What have the UN Sustainable Development Goals to do with Muslim Americans?

A lot that matters.

Such as caring for the neighbor in need, near and far. In today’s global village, the far away neighbor is as near as our newspaper, radio, television or just the social media. And what happens to that neighbor – far away, yet so close – is a matter of concern to us and affects our own welfare.

Whether it is world peace, or hunger and sickness, human beings are interconnected across political boundaries and cultural barriers. Transmission of disease, transfusion of ideas, transportation of commerce, all demand from us the responsibility to act globally even as we busy ourselves with matters of local import.

For over 70 years now the United Nations has been the hope and the channel for those who seek to care for the neighbor far away – in matters of peace, hunger, health, education and a myriad other things. The United Nations Association of National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), a non-profit association of members, volunteers, and supporters in the greater Washington area, dedicated to helping the UN achieve its goals – has worked “to build knowledge, understanding, informed opinion, and new ideas on the United Nations, its specialized agencies, and its relationship with the United States.” UNA-NCA has worked “with foreign policy and political decision makers, schools of all levels, and other organizations in the National Capital Area on such issues as conflict resolution, nuclear non-proliferation, global health, and sustainable development.” It has worked to “build public support for constructive US leadership in a more effective United Nations.”

Advocacy, outreach, education and networking are the four pillars of UNA-NCA’s work with the U.S. Congress, with universities and other non-government organizations, with schools students, and with young professionals. Through a variety of programs, UNA-NCA seeks to help the public at large understand and appreciate the work of the United Nations, and be motivated to act.

One area of focus that demands and deserves our attention is the commitment of the United Nation’s member nations to a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopted on September 25, 2015, these 15-year goals present “an unprecedented opportunity to bring the countries and citizens of the world together to embark on a new path to improve the lives of people everywhere, building a better world with no one left behind.”

From ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all across the world, each goal has specific targets to be achieved. And achieved they can be if all – governments, the private sector, civil society and people like us – do their part. Let’s tell everyone about SDGs, not only to widen the circle of those who care, but also to contribute to a sustainable future by taking necessary actions in normal everyday life. Here are some examples of what we can do: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/

A word to the community leaders.

Your leadership is critical in motivating others to care for our neighbors around the world, starting by associating with the UNA-NCA. Please share your thoughts with your community to educate them about the critical need and purpose of the United Nations in today’s world, and encourage them to become members and participants in UNA-NCA.

Your leadership matters.



Whither Muslims after Victory of Trumpism?

That the result of the 2016 presidential election was disappointing for many – more than 50% of the U.S. population – is well understood. History was made, and cannot be reversed. We can only move forward. Muslim Americans have repeatedly bounced back from national crises and catastrophes that threatened to marginalize and punish them. This crisis may be no different. Just hope that Trumpism does not last longer than Trump.

There may even be a silver lining in this cloud.

Your thoughts?

Global Civic Engagement: The Neighbors ‘Next’ Door

In today’s world of interdependent vital interests and complex cross-border issues, the neighbor next door may as well be the one across miles of distance and culture. As Muslim Americans become more in tune with civic engagement, they must also set their sights on engaging globally as citizens of a world that has become the proverbial village. The United Nations Association of the United States and its various chapters including that in the National Capital Area – the largest and oldest of them all – offer a platform to American Muslims as to all Americans.

Your comments on the attached presentation will be welcome.


American Muslims: Vanguard of an active citizenry?

The 2016 presidential election has galvanized the Muslim community in the United states as perhaps never before. Voter registration campaigns and then get the vote out efforts became as common an activity of community centers and mosques as education programs. Yet, the stigma of mosques as centers of isolation or refuge from the society at large continues to prevail. Dr. Mario Peucker has examined such a question in  the context of Eurpoean and Australian Muslims. You can read Dr. Puecker’s analysis below and ask yourself: How much of the American Muslim community do you see or not see in that analysis?

Please post a comment and share your thoughts. Thank you.


Muslim community organizations – sites of active citizenship or self-segregation?


Ethno-religious community organizations in Western countries have often been described as being disconnected from mainstream society, and Muslim community groups have been a special focus of such critique. This article offers a counter-narrative to these widespread allegations. It draws on a synthesis of emerging research on the citizenship-enhancing effects of mosque involvement and on an explorative study involving thirty in-depth interviews with civically active Muslims in Australia and Germany. The article examines the potential of Muslim community organizations to mobilize their member into performing their citizenship through civic and political participation. It offers empirical evidence that many Muslim community organizations, rather than promoting social segregation, act as accessible entry point for Muslims’ civic participation, facilitate cross-community engagement and provide gateways to political involvement. These civic potentials of Muslim community organization have remained underestimated in the public and political discourse on cohesive societies and healthy democracies.

Kind wishes


Dr Mario Peucker

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing
Victoria University, Melbourne

Latest publication:

Muslim Citizenship in Liberal Democracies. Civic and Political Participation in the West (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)