Founder Profile

FOUNDER PROFILE

Iftekhar Hai, President
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Experience
  • President
  • Lecturer/Teacher
  • Controller, Credit & Collection
Education
  • St. Joseph High School Degree
    B.S. Field Of StudyAccounting & Commercial Law
  • St. Joseph High School

Iftekhar A. Hai was born in a village in India during the days of the British rule in 1942 in Muslim house hold.  He went to a Catholic school from ages 6 to 17 years where he learned about Christian values and ethics.  He earned his Bachelors from a Podar college in Mumbai. Facing religious discrimination I moved to Pakistan for better job opportunities in 1965.  Pakistan had its own problems because it was divided ethnically and racially. I looked to USA to fulfill my dreams and ended up in 1969 in San Francisco for MBA Program at Golden Gate University.  I lived with an elderly, Jewish landlady, a daughter of a Rabbi. She gave me room and food in exchange for eight hours of household chores in San Francisco. The Jewish landlady introduced me to Judaic values and ethics and the strong emotional attachment of Jews to the State of Israel.  The commonality of the messages in the Abrahamic faiths coupled with the non-violence concept of Gandhi & Martin Luther King Jr. became of intense importance in resolving religious differences and conflicts.

After earning my MBA in 1973, I agreed to an arranged marriage to Atiya.  Thirty years, as financial officer helped accomplish my American dream. Being a loving husband, father and grandfather did not satisfy me when I found hatred, bigotry and racism towards Muslims in the USA. I changed my profession from finance to interfaith education. I became one of the founding Directors of United Muslims of America in 1982 and became its full time honorary Director of Interfaith Relations from 1990.  In June 2004, I founded UMA Interfaith Alliance and became its President.  The mission was to promote cooperation and understanding among world religions through interfaith dialogue, creating racial and religious harmony and encouraging American Muslims to get involved locally, nationally and globally for the common good of all people. I am eager to bring peace between India and Pakistan, and also between Israel and its Arabs neighbors.  From the last 25 years I have worked with numerous organizations, here are a few:

  • F. Interfaith Council (local organization)
  • Interfaith Center at the Presidio (local organization)
  • Interfaith Witness for Peace in the Middle East (local organization)
  • Peninsula Clergy Networks (PCN) (F. Bay Area organization)
  • Commonwealth Club of CA – Middle-East Forum (state wide organization)
  • Interfaith Alliance Foundation, Wash. DC (national organization)
  • International Diplomacy Council or Institute of International Education (national organization)
  • United Religions Initiative (global organization)
  • Parliament of World Religion (global organization)
  • Southern Poverty Law Center, USA

The 9/11 tragedy and the demonization of Muslims and Islam has created a crisis for American Muslims.  I am explaining Islam and its practices to Americans in Churches, synagogues, schools, colleges and universities. Once a substitute volunteer-teacher in Public Schools, Jewish and Christian private schools, I am also an honorary lecturer in universities, churches, charitable and interfaith organizations.  Taught Islam course at Holy Names College in Oakland for 4 years.  Also taught Islam class at UC Berkeley under Professor Steve West for 2 years. I have represented Islam in Conflict Resolution Conferences and interfaith seminars in USA, Canada, UK, India, Pakistan, Africa, Afghanistan, Brazil, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

I have also visited the Vatican to promote peace between Islam & Christianity in March 2006. Hindu American Foundation conferred on me Mahatma Gandhi Award on Pluralism in year 2014. United Religions Initiative and San Francisco Interfaith Council also honored my 25 years of peace building by conferring an Award.

Iftekhar is a writer who not only eliminates negative stereotyping, but also differentiates between moderate and extremist interpretation of Islam. Most of the San Francisco bay area newspapers have printed his articles.  For three years his columns have appeared in Faith pages of San Mateo Times. He compares the global and inter-religious message of Islam to other religions and spiritual traditions.  He also talks about a list of grievances of the Muslim world because of U.S. foreign policies. Lately he has been one of the most sought after speaker on peace and reconciliation among religions. Earnestly he talks about the challenges facing the American Muslims in the 21st century in the face of terrorism, globalization and interconnectedness. He is a humanist and focuses on humanity, living as one family with its wonderful diversity, on one piece of real estate – THE EARTH.

dr-farooq-hasan

Dr. Farooq Hassan

Board member
Farooq Hassan is currently a Fulbright Visiting Scholar for Postdoctoral research at Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding under the supervision of Professor Dr. John L.
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