education, not Hajj
In Their Own Voices:
The Stimson Center/
Summary of Findings and Major
The purpose of the Stimson/Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Study was
not to use focus groups and interviews as a means of ascertaining the objective reality
conditions of Muslims
. There have been many systematic studies that have been
comprehensive in scope, and others that have addressed one or another important dimen
sion. Many are quite recent. These studies along with others in recent decades provide a
Sachar reports are cases in point.
Rather, what we have sought to address through our study has been the perceptions among
a variety of Muslims of their own condition. Which of the issues identified by the reports
do Muslims themselves feel are of greatest significance, and precisely what form do they
themselves see these issues taking? While the approaches among our interlocutors varied
widely regarding the issues raised and discussed, a remarkable consensus has emerged
through the process as to the principal sources of concern to the Muslims of India.
The overall picture is of a community that feels a variety of acute challenges. It is overrep
resented, relative to its proportion in the population as a whole, in the ranks of the poor and
the economically vulnerable. It is underrepresented in the ranks of all public services—
administrative, police, military, and diplomatic. It feels politically weak and divided. It is
immobilized by a sense of fear that forceful articulation of its concerns will spawn a back
lash and by anxiety that the larger society is unprepared to address its concerns.
The most significant findings are as follows.
The predominant concern is education and the closely related issue of economic
opportunity, for the benefit of individual Muslims and the community as a whole.
This belies the general Indian perception that cultural or ideological issues of identity