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Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
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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: 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 Post, Daily Beast and Foreign Policy.

Entries by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Republicans Should Be Targeting Muslim Voters, Not Demonizing Them

(7) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 4:24 PM

Let's talk a little practical politics here.

To the Republican candidates who are doing all they can to demonize Muslims, I have one fact for you:

This country has approximately 3-5 million Muslims. We are hard working, loyal Americans. We serve in the armed forces. We have families and responsible...

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Pope Francis and an Appeal to Our Higher Angels

(4) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 9:39 AM

At the core of everything that the Cordoba Initiative stands for is the belief that religion is an essential ingredient to promote peace and reconciliation between Muslims and the West.

I know that can be hard to fathom for many people when religion too often...

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Ramadan and the Blending of American Muslims

(81) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 12:50 PM

Iftar is not a ceremony that many Americans know about.

Among Muslims, it is a meal that comes after sundown during the holy month of Ramadan to break the fast that Muslims endure each day from first light.

Ramadan marks the foundation of Islam when friends and families come together...

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The Power of Muslim-Jewish Musical Bridges

(8) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 3:09 PM

Last Thursday, our organization, The Cordoba Initiative, had the unique opportunity to co-sponsor with The Brotherhood Synagogue a special interfaith event which was led by the world famous Farid Ayaz and the Abu Muhammad Qawwals and the popular Jewish folk singer Basya Schechter. In contrast to...

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Every Little Bit Helps

(2) Comments | Posted April 1, 2015 | 1:06 PM

Today's geopolitical situation cries out for solutions to prejudice, just as the environment in the United States 50 years ago did. The stakes for solving the racially-based inequities Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw, felt, and fought to change were and remain no less important to the fabric of the...

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Rebranding the 'Islamic State'

(41) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 11:31 AM

There is no such thing as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

A terrorist group that calls itself by that name not only exists but is causing havoc, death and destruction throughout a large swath of Iraq and Syria.

But to call it an "Islamic State" just is not...

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Protecting Islam By Telling the Truth

(15) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 4:38 PM

Sometimes a crime is so heinous and weird that it stuns the world.

That is what is happening in Nigeria where the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls last month and has killed thousands of people in northern Nigeria in the past few years.


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Marathon Bombing Anniversary Demands Interfaith Response

(69) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 10:49 AM

We are approaching the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will face the death penalty when he stands trial in November on federal charges that he planted bombs near the race's finish line that killed three people and injured more than 250 others.


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What's at Stake in Syria Response? Human Life and America's Credibility.

(223) Comments | Posted September 7, 2013 | 12:15 PM

The greatest danger to world peace today is the growing, self-sustaining, vicious circle of violence afflicting the Middle East and North Africa. The danger grows whether the circle is fueled by extremist ideologies or by good intentions.

Before the next round of escalation happens, we must recognize the totality of...

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Our History of Religious Intolerance Must Come to an End

(245) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 10:54 AM

Although religious freedom is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, religious intolerance still exists in this country. Thanksgiving reminds us that the Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution. But the Puritans did not welcome other religions into their colony. All through American history, most religions arriving on our...

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Hajj: The Pilgrimage To Mecca

(244) Comments | Posted November 1, 2011 | 1:50 PM

Here we come, O Allah, here we come!
Here we come. No partner have You.
Here we come! Praise indeed, and blessings, are Yours -- the Kingdom too!
No partner have you.

This Talbiyah, recited by more than a million Muslim pilgrims in December 1973, marked the...

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Praying for an End to the Chapter of Terrorism

(456) Comments | Posted May 4, 2011 | 9:13 AM

9/11 created a wound that aggravated the divide between the Muslim World and the West. The demise of Osama bin Laden, coinciding with the wave of revolutions in the Arab world, is a hopeful milestone. We hope it will bring to a close the chapter of terrorism, whether committed by...

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Why I'm Honored to Be Named a Huffington Post Game Changer

(179) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 11:31 AM

Remarks from the Huffington Post Game Changers celebration.

Thank you, Arianna. And thanks also to everyone at The Huffington Post.

It is indeed an honor to be part of the extraordinary group being recognized this evening.

I would like to take to take this opportunity to thank all...

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Religious Communities Must Be Engaged in Foreign Policy

(17) Comments | Posted February 24, 2010 | 5:00 PM

A report issued Tuesday by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs urges the U.S. government to take religious issues into consideration and to engage religious organizations in forming foreign policy.

Such a report is long overdue. Its recommendations go to the heart of what we at the Cordoba Initiative have...

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The Positive Power of Religion to Shape Policy

(0) Comments | Posted December 29, 2009 | 3:13 PM

For decades U.S. administrations have scrupulously separated church and state. As a result, the power of religion as a partner in shaping domestic and foreign policy was lost. Yet religious organizations and the government can cooperate to achieve shared domestic and foreign policy goals without impinging on America's fundamental belief...

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What the Swiss Vote on Minarets Says to the World

(12) Comments | Posted December 1, 2009 | 3:38 PM

On the surface, the outcome of the Swiss vote banning minarets is an issue of architecture, not religion. Minarets can be beautiful. Islam is known for inspiring outstanding architecture. The Taj Mahal in India, considered the world's most beautiful building, has four minarets. They are part of mosques built around...

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Senseless Shootings Violate Islamic Faith

(49) Comments | Posted November 6, 2009 | 2:38 PM

I was so deeply saddened by the events at Ft. Hood, Texas, yesterday. My prayers and sympathy are with the families of those brave American soldiers who were killed and wounded in this senseless act.

What this unfortunate Army major did was against the laws of Islam, even though news...

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A Nobel Message to America

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2009 | 11:03 PM

Why now? Only a few months into office, President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Even the White House was stunned by the announcement.

Two other sitting presidents have won the prize. But Theodore Roosevelt had to broker a peace agreement to end a war between Russia and Japan...

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Religion Must Be Part of the Solution in Afghanistan

(11) Comments | Posted October 8, 2009 | 4:23 PM

The United States has a moral responsibility to the people of Afghanistan. It is a responsibility to help them use the basic moral underpinnings of Islam to promote a free and democratic society.

In his assessment of the war, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal makes clear that simply winning battles and...

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Muslim Holidays Make Sense for New York City Schools

(10) Comments | Posted July 8, 2009 | 3:42 PM

In New York City, Islam is the fastest growing religion as immigrants from Muslim countries combine with growing numbers of African-American Muslims.

Out of a population of 8 million, New York now has at least 600,000 Muslims, and they represent about 10 percent of the city's public school students.


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