About Us

About the Journey:

How do Muslims fit into contemporary American society? And how have the uniquely American ideals of pluralism, openness, and cultural integration held up in post-9/11 American society? Those are the driving questions behind “Journey into America,” a cross-country adventure led by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, renowned Islamic scholar and author, and his team of enthusiastic young Americans. They will explore America and American identity in a post-September 11 world during their journey, which will take them to cities big and small, from Birmingham, Alabama, Nashville, Tennessee, and Salt Lake City to New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

A similar journey through the Muslim world resulted in the book Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization. The result of this adventure will be a unique anthropological study of American identity as seen through the eyes of Americans—both Muslim and non-Muslim.

To read more, see Dr. Ahmed’s “Welcome Message.”


Akbar Ahmed

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C., is considered “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam,” according to the BBC. He is a renowned author and award-winning film and documentary director. A former high commissioner of Pakistan to Great Britain, he has advised Prince Charles and met with President George W. Bush on Islam. Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, his latest book, was published in 2007 by the Brookings Institution Press.

Other biographical details:

• visiting professor at Harvard and Cambridge universities and at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

• recipient of the Professor of the Year Award for Washington, D.C., from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education

Team Members

Craig Considine

Craig M. Considine, 23, from Needham, Massachusetts, is a film director and research assistant for Ambassador Akbar Ahmed at American University, Washington D.C. His work has been aired on BBC World News America, CNN, and local ABC networks across the country. His scholarly articles have been published in newspapers in both the United States and Pakistan. He holds an MSc from the University of London and a BA in International Relations from American University, both in Politics and International Relations. His areas of interest include U.S. foreign policy, Islam, and American society. After making the documentary for this project, plans to pursue a PhD.

Madeeha Hameed

Madeeha Hameed, 21, was born in Islamabad, Pakistan. After spending her elementary school years in Germany, she returned with her family to Pakistan. In 2001, her family moved to the United States for her higher education. She is currently a senior at the College of William and Mary, double majoring in international relations and religious studies.

Jonathan Hayden

Jonathan Hayden, 30, from Huntsville, Alabama, has worked with Ahmed since 2005 as his assistant. Hayden was a research assistant on the previous research project, which resulted in Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, traveling to Malaysia and Indonesia. He has published extensively in newspapers and journals. He received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Alabama.

Frankie Martin

Frankie Martin, 25, from Baltimore, Maryland, is an Ibn Khaldun Chair Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service. In 2006, he graduated magna cum laude from American University with a BA in history. His research interests include Islamic-Western relations, religion and culture in Africa, and American foreign policy. His articles, published by the Guardian and Huffington Post, among others, have been widely circulated. Martin was a research assistant on Ahmed’s previous research project, which resulted in Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, traveling to Jordan, Pakistan, and India.

Hailey Woldt

Hailey Woldt, 22, from Dallas, Texas, is an Ibn Khaldun Research Fellow at American University and a research associate at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service with a certificate in Muslim-Christian understanding and a degree in culture and politics. She traveled to eight Muslim countries for fieldwork and contributed to the book Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization by Akbar Ahmed. She has published extensively in newspapers and journals and has lectured at several universities and think tanks.

22 responses to “About Us

  1. I wish information about for you institute

  2. I just saw the first clip of your movie and i am really impressed with your efforts. I live in Minneapolis which in a way is pretty set in its ways. But I am amazed at how well Americans get along with the other ethnicities like Somali muslims, palestinians, arabs etc. I have seen more intolerance in immigrant friendly cities like Los Angeles but the people of minnesota are really accepting and friendly. a good example is the fact that more than 50,000 somalis are settled in Minneapolis alone and another 50,000 around Minnesota.

    But yeah, that doesnt mean that they have a very good view of muslims. I am studying here at the university and a lot of the students dont hold muslims highly. Nevertheless they dont get all angry when they see a muslim.

    Anyways i am not sure if u guys visited this side too. Good work!

  3. I love your site. Keep it up !

  4. I want to firstly thank oll of you who contribute to anything to this project especially Hailey Woldt. I am a student at the middle east technical university in Ankara. Today ı read a newspaper those name is zaman. And I see a lot of things that I have never seen before is that a academist whose name is Hailay comes our country and give some explanation about the discrimination used agains muslim fomen all around the world. And also she says that I am always supperter of these fomen. Now I feel stronger than before because I see that even if you are not a muslim, you can attain the shining level that most muslim fomen have. And also I want you to know that you do one of the most important and valuable things. I will pray oll of you as well as I remember..And I want something from you….It is possible to sen me the mail adress of Hailey Woldt or any adress for contacting….Agan thank oll of you..I will follow your investigatin as much as I can…….

