Muslim Interest Groups and Foreign Policy in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom: Identity, Interests, and Action


  • Author's note: Thanks to James Piscatori and Yuen Foong Khong, who guided this research from Oxford and across oceans. This particular paper greatly benefitted from comments made by Emanuel Adler, Patrick Haney, Anita Singh and three anonymous reviewers. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the ISA annual conference in New Orleans on February 19, 2010 and the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto on March 8, 2010.


In the last two decades, Muslim minorities have organized politically as Muslims (as opposed to ethnic or national identities) to influence foreign policy in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. This paper evaluates to what extent and in what ways Muslim identity impacts upon the determination of the foreign policy interests and lobbying of Muslim interest groups in these pluralist democracies, as compared to other variables at the national and organizational levels. Analysis is based largely on primary documents, such as press releases and newsletters, issued by five leading Muslim interest groups in the US, Canada and the UK, as well as interviews with the leaders of these organizations.