Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid recently began his term as the new chair of the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. He succeeds the Rev. Dr. William E. Lesher, who has served as chair since 2003. Imam Mujahid is an imam in the Chicago Muslim community and president of Sound Vision Foundation, which produces Radio Islam, America’s only daily Muslim call-in talk show.
The Rev. Dr. Lesher said he considers Imam Mujahid “marvelously equipped” to serve as the board’s highest elected officer.
“He brings to the chair a deep commitment to his own faith tradition,” the Rev. Dr. Lesher said. “He is a recognized leader in that tradition. He has a understanding of how religion is a force in American society and also in societies throughout the world.”
The organization traces its roots to the 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions, which took place in conjunction with the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In 1993 the council organized and hosted the first modern Parliament of the World’s Religions, also in Chicago. Subsequent Parliaments have been held in 1999 in Cape Town, South Africa; 2004 in Barcelona, Spain; and 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.
“Most older things are known to fade away, but the Parliament is a phenomenon that constantly reinvents itself,” Imam Mujahid said. “We were ahead of our ourselves in Cape Town when we started engaging guiding institutions around the world on sustainability,” Imam Mujahid said. “Now it’s the talk of the town.”
“As we deal with issues of poverty and climate change, we’ll be nourishing all of our discourse with the perspective of Indigenous people—who happen to suffer the most from the excessive consumption that drives ruthless economic development,” Imam Mujahid said.
“Little did we know, two or three years ago, that not only we would be focused on environmental issues and climate change but that the whole world would be with the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference,” the Rev. Dr. Lesher said.
Imam Mujahid is former chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, and has written extensively on religion, public policy and applied aspects of Islamic living. Imam Mujahid has initiated a joint campaign between American Muslims and the National Organization of Women to declare rape a war crime.
Imam Mujahid was introduced during the closing plenary of the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, at which time he launched the Council’s new social networking site, peacenext.org.
Read the article Why Interfaith Dialogue? by Abdul Malik Mujahid