Abdullahi an-Naim, PhD.is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law. His specialties include human rights in Islam and cross-cultural issues in human rights, and he is the director of the Religion and Human Rights Program at Emory. He also participates in Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. Abdullahi was formerly the Executive Director of the African bureau of Human Rights Watch. He argues for a synergy and interdependence between human rights, religion and secularism instead of a dichotomy and incompatibility between them. Abdullahi is originally from Sudan, where he was greatly influenced by the Islamic reform movement of Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. He is the author of numerous journal articles and books on human rights, international law, democracy, and Islamic reform. His most recent book is Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari’a Cambridge, MA and London, England: Harvard University Press (2008).
● http://people.law.emory.edu/~aannaim/ ●
Abdur Rab, PhD. graduated with Honors and received a Master’s degree from Dhaka University and a PH.D. from Harvard. He has had a long career in economic research and consultation, analyzing various public policy issues ranging from public resource mobilization to industrial development and trade policy reform, while serving the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, the Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan and the Bangladesh and former undivided Pakistan governments, and various international organizations. He served the Pakistan Tariff Commission as a Member, and the Bangladesh Planning Commission as a Section Chief and a senior Consultant. He worked as an Industrial Development Officer with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna. He worked as a financial adviser for the government of Uganda under a World Bank assignment, and as a senior industrial economist for the Qatar government under a UNIDO assignment. Under a UNDP assignment, he contributed to part of a business plan for an industrial development bank of the Economic Co-operation Organization (whose founding members are Iran, Turkey and Pakistan). He also worked on various development projects of Bangladesh supported by donor agencies such as the World Bank, USAID and the Asian Development Bank. He also consulted as an agricultural trade specialist for the US-based International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC). Abdur Rab grew up in a traditional Bengali Muslim family. Since his school days he has been very devoted to religion. A turning point in his religious approach came when he came in contact with a virtually unknown but versatile Bengali spiritual guide Shah Aksaruddin Ahmad who possessed deep Quranic and spiritual knowledge. Under his guidance, Abdu received some preliminary lessons in spiritual exercises. Inspired by him, Abdu closely studied the Quran and the Hadith and relevant Islamic literature of modern scholars. His website: ● www.exploreQuran.org ●
Ahmed Subhy Mansour, PhD. is Former Assistant Professor at Al Azhar University, Egypt. He is also a political asylee in the U.S as well as a visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School. An Egyptian national now living in the U.S., Ahmed is a distinguished scholar of Islam with expertise in Islamic history, culture, theology and politics. He was an advocate for democracy and human rights in Egypt for many years, during which time he was isolated and persecuted by religious extremists and by the regime, including having served time in prison for his liberal political, religious and social views. Having graduated with honors from Al Azhar University of Cairo, one of the oldest and most well respected centers of Islamic thought in the world, he later received his PhD with highest honors from Al Azhar as well. In May 1985, Ahmed was discharged from his teaching and research position there due to his liberal views that were not acceptable to the ultra-conservative religious authorities who controlled much of university policies and programs. In 1987 and 1988 he was imprisoned by the Egyptian government for his “progressive” views, including the advocacy of religious harmony and tolerance between Egyptian Muslims, Christian Copts, and Jews. Ahmad has authored 24 books and some 500 articles in Arabic, dealing with many aspects of Islamic history, culture, and religion. His organization’s website:
● www.ahl-alQuran.com ●
Aisha Jumaan, PhD, MPH is the President of the Islamic Society of Atlanta.
