Understanding the Leadership Enigma in the American Muslim Community

53 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2018

Date Written: February 28, 2018


The Issue at Hand: The American Muslim community is one of the largest and most diverse religious communities in the world, numbering roughly 3 million. However, remarkably, despite its longstanding presence in the United States, the Muslim community lacks strong institutions for religious and scholarly training, the cultivation of new leadership, and effective community-building. This gap in leadership and institutional supports, if left unaddressed, will have serious consequences for generations of Muslims, hence the need for this study.

The Project: Thanks to a generous grant by the Luce foundation, the IC was able to conduct a year-long landscaping project of leadership and educational programs based out of the United States whose primary focus is on the Muslim community. Headed by our senior researcher Sajjad Chowdhry, we went in with no assumptions but rather a hope to study what already exists and, possibly more importantly, to highlight questions which have not received the level of serious discourse required. We will utilize the findings that follow in this paper to move forward conversations on leadership and authority in the Muslim community. Our ultimate goal is to build out a robust co-curricular model of leadership in addition to a much-needed academic program that starts to train and fill critical gaps that exist in the frame of leadership in the American Muslim community. We at the Islamic Center at NYU are eager and ready to fill any voids we can by developing a program that train and empower the next generation of Muslim leaders in the U.S. This study is the first step towards achieving that goal.

Keywords: Muslim, American Muslim, Leadership, Authority, Institutions, Religion, Chaplaincy, Imam, Scholar, Islam

JEL Classification: Z12

Suggested Citation

Chowdhry, Sajjad, Understanding the Leadership Enigma in the American Muslim Community (February 28, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3141098 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3141098

Sajjad Chowdhry (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) ( email )

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