Our mission is to support the career, workplace, and community development of Muslim American public servants and serve as a catalyst, resource, and force multiplier for the associations that represent and support them. MAPS aims to expand and harness the rich, collective contributions of Muslim Americans across public service sectors to build a more just and equitable United States.
We build community across government & civil society.
MAPS aims to foster community and serve as a connector among Muslim public servants within all branches and levels of government. MAPS will also share resources and ideas for professionals interested in forming new civil society groups, employee-led organizations, or MAPS chapters at their public institutions or local communities, and support and coordinate existing Muslim employee and professional associations and their programs and activities.
We unlock potential by supporting conducive workplaces & professional growth.
MAPS aims to facilitate welcome spaces for Muslim public service professionals, and promote their further contributions and achievements. MAPS will serve as a strategic partner in fostering a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion within public institutions and will support existing institutional efforts to maintain safe workplaces free of discrimination. MAPS will also create or promote professional networking, mentorship, career education and advancement, and skill development resources among members and within MAPS chapters and partners.
We cultivate the next generation of American Muslim public servants.
Broadening pipelines into public service is critical to not only MAPS, but our broader mission as American public servants. MAPS will share resources and launch outreach programs, in collaboration with local and national service organizations across the country, to ensure Muslim American young professionals are part of the national efforts to build a public service workforce that looks more like America.
While we focus primarily on government officials, MAPS defines public service broadly to include anyone working in a public institution, on public policy, or engaged in national service. MAPS welcomes all; those identifying as Muslim, as well as allies and anyone interested in becoming part of our community.
MAPS believes that the United States is enriched by the contributions of Muslim Americans and other people of faith. A more inclusive Federal, State and local workforce strengthens the institutions they serve and ultimately, the American public, by providing a broad range of skills and a diversity of experiences and perspectives. A diverse civil and foreign service is also essential to our national security, both at home and abroad.
MAPS believes that Muslim professionals should exercise their right of association at the workplace, and be accorded all other rights and privileges available to them free from discrimination. Members of MAPS are also committed to public institutions that allow employees to observe their religious beliefs either alone or in congregation with others, in accordance with Federal laws and guidelines.
MAPS draws from Islamic faith traditions to promote the Muslim and American values of freedom of religion, equality and solidarity, community building, and public service:
- Religious Freedom: “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith.” (Quran 2:256); “For you is your faith, and for me, my faith.” (Quran 109:6)
- Equality and Solidarity: “We have made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another.” (Quran 49:13)
- Community building: “Never will God change the condition of a people until they change it themselves,” (Quran 13:11); “Help ye one another unto righteousness and piety. But help not one another unto sin and transgression,” (Quran 5:2); “Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, God will fulfill his needs; whoever removes the troubles of his brother, God will remove one of his troubles” (Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, Al-Bukhari, Chapter 47, Al-Mazalim, 2442).
- Public Service: “The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people” (Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, Al-Tabarani, Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsaṭ, 5937).
To best understand our work and where we hope to go together, it helps to know where we came from as an organization and national network, and the context and landscape that brought both about.
Federal Representation. Muslims Americans in Public Service (MAPS) was first conceived during the summer of 2019 by several Muslim American employees within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). Before then, these few employees (some of whom would go on to become MAPS Founders) would gather for weekly Friday prayer congregations at DOT Headquarters in Washington, D.C. MAPS founders wanted to expand awareness of this community to those individuals working outside of this one building.
MAPS Founders realized that while DOT had a rich tradition consisting of dozens of formal Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) which supported other racial, ethnic, and protected classes, none existed for the support of Muslim Americans. The establishment of a formal association or an ERG would have multiple benefits: community building, professional development, mentorship, orientation to the Department and morale boosting for new hires, and facilitation of religious accommodation and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) goals.
An Inter-Agency Push. The founders soon conceived of scaling up their efforts to focus not only on the development of an ERG at DOT, but to develop an organization to support the establishment of similar Muslim employee associations across the Federal government. In the Summer of 2020, the first two MAPS ERGS at the Department of Transportation and the Small Business Administration (SBA) were formed.
Formalization. As the Summer of 2020 progressed, MAPS began broader formalization efforts by collaborating with the founders and former presidents of the first and second Muslim staff associations ever formed within the Federal government at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The first meeting of these six men and women leaders and representatives from all four Muslim American Federal employee associations, who would go on to become MAPS’ co-founders and future Board members, was held on August 26th, 2020.
The founders initially convened to establish an umbrella organization for similar officially recognized employee associations across the Federal government. MAPS’ mission then was based on a consortium model, with its envisioned activities focused on formalizing new groups by capitalizing the experience gained by navigating the process for new chapters and affiliated formal staff associations.
Organizations and Professionals. MAPS recognized that individual public servants also needed an organization that would serve them directly. Including individual members would allow for far more reach, inclusion, direct support, tailored services, and ultimately, both individual and institutional impacts. Thus, MAPS’ scope was expanded from that of a membership organization catering exclusively to other organizations to one that welcomes individuals as members. By leveraging the professional networks of the expanded Board and Advisory Council, MAPS set out to directly support, guide, mentor and champion the broader community of Muslim public servants.
National Community. The expanded scope to individual membership unlocked the organic growth of MAPS, which fostered the further evolution of the organization. While informal yet well-intentioned communities, iftar circles, or prayer congregations within Federal, State or local public institutions were formed over the past decades, nearly all of them were small, insular, inaccessible, or inactive. Realizing that there were no other formal or national member organizations or non-profit institutions supporting the community of Muslim American public servants across all levels and branches of government, over the course of the next nine months, MAPS assembled the best available resources that it could in order to permanently bridge that institutional gap.
MAPS’ national scope was finally codified in MAPS National’s Articles of Incorporation filed in Washington D.C. and with the IRS in January 2021. MAPS’ approved non-profit status cleared the way for its official launch on April 11th, 2021. Since then, MAPS has envisioned, and strives to secure, a future for Muslim public servants in America wherein all have unlocked their professional potential and are able to best contribute to the requisite labor of creating a more just, equitable, and perfect Union.
Broader Cultural Change. Muslim Americans, unlike nearly any other group, lack an open and supportive cultural environment for professional support within the public sector. Few senior Muslim Americans in government have been successful in charting a path to support the broader community of current and aspiring public servants. Ensuring the door remains open for others like them has rarely been successfully approached in an organized or consistent manner and has been stymied by several factors. These include a lack of incentives or institutional framework to facilitate such support before MAPS’ founding, a lack of transparency in which Muslims get invited to the table, and the lack of access to informal networks. These factors, among others, were and still are a major obstacle to professional and personal success and capacity of this fledgling community.
MAPS has focused on targeting this combination of low transparency and minimalistic institutional support. MAPS efforts to to reach, equip, and support current and prospective public servants from within the Muslim American community to increase representation and institutionalize support for public service leadership and career pathways would be the broadest and most inclusive to date, anywhere in the country. Our public events, professional offerings and policy initiatives enjoy a wide circulation and work toward the normalization of Muslim-identity led programming in public service. Our programs also serve to showcase a community that is yearning to raise awareness of the successes and fulfillment they have found in being public servants.