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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

Testimonials

“The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy has for seven years played a critical role in setting out a vision of a Muslim world that would be modern and democratic, in promoting debate about the political development of the Middle East, and in promoting better appreciation of Islam at a time when distrust and misunderstanding are rampant.”

Francis Fukuyama, Johns Hopkins University

“There is no American Muslim organization that understands Islam and America as well as CSID and at the same time knows how to meet the challenges of promoting a better understanding of the issues of common interests between the United States and global Muslims.”

Omar Kader, PhD, President, Pal-Tech Inc.

“In just a few years, CSID has done remarkable work in facilitating the vital discussion about Islam and democracy in the United States and beyond. In so doing it has made an invaluable contribution to breaking down prejudice and misunderstanding and to meeting the crucial challenge of advancing human rights and democracy in the Muslim world.”

Neil Hicks, Director, Human Rights Defenders Program

“The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) plays an absolutely vital role in creating a platform for the voices of democracy and reform throughout the Muslim World. Equally vital is the role they play in bringing a better understanding of the diversity within Islam to the people of America. CSID’s advocacy of Islamic values coupled with democratic principles needs and merits our support.”

John D. Sullivan, Executive Director, Center for International Private Enterprise

“Today, more than ever, we in the United States of America and beyond need to hear, understand, and promote the voices of reason, moderation, and democracy among Muslims. The CSID is one of the most articulate platforms serving this need. Through the CSID we can and have been tackling the deficit of democracy, human rights, especially women’s rights in many Islamic societies. By supporting CSID we help support dialogue and understanding, instead of clash, among civilizations.”

Nayereh Tohidi, Professor & Department Chair, Women’s Studies, CSUN & UCLA

“The work the CSID is doing is remarkable. It works in and on one of the most difficult regions of the world with patience, consistency and commitment. CSID is a symbol that Islam and Democracy are not only compatible but can be mutually reinforcing.”

Razmik Panossian, Director, Rights & Democracy, Canada

“CSID was talking about the importance of Muslim democracy as early as 1999, long before it was popular. In this respect and in so many others, it has been that rare organization – ahead of the curve, willing to carve out strong, principled positions, and able to bridge the theoretical with the practical through its programming. Today, when so many are despairing of the possibility that Arab democracy may yet come, CSID remains steadfast in its belief that democracy is not – and cannot be – the purview of only some peoples, cultures, and religions. No, democracy is universal and few have done more to convey this vital point than CSID.”

Shadi Hamid, Associate, The Project on Middle East Democracy

“The CSID’s role is crucial in Muslim societies and in the West. It is instrumental in contextualizing democracy in Muslim societies by underscoring the areas where Islam values and democratic principles meet. The CSID also bridges this arbitrary and unnecessary gap between the Muslim democrats and the secular democrats, an essential step for making the establishment of democracy and effective participatory systems a mainstream quest. Further, the CSID’s role in the US is equally important in presenting the moderate, tolerant and pluralistic nature of Islam.”

Emad El-Din Shahin, Visiting Professor, Harvard University

“There are few issues of greater concern to the future of the Muslim world than the prospects for democracy. CSID has pioneered the promotion of democracy at the practical level, and in this regard has provided invaluable service through education and social activism.”

Vali Nasr, Professor, Naval Postgraduate School

“The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy is one of the most important institutions in the West helping to bring concepts of political liberalization, democratization and rule of law to states in the Muslim world. It engages in direct and personal outreach to Muslim leaders around the world; indeed, many of the Center’s leaders come from Muslim background themselves and therefore possess an understanding of Muslim culture and an appreciation of how best to promote these ideas within traditional societies. CSID enjoys a reputation of independence, balance and integrity, free of any taint of association with the policies of any administration. Today the Muslim world is in deep crisis, its peoples are frustrated and suffering from lack of any voice over the policies of their own governments. It is only this democratic option– achieved not through foreign intervention but through the work of local activists–that represents the best hope for the future of the region. CSID is at the center of these activities.”

