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Frankie Martin
Frankie Martin is an Ibn Khaldun Chair Research Fellow at American University's School of International Service. He served as senior researcher for the book The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam by Akbar Ahmed (Brookings Institution Press, 2013). He previously contributed writing and research to the books Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam (Brookings, 2010), for which he traveled to 75 US cities and 100 mosques to study Islam in the United States and its relationship with American identity, and Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization (Brookings, 2007), which involved fieldwork across the Muslim world in nations including Jordan, Pakistan, and India.

Martin has addressed diverse audiences, including the British House of Commons, the Brookings Institution, the Washington National Cathedral, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been interviewed by media including NPR, Al Jazeera, and the New York Times, and his articles have appeared in outlets including Foreign Policy, the Guardian, and He has also advised American lawmakers and officials at the State Department, FBI, and DHS.

Entries by Frankie Martin

Muslims and Neo-Nazis in Athens: Halting the Descent Into Darkness

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2013 | 12:41 PM

"The neo-Nazis placed notices outside of our mosque, threatening to slaughter us like chickens and burn down the mosque if we did not leave the country."

It was after Friday prayers last month in the largest "mosque" in Athens, Al Salam, and I was sitting on the carpet listening...

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Do Muslims Really Care About Somalia?

(6) Comments | Posted September 30, 2011 | 10:25 AM

A young, rail-thin, and gaunt Somali woman, cradling her starving child in her arms, looks straight into the camera. Her eyes are dead; she has seen too much suffering. "Where are the Muslim countries?" she asks. "We are dying."

The image is haunting, and her words keep coming back, though...

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Poetry, Faith And The Muslim Soul

(6) Comments | Posted February 23, 2011 | 8:04 PM

For Americans, Islam brings to mind many things, but poetry is rarely among them. Yet the Muslim world has produced some of the greatest poets the world has seen, like Rumi, currently the most popular poet of the United States. In this environment of suspicion and questions about who Muslims...

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Jews and Muslims: How Do We Bring Down the Temperature?

(26) Comments | Posted December 26, 2010 | 8:49 AM

This year has not been an easy one for Jewish-Muslim relations. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is in a state of collapse, apocalyptic pronouncements about Iran's nuclear program abound, and the suggestion by venerable Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League that a planned Islamic Center near Ground Zero be relocated created...

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Somalia: America Needs to Engage

(8) Comments | Posted July 13, 2010 | 5:57 PM

Last Sunday, during the World Cup final, suicide bombers struck two targets in Kampala, Uganda, killing 74 people and turning a global celebration into an unspeakable tragedy.

The Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted both a rugby center frequented by foreigners and an...

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Islam, the Founding Fathers and the 4th of July

(69) Comments | Posted July 7, 2010 | 1:14 PM

This Fourth of July, Americans gathered at barbecues, watched firework displays and remembered the men who assembled in Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776. For many, the celebrations serve as a reminder of the value of freedom, of a country forged by the people in direct opposition...

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Stanley McChrystal's Departure a Blow to US-Muslim Relations

(8) Comments | Posted July 1, 2010 | 4:06 PM

On Tuesday in Washington, two of the most important appointments President Obama has made were put up for debate in the US Senate. Ordinarily, both a nominee to the Supreme Court and a general selected to run a major war would have faced critical questioning, but this time the response...

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What I Learned About America from Visiting 100 Mosques

(218) Comments | Posted June 22, 2010 | 3:03 PM

Over the last two years I have been on an extraordinary journey. As a member of a research team accompanying American University's Chair of Islamic Studies, Akbar Ahmed, I have visited over 75 US cities and 100 mosques for the book Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam,...

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Film on American Muslims Can Help Europe Understand Islam

(2) Comments | Posted September 16, 2009 | 1:10 PM

Last week I attended the European premiere of the film Journey into America at the Culture and Cultures International Film Festival near Toulouse in Southern France.

The film, which premiered in Washington DC on July 4th, is the result of a nine month cross-country trip I took...

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Celebrating July 4th with Rick Warren and 45,000 Muslims

(15) Comments | Posted July 7, 2009 | 11:11 AM

This 4th of July I celebrated America's Independence with Pastor Rick Warren, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), and 45,000 Muslims. We were together in Washington, D.C. as a part of the Islamic Society of North America's (ISNA) annual convention. The Washington Convention Center came alive with halal food stands, people praying...

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Discovering America

(3) Comments | Posted June 23, 2009 | 2:58 PM

As I sat in the American University class "Dialogue or Clash of Civilizations", taught by Akbar Ahmed, American University's Chair of Islamic Studies, little did I know that four years later I would be completing and starring in a major motion picture. This July 4th at 9 PM the film...

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Obama and the Dialogue of Civilizations

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2009 | 2:57 PM

President Barack Obama's June 4th speech in Cairo will be one of the most important of his presidency.

The success or failure of Obama's presidency may well depend on his actions in the Muslim world, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan where he has recently committed thousands of additional American...

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Watching Royal Kill with America's Only Muslim Director

(2) Comments | Posted April 17, 2009 | 2:08 PM

Last week I attended the Washington, D.C. area premiere of writer-director Babar Ahmed's action-packed movie Royal Kill, currently running in limited release in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles. The movie boasts an impressive cast including Eric Roberts from The Dark Knight, Lalaine from Lizzie McGuire, WWE wrestler Gail...

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Sons of the Mau Mau

(1) Comments | Posted February 19, 2009 | 2:46 PM

At the beginning of last year, Kenya seemed to be descending into madness. Those scenes return as if from a nightmare: children massacred inside burning churches, mobs using machetes at will in city slums, a country on the brink of breakdown. By the time the dust settled, more than 1,500...

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America's Islamic Slave Roots

(3) Comments | Posted January 26, 2009 | 11:42 AM

While the world watched the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama in Washington D.C., I was far away on Sapelo Island, off the coast of Georgia.

I was on Sapelo -- near the more famous Jekyll Island -- as part of a project called "Journey into America," an American University...

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Doing the Right Thing in Somalia

(2) Comments | Posted January 5, 2009 | 3:58 PM

This week has been an extraordinary one for Somalia.

The past seven days have brought both the resignation of Somalia's president and the beginnings of a military withdrawal by his main backer, Ethiopia. This comes amid an onslaught of pirate attacks off Somalia's volatile coast, the takeover...

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Obama Must Learn to Play Cricket

(4) Comments | Posted December 9, 2008 | 5:03 PM

This week tribal militants in Pakistan launched two brazen attacks on NATO military supplies in the eastern city of Peshawar, torching over 140 military vehicles. The vehicles were destined for Afghanistan, where insurgent attacks have grown bolder and more frequent of late.

This comes amidst a report...

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Hundreds of Somali Muslims Fired for Praying

(37) Comments | Posted October 21, 2008 | 3:44 PM

These are not easy times for Islam in America.

As Barack Obama continues to battle persistent rumors he is Muslim, 28 million DVDs of the film Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West have been distributed in newspapers in many swing states. A recent Pew survey found...

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"Right Skin Color, Wrong Religion?"

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2008 | 10:15 PM

We got off to a great start in our Islam in America trip in St. Louis, meeting the former governor, Democrat Bob Holden, the Democratic mayor Francis Slay, and members of many different ethnic communities. St Louis has a multitude of communities, from the French Catholics who settled the...

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Journey into America

(2) Comments | Posted September 9, 2008 | 7:11 PM

Two years ago, I was granted the opportunity of a lifetime. My professor at American University, the Islamic scholar Dr. Akbar Ahmed, invited me along with several other young American assistants on a research trip through the Muslim world. We wanted to speak to Muslims to hear their views on...

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