Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf


Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the founder and chief executive of two non-profit initiatives, The American Society for Muslim Advancement (The ASMA Society) and The Cordoba Initiative, as well as the current imam of Masjid Al-Farah, a downtown New York City mosque. A prominent public figure in the field of Muslim-West relations since 9/11, he has made numerous national and international media appearances in which he has continually advocated dialogue as the preferred solution to the misinformed perception of Muslims in America.


Imam Feisal founded ASMA Society in 1997 to promote the integration of modern perspectives into Islam. Now in its tenth year, the organization remains dedicated to bringing Muslims and non-Muslims together through programs in academia, policy, current affairs and culture. As CEO of ASMA Society, Imam Feisal has supervised a wide range of initiatives that feature the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow project, aimed at developing leadership from within the Muslim community, and the Womenís Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity, whose goal is to provide an opportunity for progressive discussion on the role of women in 21st Century Islam.


In 2002, Imam Feisal established the Cordoba Initiative to help bridge the gulf of misunderstanding between Islam and the West. He oversaw the creation of the first independent, non-partisan, and multi-faith project to be led primarily by American Muslims, promoting dialogue between leaders of Abrahamic and other faith communities to wage peace through political, educational, and cultural programs.


Entering his 25th year as Imam of a major New York mosque, Imam Feisal continues to preach a message of peace and understanding between peoples of the world. His inspiring sermons have raised his visibility as a charismatic public speaker, a role for which he is currently in high demand around the world. He has used his influential standing as a community leader to impress his vision on US lawmakers and administration officials through advocacy work.


He serves on the Board of Trustees of The Islamic Center of New York and is a member of the National Inter-Religious Initiative for Peace in Washington D.C. as well as the World Economic Forumís Council of 100 Leaders. He is an advisor to the Interfaith Center of New York and teaches Islam and Sufism at both the Center for Religious Inquiry at St. Bartholomewís Church in New York City and the New York Seminary. He has also served as a scholar in residence at the Chautauqua Institute.


Imam Feisal is featured and quoted frequently in various local, national and international media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, PBS, NBC, The BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, National Public Radio, CBS, ABC and the Christian Science Monitor to name a few. He has lectured at numerous prominent universities and institutions, including Columbia University, Yeshiva University, Queens College, New York University, Drew University, American University, Hofstra University, Yale University, and Catholic University as well as Chautauqua Institute, New Seminary, Auburn Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, Princeton Seminary and many other religious institutions. He has over 500 public appearances and has published over 100 articles.


Imam Feisal is the author of several books including Islam: A Search for Meaning (Mazda Publishers, 1996), Islam: A Sacred Law (Threshold Books, 2000), and What's Right With Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West (HarperCollins, 2004), listed among The Christian Science Monitorís Five Best Nonfiction Books of 2004.


He is the recipient of The Alliance for International Conflict Prevention and Resolutionís Alliance Peacebuilder Award for his work in bridging the gap between the Abrahamic faith traditions as well as The Interfaith Center of New Yorkís James Parks Morton Interfaith Award.


Imam Feisal was born in Kuwait in 1948 to an Egyptian family of religious scholars; his grandfather had been an imam in Egypt, and his father was director and imam of the Islamic Centers of New York and Washington D.C. and the first rector of the International Islamic University in Malaysia with academic degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London. Imam Feisal passed primary education in Egypt, Malaysia and England, immigrating to America in his late teenage years. He holds a Bachelorís degree in Physics from Columbia University and a Masterís in Plasma Physics from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey where he has also completed PhD requirements. He is fluent in Arabic and Malay/Indonesian in addition to English.


Imam Feisal currently lives in New York with his wife Daisy Khan, a religious and public leader in her own right.



Joshís questions about above biography:


1)     what would Imam Feisal want to come to light in particular? How do I bring that out in the bio?

2)     How much attention should be paid to individual projects themselves (such as ASMA and Cordoba or the sub-projects under them like MLT and WISE)?

3)     Should appearances and interviews be selected more thoroughly or provided in full, perhaps with dates attached?

4)     Should I have included any general information about Imam Feisalís philosophy, determination, lifetime body of work, etc? Most of his biographies have such information attached as a means of highlighting a particular achievement or bringing out an aspect of his lifeís work.