Aisha Y. Musa, PhD, is the author of “Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam”. Her training at Harvard was focused on early Islamic scriptural history, specifically the relative authority of the Quran and Prophetic Traditions (Hadith). Her book, Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam (Palgrave, 2008)-explores the development of the doctrine of duality of revelation and issues surrounding the relative authority of the Quran and the Prophetic Traditions (Hadith) through an examination of early Islamic texts in a variety of genres from the 8th and 14th centuries CE and compares the early controversies to their current counterparts. The question of the relative authority of the Quran and the Prophetic Traditions is part of usul al-fiqh (roots of jurisprudential methodology). How early Muslims answered that question has helped to shape Islamic theology and jurisprudence throughout the Muslim world for the past 1200 years. As part of the work, she produced the first English translation of al-Shafi’i’s Kitab Jimā’ al ‘ilm, one of the most important early texts dealing with the authority of Prophetic Traditions.. The current resurgence of debates over the authority of Prophetic Traditions relative to the Quran, make it a contemporary question of both academic interest and personal importance to Muslims. Her research and teaching interests extend from the early classical period to the present and include translation of classical Arabic texts, Quranic interpretation, women’s issues, and modern day reformist and neo-traditionalist movements. Aisha is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Colgate University. Her website: ● www.askmusa.org ●
Ali Behzadnia, M.D. is a Medical Doctor who came to the United Stated near forty years ago. Ali is a life time student of Islam and is interested in Quranic research and Interfaith Dialogue. He is socio-politically active and was a member in the first cabinet after the revolution in Iran, as Deputy Minister of Health and welfare, acting Minister of Education and associate professor in Medicine at Teheran University. He opposed the non-democratic religious regime of Iran, and returned to the United States, after nearly two years. Ali is a member of several academic and religious organizations and is in private practice in California.
Arnold Yasin Mol is born and raised in Holland. Coming from a Catholic background, he started to research many faiths and beliefs, and while studying biochemistry at college, he discovered the Quran and found it to have a logical social and scientific message. Arnold embraced Islam at the age of 20. Being first drawn into classical Islamic doctrine, he studied its message and history thoroughly and found it contradicted the Quranic message on many points, and decided to study Theology at college to study how history, religions and cultures influenced another. Now only accepting the Quran as a divine source based on its social and scientific message and make up, he has founded an organization together with several Muslim thinkers to study the Quranic message as the basis for a secular social global society and works with several modern Islamic thinkers. Currently he has studied Arabic at the University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands and is starting Social Theology at Amsterdam College. Arnold’s website:
● www.deenresearchcenter.com ●
Asghar Ali Engineer, PhD, an Indian Muslim, is an reformist-writer and activist. Internationally known for his work on liberation theology in Islam, he leads the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra movement. The focus of his work is on (and action against) communalism and communal and ethnic violence in India and South Asia. He is an advocate of a culture of peace, non-violence and communal harmony, and has lectured all over world. Asghar Ali is presently the head of the ‘Institute of Islamic Studies’ and the ‘Centre for Study of Society and Secularism’, both of which he founded in 1980 and 1993 respectively. He currently contributes to The God Contention, a web site comparing and contrasting various worldviews. Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer’s autobiography A Living Faith: My Quest for Peace, Harmony and Social Change was released in New Delhi on 20 July 2011 by Vice President of India Shri Hamid Ansari. For work and activities of Asghar, see his organization’s website:
● www.csss-isla.com ●
Caner Taslaman, PhD. was born in Istanbul where he completed his elementary and high school educations. As the son of a mother who is a chemical engineer and a father who is a doctor, he always had deep enthusiasm in natural sciences from a very tender age. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Sociology Department of Bogazici University in Istanbul. During his undergraduate education he has also showed interest in fields like anthropology, sociology of religion, and sociology of knowledge. He later got his masters degree at the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department of Marmara University in Istanbul, with a thesis on the relationship between the Big Bang Theory, philosophy and theology. Following that, he got his doctorate in the same department with a thesis on the relationship between the Evolution Theory, philosophy and theology. Later he got Associate Professorship with his book on the relationship between Quantum Theory, philosophy and theology. He also earned a second PhD degree in Political Sciences Faculty of Istanbul University with his thesis on “Islam in Turkey During the Globalization Process”. He had post-doctorate studies first at Tokyo University and later at Oxford University. He also studied at Harvard University and Cambridge University as a visiting scholar. He is teaching at Yıldız Technical University in the department of Philosophy. His main interest areas include subjects such as the relationship between science, philosophy and religion; globalization and Islam; Quran and science; philosophy of religion; philosophy of science; philosophy of physics and philosophy of biology. Among his works are; Quran Unchallengeable Miracle; The Big Bang, Philosophy and God; Evolution, Philosophy and God; Modern Science, Philosophy and God; Quantum Theory, Philosophy and God. His website: ● www.canertaslaman.com/english/
Chibuzo Casey Ohanaja was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Coming from a Nigerian Christian background he was not introduced to Islam until High School through a close friend from Pakistan. As a Political Science/Arabic and Middle Eastern studies major at the University of Notre Dame he began to deeply research and study various faiths, beliefs and systems of life. Allured by the message of Islam he discovered the Quran and found that it had the most humane, logical and pragmatic system of life. He reverted to Islam at the age of 20. Although through further studies of the Muslim history, hadith, fiqh, the Arabic language and observations through his travels in Africa and the Middle East he found that the traditional Islam prevalent around the world was incompatible with the message of Islam in the Quran. Now realizing that only the Quran can be used to guide and bring peace to mankind he has dedicated himself to informing and lecturing to people about the true message of Islam which is preserved in the Quran. Casey is currently the President of the Muslim Student Organization in Notre Dame, Indiana and is a coordinator for the University of Notre Dame Interfaith Fellowship. After graduation from the University Notre Dame he hopes to continue his studies in law, Arabic and Islamic studies.
