Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the Founder of Cordoba Initiative, an independent, multi-faith, and multi-national project that works with state and non-state actors to improve Muslim-West relations. In this capacity, he provides innovative solutions to those areas where conflict between Islamic and Western communities undermines local and global security.
Under Imam Feisal’s leadership, the Cordoba Initiative’s programs craft strategic avenues for approaching divisive Muslim-West tensions. The programs include the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT), which cultivates the next generation of Muslim leaders from all over the world, and the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE), which empowers Muslim women globally.
Imam Feisal often receives requests for his expertise and advice because of his skillful approach to the complex intersection of Islamic and Western viewpoints. A number of these requests have resulted in working relationships with offices in the U.S. Department of State, members of the U.S. Congress, and representatives of foreign governments.
Imam Feisal balances his international responsibilities with his dedication to local and national concerns. In 1997, he 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. Imam Feisal is a Trustee of the Islamic Center of New York and is a Vice Chair on the board of the Interfaith Center of New York.
Recognizing his inter-religious bridge-building work Imam Feisal has been a recipient of numerous awards such as the AICPR Annual Alliance Peace builder Award and Annual James Parks Morton Interfaith Center of New York Award. In 2010, he received the Open Center of New York Interfaith award, Arianna Huffington’s “2010 Game Changer” award, and was listed as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010 by the Foreign Policy magazine. Most recently, in April 2011, Time Magazine named him among the 100 most influential people of the world.
A charismatic public speaker, Imam Feisal is frequently asked to comment on issues pertaining to Islam and the Muslim world. He has appeared regularly at the Council on Foreign Relations, in national and international media such as CNN and BBC, and has been widely quoted in The New York Times, Huffington Post and the Jerusalem Post.
Imam Feisal comes from a family steeped in religious and spiritual activity. Born of Egyptian parentage and educated in England, Egypt, and Malaysia, he 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. He speaks English, Arabic, and Malay.
Books by Imam Feisal
Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America (Freepress, 2012).
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).
Quran for Children (Kazi Publications, 1985).
“Why Islamism should be Renamed.” Debating Islamism: Essays and Critical Responses on Islamic Extremism Atlanta: Emory University, 2008. ed. Martin, Richard C.
“The End of Barbarism: The Phenomenon of Torture and the Search for Common Good” Pursuing the Global Common Good: Principle and Practice in US Foreign Policy. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. 2007. with Schulz, William F., ed. by Steenland, Sally, et al. Video
“What is Sunni Islam?” in Voices of Islam: Voices of Tradition, vol. 1 of 3, ed. Cornell, Vincent J. Westport: Praeger. 2007.
Fitzgerald, Michael Oren and Fitzgerald, Judith. “Introduction”. The Universal Spirit of Islam: From the Qur’an and Hadith. New York: World Wisdom (March, 2006).
“What is Islamic Law?” Mercer Law Review (2006).
Press Articles and Op-Eds by Imam Feisal
“Debating the War on Women” Foreign Policy (April 25, 2012).
“In this Election Year, Let There be Tolerance” Minneapolis StarTribune (February 7, 2012).
“Gradually, There will be an American Form of Islam” Malaysian Star (November 15, 2011).
“America and Muslims Must Grow Together” Detroit Free Press (November 10, 2011).
“Immigrant Faiths, US Change Each Other” Philadelphia Inquirer (October 30, 2011).
“The Modern Arab State” The New York Times (October 5, 2011).
“A More Important Question Than a Piece of Real Estate” The Hindu (September 10, 2011).
“A Call to All Religious Moderates” Wall Street Journal (September 10, 2011).
“Building on Faith” New York Times (September 7, 2010).
“Need for some cultural sensitivity” Newsweek/Washington Post On Faith Website (May 12, 2010).
“Using Qur’anic Narratives in Pursuit of Peace” Common Ground News Service (March 4, 2010).
“Putting the faith back” Newsweek/Washington Post On Faith Website (December 30, 2009).
“Religion must be part of the Afghanistan solution” Newsweek/Washington Post On Faith Website (October 12, 2009).
“Sharing the core of our beliefs” Common Ground News Service (March 31, 2009).
“Religious organisations are key to Mideast peace” Common Ground News Service (March 5, 2009).
“Preventing Chaos” Newsweek/Washington Post On Faith Website (March 9, 2008).
“Early Warning System for Xenophobia” On Faith: A Conversation on Religion with John Meacham and Sally Quinn. Washington Post (March 5, 2008).
“Archbishop of Canterbury was Right” On Faith: A Conversation on Religion with John Meacham and Sally Quinn. Washington Post (February 8, 2008).
“Asceticism in Islam” Cross Currents, Winter, 2008, (vol. 57 No. 4) ed. by Pederson, Kusumita.
“The Ideals We Share” Newsweek (July 31, 2007).
“Al-Qaeda’s Greatest Fear may be US Leaving Iraq” Aspen Times (October 11, 2006).
“Al-Qaeda’s Greatest Fear may be US Leaving Iraq” Aspen Times (October 11, 2006), with Bennett, John.
“Arab Reform Final Report”, New York: Council on Foreign Relations (2005), with Albright, Madeleine, et al.
“Bringing Muslim Nations into the Global Century” Fortune (October 18, 2004).
“Imam behind ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ calls for peaceful pilgrimage to Israel” Haaretz (December 30, 2011).
“Imam Behind Ground Zero Mosque Says Islamic, American Values Similar” Detroit Free Press (November 17, 2011).
“The Man Behind the Mosque” PBS (September 27, 2011).
“The Interview Issue, Imam Feisal” Newsweek (December 23, 2010).
“Bridging Muslim Cultural Gaps” Aziza Magazine (May, 2008).
“The Cross and the Crescent” Foreign Policy (September, 2006).
“What are the Fundamentals of Islam?” FrontLine (March, 2002).
Lectures, Speeches, and Statements
Imam Feisal’s Statement on the Demise of Osama bin Laden (May 2, 2011)
Presidential Lecture Remarks: Jakarta, Indonesia (November 5, 2010).
8th Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue: Raising the New Generation with a Foundation of values and Tradition: Religious Perspective, Doha, Qatar (October 19-21, 2010)
Invitation by Embassy of Kazakhstan: Speaker at World Forum of Spiritual Culture, Astana, Kazakhstan (October 17-19, 2010).
Young Presidents Organization: Speaker at YPO Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, Amman, Jordon (October 10-16, 2010).
Invitation from Madeline Albright: Speaker at Aspen Ministers Forum, Madrid, Spain (October 1-3, 2010).
US State Department International Speaker Program (DOS/IIP)
- Doha, Qatar (August 24-28, 2010)
- Manama, Bahrain (August 19-24, 2010)
- United Arab Emirates (August 13-19, 2010)
“A Charge to Intersections.” Installation of Rev. Robert Chase. New York: Intersections (February 24, 2008).
“Convocation.” Harmony Conference: The Path from Multinationalism to Multiculturalism. Perth, Australia: University of New England (September 21 – 23, 2007).
“The Role of Islamic States in a Globalized World.” Interfaith Dialogue Against the Secularization of Nature, Moral Values and Politics. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Institute of Islamic Understanding – Malaysia (July 17-18, 2007).