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America and the Muslim World


Islam remained largely on the periphery of American public discourse until the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  In the years since, discussion of Islam has revolved largely around security issues, especially terrorism and extremism.  But America’s encounter with the Muslim world stretches back centuries and reflects the full spectrum of cross-cultural interaction.  The importance of this ongoing encounter is reflected in President Obama’s 2009 “New Beginnings” speech in Cairo.

To strengthen American engagement with Muslim communities, CSPC has sought to revitalize U.S. public diplomacy toward Muslim populations and to facilitate people-to-people interaction between American citizens and their counterparts in Muslim countries.

The Arab Spring, which elevated the importance of citizen action across much of the Middle East, amplified the importance of engaging in direct people-to-people dialogue and collaboration. In the summer of 2011, CSPC visiting scholar Graham West conducted a series of interviews on America and the Arab Spring with experts on the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy.