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Houston Muslim Study

May 20, 2022

The purpose of the Houston Muslim Study is to provide an in-depth and policy-relevant study, through a non-security lens, about American Muslims at the local level in Houston, Texas. The study offers fresh insights and helps shape a discussion about American Muslims that is data-driven and moves beyond the generalizations, prejudices, and fear that too often surround public and policy discourses about Muslim communities in America.

Impact 2020: the Million Muslim Votes Campaign Voter Turnout Report

April 27, 2022

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 presidential election set a record for voter turnout nationwide, significantly changed how Americans participate in voting, and resulted in 66.8% of eligible voters casting a ballot—7 percentage points over 2016. For years the Muslim American community has focused on improving and building institutional capacity to change the way Muslim Americans engaged in politics to ensure that the Muslim American narrative is at the core of the social fabric of this nation. In 2020, Emgage launched and implemented the largest Muslim mobilization program in history, the Million Muslim Votes campaign. Alongside statewide and national Muslim American civic groups, we concentrated our efforts on 12 states that made up a total of 1.5 million registered Muslim American voters. Our organizing efforts included making 1.8 million calls, sending over 3.6 million text messages and over 400,000 mailers, knocking on over 20,000 doors, holding over 50 organizing training sessions, and activating 672 volunteers nationwide.This effort contributed to 1,086,087 million (71%) registered Muslim voters casting a ballot, two percentage points over the 2016 turnout. Of the 1.5 million registered Muslim voters in 2020, 52% (779,793 million) voted early or via absentee ballots.This report takes an in-depth look at three core elements:the growth of the Muslim American electorate in the 12 states in which we organized;Muslim American voter turnout for 2016 and 2020, with a special focus on Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Illinois;the pivotal organizing shifts necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crisis in Ukraine: The Jewish Federations of North America Backgrounder

February 25, 2022

Following weeks of rising tension, and despite international attempts to negotiate a peaceful solution, in the early hours of Thursday morning Russia launched what appears to be a full-blown invasion of Ukraine, home to an estimated 200,000 Jews. While Ukrainian forces are attempting to defend their country, Russian troops have entered the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, which was hit overnight by multiple Russian missile strikes.

Religious Organizations Are Integral to the Fight Against Gun Violence

December 7, 2021

Religious communities play a significant role in efforts to reduce gun violence, including by advocating for commonsense gun reform using a variety of tools. Their work is driven by both a sense of ethical obligation and concern for the safety of their communities.Gun violence in the United States is an epidemic that affects all communities. While people may most often hear about gun violence through news reports on mass shootings, gun violence manifests itself in many ways. Other forms of gun violence include suicide, violent crime, abuse, and accidental death—all of which concern faith communities and religious leaders in the United States. After incidents of gun violence, faith communities are often sites for funeral rituals, collective grieving, and long-term support networks for survivors. Moreover, faith communities are often targets of white supremacist attacks and other forms of violence. They play a significant role in efforts to reduce gun violence as well, both within their communities and the nation, by advocating for commonsense gun reform using a variety of effective tools.Most religious Americans believe that gun reform is needed to save lives. In turn, religious organizations, acting out of a sense of sacred obligation and moral conviction, are working to end gun violence through violence interruption programs, education, counseling, advocacy, and more. They are also working to push back against the harmful ideology of Christian nationalism, which research shows is connected to opposition to gun reform.

In U.S., Far More Support Than Oppose Separation of Church and State

October 28, 2021

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that the country shall have no official religion. At the same time, Christians continue to make up a large majority of U.S. adults – despite some rapid decline in recent years – and historians, politicians and religious leaders continue to debate the role of religion in the founders' vision and of Christianity in the nation's identity.Some Americans clearly long for a more avowedly religious and explicitly Christian country, according to a March 2021 Pew Research Center survey. On the other hand, however, the clear majority of Americans do not accept these views. This report presents findings from surveys focused on American's views on the separation of church and state.

Muslim American Giving 2021

October 6, 2021

Muslim-Americans have been at the center stage of U.S. political and socio-economic debates in recent years. Probably the reason being the fastest-growing demographics in the U.S., with around 1.1% of the U.S. population belongs to the Muslim faith as suggested by a 2018 Pew survey. Muslim-Americans are also one of the most racially diverse groups in the U.S., comprising African-Americans, Asians, Arabs, and Caucasians. Nevertheless, there is a lack of data-driven research about Muslim giving despite their standing.The data and findings from the Muslim American Giving 2021 Study are presented in this study. Muslim Philanthropy Initiative (MPI) at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, IUPUI, in collaboration with the Islamic Relief USA administered this through SSRS. The study surveyed the sentiments of 2,005 participants regarding donor behavior, volunteer work, faith customs, attitudes and practices on donation, uncertainty intolerance amidst COVID-19, financial welfare, and sensitivities involved in the donor's decisionmaking process. SSRS surveyed from March 17 through April 7, 2021.

