Visionary Leadership Awardee Spotlight

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.

Bethesda, MD

Born in 1948 at sea to Palestinian refugee parents, Dr. Ahmad was raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1970 and in 1975 obtained a Ph. D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona. He has taught introductory courses on Islam and on religion and science at the Wesley Theological Seminary, honors courses in “Religion and Progress” and on “Religion, Science, and Freedom” as a senior lecturer in the Honors Program at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD, a general education course on “Changing Views of the Universe” at American University out of its physics department, courses on Islam and Development at Georgetown University and graduate courses in Islam and Development and Theory of Social Change at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. Dr. Ahmad has lectured on Islam at the Foreign Services Institute and for the Joint Special Operations University’s Middle East Orientation Course. He has done postdoctoral work in astronomy at Harvard, the University of Maryland, and under contract to Goddard Space Flight Center and for private firms. He is currently President of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, an Islamic think-tank in the Washington, DC area, for which he writes a blog ( Dr. Ahmad is an internationally sought-after speaker on matters relating to Islam and Muslims. He is author of Signs in the Heavens: A Muslim Astronomer’s Perspective on Religion and Science, co-editor of Islam and the West: A Dialog, and co-author of Islam and the Discovery of Freedom. Dr. Ahmad‘s essay “An Islamic Perspective on the Wealth of Nations” appears in the International Library of Critical Writings on Economics series #129 The Economics of Property Rights. His most recent book is The Islamic Rules of Order. He is also President of the Islamic-American Zakat Foundation, Chair of the Development Committee of the Association of Muslim Chaplains, and arbitrator for the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area. He has previously served as a Muslim chaplain at American University and also at a maximum security mental hospital in the greater Washington DC area and was for many years the imam at the Dar-adh-Dhikr mosque. He resides in Bethesda with his wife Frances Eddy. Dr. Ahmad has received the “Star Cup for Outstanding Public Service” award from the Montgomery County Civic Federation, the “Champion of Democracy Award” from Marylanders for Democracy, the “Samuel P. Chase Freedom Award” from the Libertarian Party of Maryland, and the “Sentinel Award” from the Montgomery County Civic Federation. Recently, he was recognized as an Arab-American leader in Montgomery County MD by the Montgomery County Public Schools as part of Arab Heritage month. He used the VLA grant to recruit an intern trainee at the Islamic-American Zakat Foundation. who now is attempting to upgrade the organizations use of social media. He thanks the faculty at TISA and Dr. James Jones for their assistance with the grant proposal .