General Secretary of the Muslim Alliance of North America
Board member of Council on American-Islamic Relations
Board member of Islamic Society of North America
A black convert to Islam, Ihsan Bagby is an associate professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he attended Oberlin College for his undergraduate degree and then earned his Master's and PhD (the latter in 1986, in the field of Near Eastern Studies) from the University of Michigan.
In a WorldNetDaily report detailing how certain Muslim group leaders are hoping that “the U.S. Constitution will one day be replaced by Koranic law,” Bagby, an Islamic fundamentalist, is quoted as saying, “Ultimately we [Muslims] can never be full citizens of this country [the U.S.], because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”
Notwithstanding his belief that genuine Islam is incompatible with the desire to assimilate into American society, Bagby’s custom is to depict Muslim Americans as a politically moderate group that harbors no desire to extensively alter U.S. customs or institutions.
In 2001 Bagby published the results of his comprehensive study, The Mosque in America: A National Portrait. In April 2004 he wrote A Portrait of Detroit Mosques: Muslim Views on Policy, Politics and Religion, which interpreted the findings of a survey conducted by a Detroit-area Islamic organization, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. According to Bagby’s reading of the data, “The vast majority of Muslim Americans hold ‘moderate’ views on issues of policy, politics and religion.” In a newspaper interview, Bagby elaborated, stating that the results showed that “the mosque community is not a place of radicalism.”
But as scholar of Islam Daniel Pipes writes, Bagby’s interpretation amounts to “a case of survey research being distorted by its sponsors to hide the actual results. This is intellectual fraud and political deception.” In actuality, the survey found that among the Muslim respondents: fully two-thirds believed that “America is immoral”; approximately 90 percent favored universal health care; some 79 percent supported affirmative action for minorities; and 81 percent advocated the application of Shari‘a (Islamic law) in Muslim-majority nations.