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2011 and Reflections on the Past Year

The only security of all is in a free press,” Thomas Jefferson said in 1823. What the former American president captures in this profoundly simple statement is that insecurity is less a function of physical barriers and checkpoints than it is a matter of ignorance. The less people know about what is actually happening in the world, the greater the danger for all of us. On the launch of our inaugural issue, we humbly submit the Islamic Monthly as an effort to inform our readers about issues, concerns and debates related to Islam and the Muslim world. Informing the public is a daunting task and we are under no illusions regarding the power and reach of larger media conglomerates to dominate news cycles and narratives. However, the impact we hope to achieve is less about reaching mass audiences than it is about articulating the depth, breadth and range of intelligent perspectives coming from the Muslim community. We acknowledge all the excellent publications, both past and present, that represent the Muslim voice in the English language and hope that the Islamic Monthly can build upon this tradition.

As a matter of beginning the discussion, we are launching the magazine with an issue focusing on the year ahead while drawing upon lessons from the past. Four subjects benefit from a series of essays and articles. First, we explore U.S.-Muslim world engagement with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright voicing her thoughts. Dalia Mogahed offers an exclusive analysis of newly released Gallup poll data on the effectiveness of engagement with the Muslim world. Pakistan, arguably one of the most important and complicated American foreign policy issues of the next decade, is discussed in detail including essays on the military, judicial system and the recent floods. We analyze the spread of radicalism in America among Muslim youth in a series of essays that range from citizenship to homegrown terrorism. In the wake of the BP oil spill, the question of energy and oil is discussed with a focus on U.S. energy policy and the depletion of oil in the Muslim world.

Other highlights include an interview with Annie Leonard, the producer of the Story of Stuff, an analysis of the major elections of the Muslim world in 2011 and an interview with a Muslim hip-hop artist from the United Kingdom. Thomas Jefferson went on to argue that “the force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters pure.” As we begin this new magazine, we do so in the spirit of honesty and integrity, and with a slight inclination toward agitation.