The Straight Path Initiative is a long-term campaign aimed at engaging all components of the Muslim American community, with a special focus on youth ages 15-30. The initiative seeks to pinpoint the roots of extremism, the ways in which individuals are radicalized, and the tools needed to address these challenges.
From its founding days, MAS has worked to promote an understanding of Islam which we believe was espoused and actualized by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions through the following three concepts: a) God conscious spirituality; b) comprehensiveness; and c) balanced moderation. We consider engagement on the topic of radicalization and extremism in our communities as essential part of conveying Islam with utmost clarity and preserving the rights of Muslim Americans and their organizations.
MAS is uniquely equipped-- with its chapter structure, youth department, self-development programs, youth centers and MAS Freedom civic and advocacy initiatives-- to play a pivotal role in providing programs that will serve as deterrents to involvement in religious extremism.
In that light, we have embarked on a plan of action, dubbed the Straight Path Initiative, that includes a number of carefully designed and executed projects focusing on increasing availability of moderate interpretations of Islamic principles, youth engagement projects, and audio/visual and social networking outreach, among others.
Goals & Objectives
- Initiate an honest and open dialogue about radicalization and extremism in Muslim American communities.
- Research and pinpoint the root causes of radicalization and extremism among Muslim American youth in particular.
- Engage the Muslim American community in monitoring and detecting extremist trends and their impact on vulnerable members of the community.
- Make use of modern audio/visual technology in promoting better understanding of challenges of extremism and opportunities for engagement.
- Target high schools and college campuses with programs and activities to involve young Muslim Americans in a proactive way that limits opportunities for radicalization.
- Train and educate Muslim American community leaders in imparting accurate Islamic principles and interpretations of controversial and often misunderstood issues.
- Increase awareness of the benefits of civic engagement, political involvement, and community building in fighting extremism.
Muslim Youth Leadership Forum: Building Young Muslim Leaders for a Better America
The goal of the forum is to mentor and prepare young Muslim leaders to provide leadership not only to the Muslim community but the greater American society at large. The institutional design focuses on developing and enhancing leadership skill sets of Muslim youth that will impact America's civic, social, economic and religious life. Youth participants will be placed in a leadership social mentoring network that will allow them to communicate after the initial forum on an ongoing basis with qualified mentors and other forum participants.
Interactive Youth Oriented Website
The Internet is the most effective way to reach out to community members, especially young Muslim Americans. An interactive, dynamic website tied to this campaign will include: public service announcement (PSA) headlined by prominent Muslim Americans that youth can identify with, sharing a message promoting moderation, engagement, and community participation.; moderated discussion forums and social networking components; resources on contemporary religious issues; profiles of Muslim American youth making a positive impact in their communities; volunteer/job boards that enumerate opportunities for political activism, civic engagement, community service, advocacy, etc.
The Straight Path Public Awareness Campaign
This public awareness-raising campaign is meant to create a “buzz” at high schools, college campuses, and youth centers nationwide. The campaign will make public the issues of concern to the community and attempt to address them through several projects, including lecture series, roundtable discussions, education through art initiatives, and community service projects, among others.