Institue for Social Policy and Understanding


ISPU is an independent, nonpartisan think tank and research organization committed to conducting objective, empirical research and offering expert policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States. These issues include U.S. foreign policy, national security, the economy, and public health. In addition, ISPU has assembled leading experts across multiple disciplines and built a solid reputation as a trusted source for information about American Muslims and Muslim communities around the world.

ISPU scholars provide insight into the major debates taking place across the country. They offer context-specific analysis and recommendations to journalists, policymakers, and the general public through reports, policy briefs, articles, op-eds and books. ISPU disseminates its publications through a variety of channels and holds regular congressional briefings, policy events and academic conferences.


Our mission is to provide expert analysis, insight and context to critical issues facing our nation, with an emphasis on those issues related to Muslim communities in the U.S. and abroad.

ISPU was founded by a visionary group of scholars and philanthropists in Detroit, Michigan in the wake of the tragic September 11, 2001 attacks, a time that generated much commentary about Muslims both in the United States and abroad. Since then, journalists, government officials and the general public have increasingly sought to educate themselves about Muslims; however, the scarcity of reliable data or sound policy analysis has made it difficult to understand Muslim attitudes, institutions, or practices.

The founders of ISPU aimed to fill this major information gap by assembling the most talented experts in the field. The goal was 1) to conduct objective, empirical research on American Muslims and 2) to provide a fresh perspective and relevant policy analysis on the most critical issues facing the United States.

Today, ISPU is increasingly recognized for its rigorous and in-depth studies, insightful policy briefs, and timely op-ed articles written by widely respected scholars. ISPU publications are disseminated to key stakeholders through policy events, congressional briefings, academic conferences, public events, and the internet. In May 2010, ISPU opened headquarters in Washington, DC to maximize its impact among policymakers, opinion leaders and government officials.