Christopher Moore was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, which was under British rule at the time, soon after gaining independence. Due to his father’s devotion to Military Service his education was conducted by the Military. Now married for years to his wife Linda and the grandparent of two young granddaughters. Like Cyprus, he gained independence from British rule at the age of 49 to retire to Turkey. Since retiring he has been able to feed his growing passion for Quranic Islamic studies.
Dilara Hafiz is a retired investment banker, Sunday school teacher, interfaith activist and co-author of The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook along with her daughter, Yasmine, and son, Imran. This abridged article originally appeared in Altmuslim.com and is distributed with permission by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews). Her work can be found at: ● www.theamth.com ● www.altmuslim.com ●
Irshad Manji is a Canadian feminist, author, journalist, activist and professor of leadership. Manji is Director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University. The Moral Courage Project aims to teach young leaders to speak truth to power in their own communities. She is author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith, now published in more than 30 countries. She is also creator of the Emmy-nominated documentary, Faith Without Fear, which launched the American Islamic Congress 2008 “Think Different” Film Festival. Her websites:● www.irshadmanji.com ●
Edip Yuksel, J.D., American-Turkish-Kurdish author and activist (1957). Edip Yuksel is the author of over twenty books and hundreds of articles on religion, politics, philosophy and law in Turkish and English. Edip Yuksel is the author of over twenty books and hundreds of articles on religion, politics, philosophy and law in Turkish and English. His English books include Quran: a Reformist Translation, Manifesto for Islamic Reform, Peacemaker’s Guide to Warmongers, NINETEEN: God’s Signature in Nature and Scripture. Edip organizes international Critical Thinkers for Reform conferences; so far in Atlanta, Oxford, Los Angeles, Almaty, and Istanbul. He is the co-editor of the annual anthology carrying the same name. He has given lectures at various universities, including University of Arizona, Emory Law, Oxford University, Middle East Technical University, and Princeton University. After receiving his bachelor degrees from the University of Arizona in Philosophy and Near Eastern Studies, Edip received his law degree from the same university. Besides activism, writing and lecturing, Edip works as an Adjunct Philosophy professor at Pima Community College. Edip is fluent in Turkish, English and Classic Arabic; proficient in Persian, and barely conversant in Kurdish, his mother tongue. To promote rational monotheism and peace Edip founded Islamic Reform and co-founded MPJP. Edip is the founder of Islamic Reform organization and his online books, interviews, and articles are published at: ● www.19.org ● www.islamicreform.org ● www.yuksel.org ● www.quran.org ● www.quranix.com ● www.mpjp.org ● www.opednews.com ● Edip’s books can be ordered at ● www.amazon.com ● www.ozanyayincilik.com ● Twitter @edipyuksel
El Mehdi Haddou, MD. is a 37 year-old Canadian veterinary Doctor originating from Morocco. At the age of 24, he started to question his faith, Islam, the purpose of this life and the existence of God. In November 2006, after reading Rashad Khalifa’s book: ‘Quran, Hadith and Islam’ posted at www.submission.org, he began to verify Rashad Khalifa’s ideas of code 19 and confirmed the findings. Recognizing that God has answered his questions and had given the proof that I was always looking for. Since that day, he witnessed a big change in his spirituality. “Now”, he says, “Without hesitation I have attained certainty. I am following only the Quran, the whole Quran and nothing but the Quran.”