  5. Thanks all you.This is very important work to understanding the people between different faiths.I think this project should start very before but this one also nice as well.Here i have question.You are trying to interview with people like muslims and christians and i believe all of them are nice.But i am wondering are you plannig an interview with Fidelma O’leary.She was a catholic then she converted to islam.She is a biology proffessor in St. Edward’s University and she played in a documentary which is National Geographic:Inside Mecca .She talking about her experiences when she visited the Mecca .This can be very and helpful for your futhere works.
    Finally i want to thank you all.May Allah be with you all the time with your works.

    • I admire my friend ahmet salfay for his zealousness for Islam and conversion from one religion to others.
      I would also like to request to include a video of the trial of Abdul Rehman in Afghanistan who converted from Islam to Christianity and whole country was on the streets and wanted to put him death through stoning.
      This video will really encourage young generation. What will be the guide to young generation to learn tolerance.
      I will be waiting a positive response from my dear brother Akbar Ahmed and most dear friend ahmet salfay
      I strong apologize in advance if I offended anybody unintentionally.

  6. How or when will this movie be released to the public? I am really looking forward to viewing it!

  7. I am curious if this journey is still taking place? If so, will you be traveling at all through the upper midwest into the region of Ross, North Dakota? I’m asking because I believe you don’t get a current picture of Contemporary Muslim American identity unless you dive into communities where Islam has been a part of the community for generations. Ross is where the oldest known mosque once stood. While the community is not identifiably Muslim, the way the people view their cultural/historic identity is unique even today after 911. They have built a historic marker identifying the site of the once existing mosque — though none of them are Muslim. They hold on to their cultural identity though in the “red state” of North Dakota and do not feel shame or hatred or confusion in who they are.

    The second oldest mosque, and the oldest EXISTING mosque is in Iowa, where there is still a booming Muslim community. They have a different manner of identifying themselves as American and as Muslim — than what I see on the coasts. People don’t march down streets making demands or making a scene. They are a part of a larger community of Iowa, yet live in accordance to their Islamic faith.

    In between you find Muslim Americans like myself and my husband, who live in the upper midwest in small communities, living as good neighbors with non-Muslims and recognizing we as Muslims have obligations to our community.

  8. Dear Mr. Ahmed,

    Just learned of your great project and would like to share a project I have been working on in North Carolina: Esse Quam Videri -Muslim American Self Portraits. I am currently touring an exhibition of 20 self portraits and hope to add portraits from across the country. I will add your book as a resource for colleges that bring my exhibition to their school and would like to network further to our shared benefit. Thank you again for your efforts.

    Todd Drake
    Artist in Residence
    UNC Chapel Hill

    • Mr Drake,

      Would love to learn more about this exhibition. Is there a webpage someone can go to, to see if, if they aren’t in one of the cities its visiting?

      • Exhibitions currently planned are for UNC Chapel Hill, NC A & T State, Western Carolina, Indiana University in Bloomington, and possibly the University of Washington in Seattle.

        have you seen the website at http://www.muslimselfportrait.info ?

        Each images comes with comments or an essay by the participant. I hope over the next 2 years to tour the show and add more self portraits.

        Do you think a show at AU might be possible?

  9. i am watching Mr. Ahmed on tv telling the american people that the founding fathers wanted religious freedom. They did.
    But they didn’t want a religion based on killing and death.
    Keep you islam beliefs where it belongs, hidden in the deserts of the middle east. cut peoples heads off, stone women to death, kill other religions that don’t agree with you. just leave us alone.

    • Wow, Pat, that’s news to the Native American community!!! I’m pretty sure they would disagree with your assumption that the founding fathers didn’t practice “killing and death” as part of their beliefs! In fact, living in “Indian country” I can tell you that the ethnic cleansing still continues with few whites caring about how their religious institutions continue to play a role in that cultural & ethnic cleansing process. So while you hate “middle east”, please remember that CHRISTIANITY is a middle Eastern religion, or had you forgotten that Whites where not the founders of the religion you wrap your heart and soul into? “Kill other religions that don’t agree with you”… interesting echo of the Native American, and European pagans experiences. But then I’m sure you justify that as just “witnessesing” for Christ… though he was a Middle Eastern Man with a long beard and wore a thobe like other men of his region. Hate , even blind hate, is still hate. See you at the next pow wow, I’m sure! From South Dakota

  10. Dear all

    You are welcome to visit the following link

    Discover the truth about Islam

    Thank you

  11. Where can one purchase the DVD?

    • we would be happy to send a copy to you if you send me your address. Thanks,


      • Hi Jonathan,
        I noticed you said you would send a DVD copy to someone and I’d love to get a copy myself. I teach a class at the University of Connecticut called Prejudice and Discrimination and have added Muslims into class topics. I would love to show my class your documentary.

  12. i want to study in America, what should i do?

  13. I just heard about this book/video and would very much like to use the video in both my American Lit. and World Lit. high school courses. I found the books on Amazon, but I have had no luck in locating a place to purchase the dvd – which would be most beneficial for me. I am confident that the video would spark much discussion with my students in Wisconsin.
    Thanks for any help!

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