Globally, Social Hostilities Related to Religion Decline in 2019, While Government Restrictions Remain at Highest Levels

September 30, 2021

In this report on violence and harassment against religious groups in 2019, Pew's researchers used a fine-tuned methodology to rank religious restrictions in 198 countries and territories, finding that 43 countries had "high" or "very high" levels of social hostilities towards members of various religions — down from 53 countries in 2018 and 65 countries in 2012. Much of this movement is accounted for by a decrease in the number of countries experiencing religion-related terrorism. In 2019, 49 countries experienced at least one such terrorist act, down from a high of 82 countries in 2014.The survey found that the decrease in the prevalence of the social hostilities was not matched by a similar decline in government restrictions on religion, including official laws, policies and actions ranging from bans on conversion to restrictions on religious attire. The total number of countries with "high" or "very high" levels of such restrictions in 2019 increased slightly to 29% of the countries surveyed. In total, 180 countries had at least one instance of government religious harassment, up from 175 countries in 2018.

Building an Impactful Faith Portfolio: A Foundational Guide to Impact Investing for Faith Institutions

July 28, 2021

This guide is written for faith institutions and their financial decision makers—chief investment officers, finance staff, investment committee members, and financial professionals – seeking to incorporate impact investments into their portfolios. We highlight the key steps and considerations, which include establishing an Impact Strategy and integrating it into investment policies and due diligence/sourcing questions. The guide includes many resources and examples from fellow faith investors and impact experts.

Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation

June 29, 2021

More than 70 years after India became free from colonial rule, Indians generally feel their country has lived up to one of its post-independence ideals: a society where followers of many religions can live and practice freely.India's massive population is diverse as well as devout. Not only do most of the world's Hindus, Jains and Sikhs live in India, but it also is home to one of the world's largest Muslim populations and to millions of Christians and Buddhists.A major new Pew Research Center survey of religion across India, based on nearly 30,000 face-to-face interviews of adults conducted in 17 languages between late 2019 and early 2020 (before the COVID-19 pandemic), finds that Indians of all these religious backgrounds overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths.

The Science of Prayer: Opportunities and Limits

April 1, 2021

Am I alone? Can anyone hear me? Whether expressed in words or sensed emotionally, it is possible to imagine these questions as the beginnings of the first prayer. Likewise, it is easy to imagine that, once begun, the ways of praying quickly multiplied to include discrete thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, accompanied by physical objects, employed in specific locations, both built and naturally occurring. These experiential and physical developments accompanying the act of prayer, it turns out, are comparatively easy to measure and, in some cases, predict.More challenging is the effort to discern the origins and function of prayer. Some will argue that the impetus to pray comes from outside the person who prays; a divine or "cosmic" force inspires the act. Others will contend that the impulse arises purely from within the individual; it is fundamentally a form of self-talk. The stance adopted establishes the terms of investigation to be conducted and places limits around possible conclusions. This initial ambiguity is not resolvable by scientific researchers because their intellectual tools and conceptual language do not function effectively in this philosophical domain. Nonetheless, to sidestep these questions entirely is to miss the opportunity to systematically explore how these perspectives in and of themselves are amenable to scientific study.

Advancing Faith Values Through Impact Investing: A Short Guide for Faith Investors and their Financial Professionals

March 30, 2021

This guide is meant to help faith investors and their investment professionals — internal finance staff and investment committees, as well as external advisors and consultants—begin to understand impact investing and the opportunity it presents for their portfolios.

The Pro-Democracy Faith Movement

February 18, 2021

This report was developed through a project with Auburn Seminary, which for more than 200 years has equipped leaders of faith and moral courage who are on the front lines fighting for the health and wholeness of U.S. society.In summer 2020, the Center for American Progress interviewed 28 pro-democracy religious leaders of diverse faith backgrounds, some individually and some in groups, in an attempt to better understand the motivations of religious Americans who are driven to protect and uphold American democracy. The leaders were asked about the values underpinning their work for an inclusive democracy where everyone has a vote and a voice. Considering these conversations as a whole, the authors discerned five value-based themes crucial to this work: Building an inclusive democratic movement for a more inclusive democracy, Centering the experience of Black Americans, Grounding democracy in a shared sense of community, Being political but nonpartisan, and Meeting the urgency of the moment. This report explores each of these themes.