The full report was presented by Dr. Louay Safi at a conference on Islamophobia held on December 4th 2006 at the Brookings Institution in conjunction with ISPU. For copies of the report please contact the ISPU office at 586-416-1150 or visit our website at


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