Currently, the message of Islam is often dictated by individuals with particular religious and political agendas that are using their pulpit to disparage the faith. As a result, the narrative from Muslims is often defensively postured.

Instead of proving what Muslims are not, the Hadi Initiative aims to tell people who Muslims are by investing in the presentation and research of Muslims on college campuses. The Hadi Initiative aims to establish departments, professorships, and degree programs in various aspects of Islamic Studies to expand the opportunities to change this message. In addition, the Hadi Initiative will strive to promote the understanding of Islam and Muslims by supporting academic research to help objectively clarify and change the narrative of Muslims in America.

Research Award

Hadi's first research award has been granted to Dr. Arshad Ali.

Research Project Title

Academic Participation, Campus Climate and Democratic Engagement Among American Muslim College Students

Principal Investigator

Arshad Imtiaz Ali, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Educational Research

Graduate School of Education and Human Development

George Washington University

Research Questions

1) What are the ways in which Muslim undergraduates engage with the academic culture on their campus?

2) How do Muslim undergraduates understand and participate in civic and democratic life, both on and off campus?

3) How do Muslim undergraduate students perceive and understand the role of their college/university in facilitating and supporting their experiences as Muslim students engaged in spiritual, cultural, political, and democratic political life?

4) How do Muslim undergraduates understand and narrate their personal, and familial histories as part of their academic journey?


This study will contribute to understanding academic life for American Muslim students. It will illuminate the efforts made by colleges to support students whose identities place them in the political crosshairs. In addition to academic presentations and publications, this study will have practical policy- and student service-level implications. The findings will be made available to student affairs officers, university administrators, and educators.