CSID EMAIL BULLETIN – December 15, 2006

Dear Friend of CSID:   It is my pleasure to send you these testimonies from well known leaders and thinkers (both Muslim and non-Muslim) about the importance of CSID.  I invite you to read them carefully and to support CSID in this difficult and critical time in our history.  Together, we can make a difference and build a better future for all Muslims, and for mankind.  


What do they say about CSID?


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



“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 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.



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 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



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 Federation 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  



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 CSIDs 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



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



“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


In order for CSID to continue its important and critical projects and activities, we need to raise at least $200,000 in membership fees and donations per year.  That means we NEED at least 2,000 people to join as members and contribute $100 each per year.  Please do YOUR part, make your contribution, and forward this e-mail to others and ask them to support the important work of CSID.  Please send whatever you can afford before year’s end.