Graham E. Fuller, Author of The Future of Political Islam

“CSID is a crucial part of the global effort to democratize Muslim society around the world. Again and again others ask, “where are the moderate Muslims?” They are everywhere, of course, in the hundreds of millions, but nowhere are they more clearly expressed and represented than in the work and words of CSID.”

Michael Wolfe, Author & Film Producer, Unity Productions Foundation

“CSID has been a pioneer from the very start of its existence. Most recently, it has focused its energies on promoting understanding and dialogue between secularists and Islamists‚Äö√Ñ√Æ path-breaking work that has won it praises in both the Islamic world and the West.”

Daniel Brumberg, Georgetown University & USIP

“The CSID is doing vital work to explore and demonstrate the compatibility of Islam and democracy, and to promote innovative thinking, fresh analysis, informed assessment, and free debate on the need for democratic development and reform in the Muslim world. Now, more than ever, when we need understanding of Islam in the United States, and tolerant, moderate, and democratic voices of Islam to be heard worldwide, we need the CSID, and it merits generous support.”

Larry Diamond, Stanford University

“I would like to congratulate CSID on the excellent work done by the Center over the past 7 years. I remember when Dr. Radwan Masmoudi single-mindedly began this timely initiative. He, along with many other dedicated scholars, has brought international prominence to the organization. There is nothing more important than promoting democracy in the Muslim world and CSID should be commended for their efforts. The twenty-first century will be the century of democracy in Islam.”

Akbar S. Ahmed, American University

“CSID provides a valuable source of discussion and debate on issues which are crucial to the world we live in today, and engages a wide range of authoritative views in the process.  The Centre has added real value in its first seven years.”

David French, Chief Executive, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, London

“I have admired the work of CSID in promoting genuine democracy in the Muslim world. I am extremely grateful to them for facilitating contacts with their global network of Muslim scholars and political practitioners. I have found their papers insightful and their work essential in counter balancing the negative perception of a clash of civilizations between the Muslim and Western worlds.”

Oliver McTernan, Director of Forward Thinking, UK

“In a few short years, CSID has propelled itself into a vital role in promoting democracy and toleration in the Muslim world, both conceptually and practically, in a manner that has earned it much respect. Its mission in Muslim countries cannot be more important and timely and is supplemented by another important mission in perusing good and responsible citizenship in the United States.”

Shibley Telhami, Univ. of Maryland and the Brookings Institution

“In our global village, one that celebrates diversity and self-determination, it is notable that the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy is the only US-based Muslim organization promoting genuine democracy in Muslim-majority countries. Other American efforts, however well-intentioned, are not rooted in both scholarly and innate understandings of Islam nor appreciation for cultural distinctions among Muslims. Empowerment of Muslims by Muslims is essential for substance, sustainability and success.”

Anisa Mehdi, President, Whetstone Productions

“These are difficult times for Muslim Democrats. All the more reason why the painstaking work that the CSID undertakes in the Arab and Islamic world to train and encourage Muslim Democrats, is of greater importance than ever, for CSID stands uncompromised, and its mission more critical than ever before.”

S. Abdallah Schleifer, Washington bureau chief, Al Arabiya Channel

“The important challenge of our time is creating peaceful vibrant communities with a strong civil society sector. CSID’s superb work promotes real cross-cultural understanding and engages people to take their civic responsibilities seriously. There are very few American Muslim organizations that are successful in executing workshops, conferences and educational programs which bring serious debate and dialogue. CSID’s constructive engagement has fostered peace and tolerance in the global community.”

Qamar-ul Huda, Ph.D., United States Institute of Peace

“Those of us who benefit from working in countries with strong democratic traditions and a free enterprise system understand the importance of CSID. Radwan Masmoudi founded CSID to promote political liberties in the Muslim World a couple of years before the September 11 attacks. Its efforts were needed then, and are more needed today. CSID democratic convictions and its moderate interpretation of Islam are helping create a rich dialogue around the world and is a source of hope for millions of Islamic friends of the free society.”

