[ Imam Zaid Shakir being interviewed by Christanne Barker of mattersoffaith.com ]
Born in Berkeley in 1956, California and spent his formative years in Connecticut, he accepted Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force and shortly after changed his name to Zaid Salim Shakir. A summa cum laude graduate, he obtained a BA in International Relations at American University in Washington, D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science at Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he led a successful campaign for disinvestment from South Africa, and co-founded a local Islamic center, Masjid al-Huda.
After a year of studying Arabic in Cairo, Egypt, he settled in New Haven, Connecticut and continued his community activism, co-founding Masjid al-Islam, the Tri-State Muslim Education Initiative, and the Connecticut Muslim Coordinating Committee. As Imam of Masjid al-Islam from 1988 to 1994 he spear-headed a community renewal and grassroots anti-drug effort, also accepted the position as Professor and taught political science and Arabic at Southern Connecticut State University. He served as an interfaith council Chaplain at Yale University and developed the Chaplaincy Sensitivity Training for physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital. Zaid Shakir participates as a speaker at Islamic Society of North America annual conferences.
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