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Muslims in New York City Project

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From 1998 to 2004, Columbia University's Middle East Institute, with support from the Ford Foundation, conducted the Muslims in New York City Project to explore in an interdisciplinary fashion questions of identity, social and cultural accommodation, economic participation and political engagement as they relate to Muslims' individual and collective experiences in the complex realities of life in New York City. The Project was led by three administrators: co-principal investigators Prof. Peter Awn and Dr. Reeva Simon, and Professor Ester Fuchs as well as project coordinator, Dr. Louis Abdellatif Cristillo.

The first three-year phase of the study focused on generating baseline data on identity, neighborhood demographics and communal patterns in the five boroughs of New York City. During the second three-year phase—following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001—the study continued its original research agenda but expanded its scope to account for the impact of 9/11. A research team of faculty and graduate students from across the disciplines of the social sciences conducted empirical research to examine an array of topics, including the changing role of the mosque, mental health and social services, Islam and urban youth culture, art, religious education, civic and political attitudes, media coverage after 9/11, and religious-difference reconciliation movements in the inner city.

The project also sponsored a series of seminars and workshops on contemporary topics in the study of Islam and the Muslim communities in the United States. In addition, the study developed a special post-9/11 curriculum to help public school teachers and students learn about Islam in the context of American pluralism and tolerance for diversity.[1]

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