Alex Chafuen, President, Atlas Economic Research Foundation

“CSID is one of the most courageous and important institutions today in the Muslim world. There is nothing more important for the steady growth and empowerment of the Muslim world than genuine, culturally authentic processes of democratization that CSID has advocated and pioneered. This is the truly nonviolent way for the Muslim world to become empowered and meet in a spirit of nonviolence and peace with the other cultural worlds that occupy our crowded earth. I am very encouraged by all of their work.”

Marc Gopin, Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University

“CSID, since its inception, has been bringing together the best minds in academia, as well as in the Muslim community of North America, to discuss the relationship of Islam to democracy. Thanks to these efforts we now have available, several articles, and some monographs, that deal exhaustively with Islamic law and democratic rule, democracy in the Muslim World, and, Islam in the United States.”

Muneer Fareed, Ph.D., Secretary General, Islamic Society of North America

“The most important issue that needs to be addressed in the Muslim World is about enabling self governance. CSID is not only at the forefront, but is uniquely dedicated to this goal, to help the Muslim World develop epistemologies of self governance and learn how to balance the imperatives of Islam and the virtues of democracy.”

Muqtedar Khan, Professor & Author of Islamic, Democratic Discourse, University of Delaware

“The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy fills an important niche in current discussions of whether democracy is compatible with Islam. Its work highlights the ideas and writings of scholars who believe in a liberal interpretation of Islam. By doing so, the Center both disseminates information that combats stereotypes about Islam and encourages scholars fighting to define what Islam means in the 21st century.”

Marina Ottaway, Director, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“It is difficult for me to overemphasize the professional and personal value I have found in the global work of CSID, and in attending its annual meetings for several years in a row. This is because I for over 20 years have been a professor at an evangelical Christian university, with a current specialization on the clash within Islam today between the rationales various Muslim groups give for their moderation or militancy. I recently described CSID’s value in Chuck Colson’s www.Breakpoint.org website (archived 8/22/2006): “As for the democratic side of this Islamic clash, a good source for examining their efforts and literature for democracy education, both in English and in Arabic, is the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington, D.C. (Radwan Masmoudi, president).” Democracy education is precisely where we Jewish, Christian and Muslim members of CSID find our most fruitful, and encouraging, exchanges and contributions in the face of modern extremist and statist remedies.”

Joseph N. Kickasola, M.Div., Ph.D., Professor, Regent University

“At a time of great challenges to the Islamic culture, CSID has provided a forum for thinkers and reformers from various ideological streams to engage in serious debates & dialogues about crucial issues that have been avoided for a long time.”

Wael Nawara, Writer & Activist, Co-founder & Former Sec. Gen. of El Ghad Party

“The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy has become an important source of knowledge about Islam both for non-Muslims as well as Muslims. In seven years, it has become a model for Muslim minority communities on how to effectively engage their governments by uniting their voices.”

Amina Rasul, Lead Convenor, Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy

“CSID’s endeavor in the past 7 years to promote a better understanding of Islam in the West and a genuine dialogue in the Muslim world about Islam and democracy is worthy of our admiration and sustained support. CSID’s efforts to promote a dialogue about democracy that is rooted in the respect for the rights of all human beings everywhere in the world to lead a free and dignified life in fulfillment of their God-given potential help in bridging the gap between the West and the Muslim world, at a time when this gap has never been wider.”

Randa Slim, Vice President, International Institute for Sustained Dialogue

“As peoples of the Muslim world ponder democratic alternatives that grow out of their own cultures, alternatives that they are beginning to act on and will inevitably attain in the future, they will owe a great debt to the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. In the brief span of its existence CSID has nobly served as a bridge between cultures, worldviews and civilizations. Here in the West it has greatly helped us understand how to engender mutual understanding between the West and the Muslim world to the mutual benefit of both.”

