iOS app Android app

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
GET UPDATES FROM Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
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

Rebranding the 'Islamic State'

(41) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 12:31 PM

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...

Read Post

Protecting Islam By Telling the Truth

(15) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 5:38 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.


Read Post

Marathon Bombing Anniversary Demands Interfaith Response

(69) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 11:49 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.


Read Post

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

(223) Comments | Posted September 7, 2013 | 1:15 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...

Read Post

Our History of Religious Intolerance Must Come to an End

(245) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 11:54 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...

Read Post

Hajj: The Pilgrimage To Mecca

(244) Comments | Posted November 1, 2011 | 2:50 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...

Read Post

Praying for an End to the Chapter of Terrorism

(456) Comments | Posted May 4, 2011 | 10:13 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...

Read Post

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

(179) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 12:31 PM

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...

Read Post

Religious Communities Must Be Engaged in Foreign Policy

(17) Comments | Posted February 24, 2010 | 6:00 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...

Read Post

The Positive Power of Religion to Shape Policy

(0) Comments | Posted December 29, 2009 | 4:13 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...

Read Post

What the Swiss Vote on Minarets Says to the World

(12) Comments | Posted December 1, 2009 | 4:38 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...

Read Post

Senseless Shootings Violate Islamic Faith

(49) Comments | Posted November 6, 2009 | 3:38 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...

Read Post

A Nobel Message to America

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2009 | 12:03 AM

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...

Read Post

Religion Must Be Part of the Solution in Afghanistan

(11) Comments | Posted October 8, 2009 | 5:23 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...

Read Post

Muslim Holidays Make Sense for New York City Schools

(10) Comments | Posted July 8, 2009 | 4:42 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.


Read Post

A Modest Proposal

(5) Comments | Posted June 25, 2009 | 6:03 PM

Chalk it up to the influence of his fashion model wife, perhaps, but French President Nicolas Sarkozy seems determined to put his stamp on Muslim clothing styles.

Sarkozy apparently is responding to an unease among the French about the impact of a growing Muslim population on what had once been...

Read Post

What President Obama Should Say About Iran 's Election

(18) Comments | Posted June 19, 2009 | 7:45 PM

President Obama said many of the right things as the turmoil surrounding the outcome of the Iranian election unfolded. After Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spoke Friday, Obama has an opportunity to make an additional crucial point.

In his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo this month, Obama...

Read Post

Obama's Challenge to the Muslim World

(2) Comments | Posted June 5, 2009 | 2:40 PM

The historic significance of President Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo cannot be overstated.

Never before has an American president spoken to the global Muslim community. His speech marked a major shift in American foreign policy. Obama directly enlisted a religion to build global peace and to...

Read Post

What Shariah Law Is All About

(6) Comments | Posted April 24, 2009 | 1:53 PM

We hear a lot about "firebrand" Muslim clerics calling for the installation of Shariah law. It conjures images of women being stoned and forced into hiding behind burkas and denied educations. We think of beheadings and amputations as a form of justice. And we cringe.

But it is important...

Read Post

Obama and the End of the "Clash of Civilizations"

(5) Comments | Posted April 20, 2009 | 6:22 PM

(This article first appeared on the Washington Post/Newsweek On Faith Web site.)

President Obama reached his Muslim audience in Turkey in a way unlike any previous American president. Maybe it was his childhood in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country. Maybe it was the legacy of his Muslim father. Maybe...

Read Post