muslims in america | March 17, 2011

An Influential Muslim Cleric Fights Extremism: Andrea Elliott's NYT Magazine Cover Story

Andrea Elliott spent months writing this week’s New York Times Magazine cover story, about a Muslim cleric trying to prevent extremism in the U.S. by attempting to talk openly to his young followers about a plethora of thorny topics, including jihad. In the article, Elliott profiles Yasir Qadhi, “one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam, drawing a tide of followers in the fundamentalist movement known as Salafiya.” (In the Salafiya movement, Qadhi represents the nonmilitant majority.) Qadhi is “the rare Western cleric fluent in the language of militants, having spent nearly a decade studying Islam in Saudi Arabia, steeped in the same tradition that spawned Osama bin Laden’s splinter movement. Arguably few American theologians are better positioned to offer an authoritative rebuttal of extremist ideology.”

Among the most distinguished chroniclers of Muslim life in America, Andrea Elliott has written two previous New York Times Magazine cover stories, and, in 2007, won the Pulitzer Prize for “Muslims in America,” an intimate and illuminating series of articles about a Brooklyn mosque and the lives of immigrant Muslims after 9/11.

Read more about keynote speaker Andrea Elliott

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