Robert R. LaGamma, Executive Director, Council for a Community of Democracies

“CSID has lead the battle of democracy in Islamic World and promoting the rethinking in Islam from new perspectives.”

Radwan Ziadeh, Director, Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies

“It was our great privilege in IFID that we cooperated with CSID in a number of projects in the Arab and Muslim world, as well as in Europe and USA. Not only CSID was so innovative in their work based on a modern democratic and moderate interpretation of Islam and greater understanding of Islam in the United States, but alos promoting genuine democracy in the Muslim World.”

Najah kadhim, International Forum for Islamic Dialogue

“CSID is a very important collaborating partner with CCD on a “Transition to Democracy” project for activists and leaders from Middle East and North African countries meeting in conversation with East European and African leaders who have successfully made such a transition and exploring how these experiences can be applied in the Middle East and North African. The insights CSID brings to this endeavor are playing a key role in the creation of a “handbook” on democracy transition in the Middle East.”

Richard C. Rowson, President, Council for a Community of Democracies

“Dr. Masmoudi and his team at CSID are doing extremely important work to lay the foundation for the spread of democracy in the Muslim world. I cannot stress enough how much I respect and support their work”

Lorne Craner, President, International Republican Institute

“The CSID is free from tendentious activities, and by training Muslim youths across the globe, it lays the foundations for a solid growth of democratic societies in the troubled Islamic world. The CSID helps Muslims learn about democracy, while training the westerners to appreciate the essence of peaceful Islam, which has functioned as a creative culture for many centuries.”

Rasool Nafisi, PhD, Strayer University

“CSID has been doing very useful work in projecting a moderate and enlightened vision of Islam and promoting greater understanding of the Islamic world here in the United States, as well as advancing the cause of democracy and tolerance in the Muslim world by bringing together in proactive dialogue scholars and policy makers from both side of the divide.”

Amb. (Ret) A. Tariq Karim, Political Analyst and Ind. Consultant

“CSID is accomplishing a great mission in terms of promoting democracy and liberty in Muslim World, and developing a modern and moderate interpretation of Islam in US, through conferences, seminars and workshops. The world needs this great effort the most today.”

Dr. H. Ali Yurtsever, President, Rumi Forum, Washington DC

“CSID’s sincere efforts to bring an understanding between the two polarizing worlds is groundbreaking. CSID, a trailblazer in the field, contributes invaluably to the intellectual discourse on the closure of the chasm between Islam and the West.”

Merve Kavakci, Former Member of the Turkish Parliament

“In the current global environment of growing animosity between the Western and Muslim worlds, CSID has played an invaluable role as bridge between these cultures. CSID’s programs that seek to promote cross-cultural understanding are crucial to bridging the divide between the West and the Muslim World.”

Mona Yacoubian, United States Institute of Peace

“CSID is a groundbreaking organization that has been an essential component in promoting democracy throughout the Muslim World and beyond, in fact. Its emphasis on adopting a moderate interpretation of Islam is truly inspirational and echoes the thoughts of a growing body of thinkers. In doing so, CSID has also done invaluable work towards promoting peace, understanding and goodwill across cultures, civilizations and religions.”

Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi LLB, Al-Khoei Foundation, London & New York

“The work of CSID and its activities, in the US and in the Arab and Islamic world, has had a tremendous impact in promoting moderate and centrist viewpoints against extremism and radicalism, which has appeared here and there. CSID has made an important contribution in linking Islam and democracy, as many people especially in the West, thought the two were incompatible. I especially appreciate CSID’s efforts to strengthen and promote a democratic culture in the Arab world, and the acceptance of democracy by Muslims leaders, as well as bringing Muslim democrats and secular democrats together. All of these efforts have born positive results, and need to be continued.”

Abou Elela Mady, Founder, Al-Wasat Party, Egypt

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