￼ Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid has been the religious and spiritual leader (Imam) of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc. since November, 1989. The mosque , located in Harlem, New York City, is the institutional heir of the Muslim Mosque Inc. founded by the late El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), in 1964. Imam ‘Abdur-Rashid is also an Ameer (President) Emeritus of the Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan New York. Nationally, the imam serves as the Deputy Ameer (Vice President) of The Muslim Alliance in North America. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Educational and Memorial Center for the past 10 years.
Imam Talib serves on or has advised several interfaith bodies located in New York City, past and present. They include Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (who recognized him in 2014 for 19 years of service), A Partnership of Faith in New York City, The Temple of Understanding, The Interfaith Center of New York, The N.Y.C. Dept. of Education Chancellor’s Interfaith Advisory Committee, and the Bertram Beck Institute on Religion and Poverty. He has given sermons and lectures in Mosques, Churches and Synagogues throughout the U.S.A. since the early 1990s. Further, he was a presenter at the Parliament of World Religions in both Chicago (1993) and Capetown, South Africa (1999)
One of the original Muslim participants in the Harlem Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, Imam Talib has served as a counselor to and advocate for Muslims living with AIDS and their families, and a faith-based HIV/AIDS educator, since 1990. He is the co-founder of the African-African American Muslim Commission on HIV/AIDS , and the only American Muslim member of the Advisory Committee of the International Muslim Leaders Consultation on HIV/AIDS. Imam Talib participated in training faith leaders in the U.S. and Africa, in Islamic pastoral perspectives on HIV/AIDS, sponsored by The Balm in Gilead, Inc., an U.S. based African-American AIDS organization, and is a member of the National Black Leadership Commission on HIV/AIDS.
The Imam participated in several interfaith services and activities in the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 . They included those held at The Riverside Church, Marble Collegiate Church, and NYC Local Union 32BJ. He also organized an October, 2001 prayer service near Ground Zero, for Muslims killed in the destruction of the Twin Towers. In the media he was a panelist on PBS’ “ America Responds: New York Voices”, with Bill Moyers. His voice appears on the CD Restoring Faith: America’s Religious Leaders Answer Terror with Hope , edited by Forrest Church.
Imam Talib was the key American Muslim speaker at the International Conference on Religious Pluralism in Democratic Societies, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2002. In 2009, he received the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ “Steward of Justice” Award, and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, identified him as one of “The 500 Most Influential Muslims” in the world in the area of “Development”. He was subsequently invited to and participated in the U.S./Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, in February, 2010.
The Imam’s work has been the object of several featured articles in the New York Times and other newspapers where he is frequently quoted. This is also true of several books on Islam and Muslims in America, including American Islam by Richard Wormser, Working on God, by Winifred Gallagher, Journey Into America by Akbar Ahmed, and My Neighbors Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation by Jennifer Howe Peace, amongst others. A spiritual advisor to the hip-hop generation, he appeared in the award-winning documentary “The New Muslim Cool”.
The imam is author of A Muslim Manifesto on Darfur, and Healing Indigenous Muslim Families in America. His essay entitled “African and African American Muslims in Early New York” was published by the NY Urban League in January, 2008 in their publication, The State of Black New York: 2007. It was further published in Columbia University’s “Souls”, a 2010 anthology of writings by the late scholar of African American history, professor Manning Marable. His critique of Dr. Marable’s book Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention appears in Malcolm X: Real Not Reinvented along with essays by renown scholars, activists, and writers. His paper entitled “Souls on Fire: Christian and Muslim Insurrectionists in 19th Century America” was presented at the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race held at Birkbeck, University Of London.
Imam ‘Abdur-Rashid’s religiously inspired community activist work has earned him accolades from community organizations and city government alike. He is the recipient of several NY City Council Citations and congressional recognition; 2012 recognition for his work and contributions as a New Yorker, 2013 multiple awards including the Bridge Building Award for Leadership in Community Relations (for his long and consistent record of interfaith work in New York City) ; the Micah Justice Award of The Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary (for his prophetically modeled social justice work over 25 years), and the Citizen of the City award of The Police Reform Organizing Project. His was a major voice raised in critical opposition to the particular policies and programs initiated by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. These policies known as Stop and Frisk, and Warrantless Surveillance of the Muslim Community , have subsequently fallen into disfavor as implemented during the previous mayoral administration.
In 2014 the imam became a founding member of Interfaith Religious Leaders of African Ancestry, following the inspiration of civil rights pioneer Rev. Herbert Daughtry. Together they raised their voices against violence directed against women and children at home and abroad. In 2015 the Islamic Circle of North America presented its Excellence in Leadership award to Imam ‘Abdur-Rashid. The NYC-based Muslim Democratic Club did the same with its Civic Leadership award, as did the Arab American Association of New York Earlier that year, the New York Observer identified the imam as one of that city's “Most Influential Religious Leaders”. Recently the Imam joined his voice to that of prestigious New York City based religious leaders in a press conference convened by Rev. Dr. William Barber, held at the Union Theological Seminary, in denunciation of immoral presidential campaign rhetoric. In November, 2016 the Imam is scheduled to receive the prestigious Legacy Award of The Institute for the Black World 21st Century. In February, 2017 the National Institute of Muslim Mental Health Providers will present him with an honorary doctorate.
Imam Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid‘s recently completed book Islamic Fundamentals Of Faith: The Human and The Unseen, And Essays On Contemporary Issues Impacting Muslims is scheduled for print in 2017. His next two books entitled Social Justice Writings of an African American Muslim, and The Qur’an, The Sunnah, and The Non-Violent Jihad against HIV/AIDS, are targeted for release that same year. He is the father of a daughter, Hawwa and a son Adam , with one son, Ismail deceased from heart disease. He is the grandfather of six children. Sanaa Abdul-Halim, his wife of 12 years, died of cancer in December 2014.