Eman M. Ahmed Originally from Pakistan, Eman came to Canada in 2000. She is currently the Projects Coordinator at CCMW. In Pakistan she worked in areas related to social development and human and women’s rights. She was also the managing editor for the Heinrich Boll Foundation book series on Women and Religion. Her publications include “A Dangerous mix: Religion & Development Aid”, (WHRNet), “Violence Against Women: The Legal System and Institutional Responses” in Violence, Law and Women’s Rights in South Asia, (Sage Publications); and “Promoting Inclusivity; Protecting (whose) Choice?” (AWID). Eman has MAs in Publishing (SFU), Social Anthropology (Oxford) and English (Pb)
F.K. is a Kurdish-American monotheist with dozens of patents in computer hardware technology. He has a PhD in mathematics. He is originally from Kurdistan of Iraq.
Fereydoun Taslimi is an entrepreneur philanthropist who came to Islam after rejecting it. “I was not a Muslim until I rejected all that I thought was Islam, heresy is my path to salvation.” He is the co-founder of Noor Foundation and founder of several High-tech companies. Prior to joining PerformanceIT, Mr. Taslimi was co-founder and CTO at infoGO, Inc. Before that, he was Vice President of ESI, Inc. from 1986 to 1996, co-founding the company along with Mr. Mittel. During his tenure, Mr. Taslimi was instrumental in the design and development of several successful product lines in the area of voice processing and Internet Telephony servers. Prior to ESI, Mr. Taslimi started Adax, Inc. in 1984, a company that developed a programmable PC-based phone system. While finishing graduate school, Mr. Taslimi founded Informatics Sciences a company that developed multi-lingual computers and applications systems that was subsequently sold in 1984. Mr. Taslimi graduated with honors from University of London in 1975 and received a Masters degree in computer science from Georgia Tech. His websites:
● www.noor.org ● www.muslimheretics.com ●
Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, PhD., is one of the leading spokespeople of the Muslim community in Britain. He is regarded as an expert on Islamic fundamentalism and Muslim political thought. He is one of the first Muslim leaders who has championed women’s causes, against forced marriage, domestic violence and murder in the name of honour. Last year, together with some senior clerics, he launched Muslim Marriage Contract to protect rights of women. He is now leading a campaign against child abuse within faith-based environment. He has consistently opposed the invasion of Afghanistan and subsequently that of Iraq, joining the Anti-war Coalition at its inception, becoming a member of its central executive. As a patron of Guantanamo Human Rights Commission and active member of ‘Campaign Against Criminalizing Communities’ (CAMPACC), Ghayasuddin has campaigned against detention without trial of people held in Guantanamo Bay and Belmarsh. As director of one of the oldest Muslim think tanks, the Muslim Institute, he has promoted dialogue across all barriers: social, cultural and political. His website: ● www.muslimparliament.org.uk ●
Kassim Ahmad is Malaysia’s foremost thinker and philosopher. Kassim was born on 9 September, 1933 in Kedah, Malaysia. He received his Bachelor of Art’s degree in Malay language and literature, but also read widely in political science and Islamic philosophy. He grabbed national headlines in the 1950s with his dissertation on the characters of Hang Tuah (Perwatakan Hang Tuah), the Malay literary classic. He taught Malay language and literature for a time in the London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and then in a secondary school in Penang where he has been staying with his family since 1966. Kassim was jailed for nearly five years under the ISA for daring to express openly his political views, an experience which he recounted in his book, Universiti Kedua (Second University). Like many modern reformists, after reading Rashad Khalifa’s book, Quran, Hadith, and Islam, Kassim experienced a paradigm change. He shook the Malay world with his Hadith: A Re-Examination in which he challenges the infallibility of the purported words of Prophet Muhammad. He is awarded an honorary doctorate in Letters by the National University of Malaysia. He has written several books on Malay literature as well as on Islamic subjects. His English and Malay articles are published at:
● www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com ●
