The United States and the Muslim World

The United States and the Muslim World initiative is dedicated to bringing diverse, fresh perspectives to bear on key issues shaping US-Muslim relations. Our projects focus on helping US and Muslim policymakers, journalists, and civil society representatives generate innovative solutions to problems of regional security, US policies toward the Muslim world, and mass media coverage. To promote durable, just solutions, we often work collaboratively with partner organizations to provide direct access for policymakers and journalists to the Muslim world. We also convene off-the-record policy dialogues and publish short policy analyses that spotlight new perspectives.

Rather than a "clash of civilizations," relations between the United States and the Muslim world are multifaceted, reflecting diverse regional contexts and longstanding patterns of cooperation as well as conflicting interests and perceptions. Some points of tension are longstanding: American approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan, for instance, continue to generate difficulties for the United States in its relations with much of the Muslim world. Other issues are more recent: for instance, many countries in the Muslim world would like the United States to take a leadership role in reforming international trade and financial systems to limit the devastating effect of economic crises on poor countries.

At the same time, there is also popular support in the Muslim world for prioritizing internal reform regardless of specific issues in US-Muslim relations. Dissatisfaction with domestic political and economic conditions is high. The failure of governments to achieve sustainable economic development for the middle and lower classes, limit corruption and contain cronyism, and allow greater political space have translated into support for a variety of Islamic parties and social movements. Understanding these developments requires US policymakers to engage with a broader array of social groups in Muslim countries than has traditionally been the case.