Who is Imam Feisal?


Who is Imam Feisal? Please read his bio below and see my comments about the Imam.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the founder and Chairman of The Cordoba Initiative, a multi-national, multi faith organization dedicated to improving Muslim-West relations. He has engaged in outreach to moderates of all faith traditions, engaging in interfaith dialogue and forging connections of trust and mutual support.

In 1997, he also co- founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA); the first Muslim organization committed to building bridges between Muslims and the American public by elevating the discourse on Islam through educational outreach, interfaith collaboration, culture and arts.

Background: Born of Egyptian parentage and educated in England, Egypt, and Malaysia, Imam Feisal holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Columbia University in New York and a Master of Science in Plasma Physics from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

Published Work: What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America (HarperCollins, 2005); Islam: A Sacred Law (Threshold Books, 2000); Islam: A Search for Meaning (Mazda Publishers,1996); “What is Islamic Law?” Mercer Law Review (2006); “Justification & Theory of Sharia Law: How the American Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution are Consistent with Islamic Jurisprudence” University of St. Thomas Law (2010); and Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America (Free Press, 2012).

– Full List of Publications by Imam Feisal

– Download Justification & Theory of Sharia Law (PDF)

Awards: Alliance for International Conflict Prevention and Resolution (AICPR); Annual Alliance Peace Builder Award ; the Annual James Parks Morton Interfaith Center of New York award; Open Center of New York Interfaith Award (2010), Arianna Huffington’s “2010 Game Changer” Award, and was listed as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010 by Foreign Policy Magazine; TIME magazine included him among the 100 most influential people of the world in 2011; along with his wife, Daisy Khan, the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award presented by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (2011); and most recently, the Search for Common Ground for Interfaith Diplomacy (2012).

As Imam of Masjid al-Farrah, a mosque located in Lower Manhattan, he preached a message of understanding between people of all faith traditions.

Imam Feisal sits on the Board of Trustees of the Islamic Center of New York, serves as an advisor to the Interfaith Center of New York, and is a member of the World Economic Forum Council of 100 Leaders (Islamic-West dialogue).

A leading voice of moderation, Imam Feisal has appeared regularly at the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum (Davos). He has been quoted widely in leading media, including BBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Washington Post, Frontline, Huffington PostDaily Beast and Foreign Policy. ______________________________________________________________________________________My answer to the question of who Imam Feisal really is can be found from his bio. He is a man who walks the talk and talks the walk for a very long time. 

Imam Feisal may not know me, but I do know and love him with all my heart. Because I have been blessed to experience the gift Allah (SW) bestowed on his leadership in two occasions. 

First, I was once sternly admonished by my Masjid leaders for inviting Imam Feisal to lead us on a Friday prayer at our new Masjid in the Bronx. While listening to the Imam’s sermon in over-crowded Masjid, many of the congregants couldn’t control the tears from their pious eyes.  Well after the prayer, the same leadership who wanted hang me, couldn’t wait to ask if we could have the Imam on Fridays more often. 

My second encounter with Imam Feisal was when I took the Interfaith Center’s program in which school administrators spend a week-long in training about different religions. The Masjid chosen for my class was none other than Imam Feisal’s.  

I would never forget the excitement felt by all my classmates after the face to face dialogue we had with the imam after his congregational prayer. One of the Catholic school Principals who asked many questions about Islam and Muslims, testified at the end of the program how her views about Islam changed 360 degree after talking and listening to Imam Feisal’s Friday sermon and the subsequent question and answer session with him.  

Imam Feisal is more than an Imam. He has been the face of the Muslim world to the West and face of the West to the Muslim world, a service no one could provide better. Imam Feisal embodies the true spirit of a balanced Muslim leader. 

He is educated, eloquent, humble, linguistic, polite, open-minded, tolerance, patient and tireless in his pursuit of a better relationship among all people. 

I happen to love New York Daily News and read it every day, but they have been dead wrong on two occasions in the last several months. 

They were wrong in their endorsement of Mitt Romney and they are wrong in their treatment of Imam Feisal’s case. 

If the enjoyment of material things mentioned in articles in the Daily News was Imam Feisal’s main objective, his qualification, dedication and connection would have made it easy for him to acquire them outside of being a mere Imam.  

Unfortunately, any negative reports, no matter how untrue they may be, hurt the stellar services of individuals such as Imam Feisal. I however, have no doubt that at the end there will be more smoke with less fire on this recklessly sensationalized case. 

Why was not any interest given to Imam’s lawsuit against this couple? If imam Feisal was no longer part of Park51, why keep bringing Park51? 

I know this highly publicized case draws traffic, but decency in journalism draws full satisfaction to one’s profession.

Imam Feisal is not a bandit, crook or thief and at the end, he will be more honored as a true servant of Allah and a great contributor to the advancement of mankind.   


Sheikh Moussa Drammeh

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