Layth Saleh al-Shaiban is one of the leading muslim intellectuals for Islamic Reform. Like many modern reformists, he re-discovered the Quran after reading Rashad Khalifa’s book, Quran, Hadith, and Islam. Layth is the founder of Progressive Muslims and Free-Minds organizations. He is the co-author of the Quran: a Reformist Translation, and the author of The Natural Republic. Layth lives in Saudi Arabia and works as a financial adviser. Layth’s websites: ● www.free-minds.org ● www.progressivemuslims.org ●
Melody Moezzi, J.D. is a writer, activist, author and attorney. Her first book, War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims, was published in the fall of 2007 by the University of Arkansas Press. Ms. Moezzi has a regular column in Muslim Girl Magazine and has written essays and articles for several other print and online publications, including Parabola, Dissident Voice, American Chronicle, Urban Mozaik, and the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered. Born in Chicago in 1979, Melody grew up mostly in Dayton, Ohio amid a strong and vibrant Iranian-American diaspora. Today, she lives in Atlanta, with her husband, Matthew, and their cats, Olyan and Talula. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Emory University School of Law, as well as the Emory University School of Public Health. Melody’s website: ● www.melodymoezzi.com ●
Mike Mohamed Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He co-chairs the center for interfaith inquiry of the Memnosyne Foundation, president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. Ghouse is originally from Yelahanka-Bangalore, and Dallas, Texas has been his home town for nearly three decades. Mike is the founding president of World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website: ● www.MikeGhouse.net ●
Mohammad Mova Al Afghani works at a Jakarta-based Lawfirm and lectured at Universitas Ibn Khaldun Bogor. He founded the Center for Law Information (CeLI), a law information NGO in 1999. He is a frequent contributor at Daily Jakarta Post and has had several international publications. Mr. Al Afghani is also a member of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) Task Force on Implication and Policies. He graduated from the law faculty of Universitas Indonesia and — with the scholarship from Deutsches Akademisches Austausch Dienst (DAAD) — obtained a master in European Law from University of Bremen (with distinction).
Richard S. Voss, Ph.D. teaches business management courses at Troy University, where he is pursuing several research tracks, among which his favorite involves an ongoing project to integrate established theories of national cultural, universal human values, and civilizations into a unified civilizational theory. Richard embraced Islâm in Morocco in 1983 and adopted his Islâmic Reformist orientation upon discovering Dr. Rashâd Khalifa’s book, Quran, Hadith, and Islam, in the bookstore of the University of California at Riverside, his undergraduate alma mater where he had studied foreign language, shortly after his return to the United States. Several of his articles are posted at:
● www.19.org ●
Ruby Amatulla is an American Muslim business woman who is an activist to promote understanding and constructive engagements between the West and the Muslim world. She is a writer and a speaker for the cause. She is the president of a recently formed non-profit organization, Muslims for Peace, Justice and Progress (MPJP). ● www.amipi.org ● www.mpjp.org ●
Shabbir Ahmed MD. is a writer of books in both Urdu and English on history and Islam. He was born in Pakistan in 1947 and currently resides in Florida, United States. A medical doctor by profession, he started his military career in the Pakistan Army under Emergency Commission as a young Captain in 1971. Then he served in Royal Saudi Army (Medical Corps) and became a Brigadier General at an age of just 31. He has since made a new career as an Islamic scholar, and been published in various magazines and newspapers. Being a young member of the royal medical staff of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Shabbir learned the Arabic language and was trained in Islamic Theology and Quranic exegesis in the 1970s under the auspices of Malik Faisal bin Abdul Aziz and Malik Khalid bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and has widely traveled the Muslim world and has been a visitor to many Islamic centers of knowledge. Shabbir’s website:
● www.ourbeacon.com ●
T.O. Shanavas, M.D. is a physician based in Michigan. He is the author of the book Creation and/or Evolution wherein he discusses the Quranic view on evolution and its roots in Islamic history.