On October 19, 2011, the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World hosted a panel discussion looking at Muslim minority communities around the globe and the challenges they face. How are Muslim Shi’i communities different in belief and tradition from Sunni communities? What specific challenges do they face with respect to their ability to practice and worship freely? What are the specific rights and responsibilities of majority and minority communities in religiously mixed societies? The panel built on the discussions of the Religious Leaders working group at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum and the recently published report, “Muslim-Majority and Muslim-Minority Communities in a Global Context.”
Stephen Grand, the director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, served as moderator for a panel of experts including Azizah al-Hibri, Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, and Imam Mohamed Magid. Dr. al-Hibri is a professor at the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law. She is also the founder and president of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights and was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Ambassador Cook serves as the ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom at the U.S. Department of State. Imam Magid is the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Center, organizations that build bridges of understanding within Islam as well as to all people of faith in North America.