Imam Makram El-Amin’s commitment to service and civic leadership has made him a pillar in the Minneapolis community. As imam of the historical Masjid An-Nur, he’s led a growing, culturally diverse congregation in his hometown to the forefront of interfaith dialogue and neighborhood outreach.
For the past 15 years, Imam El-Amin’s work as a religious and community leader has been firmly rooted in the principle of our inherent human dignity. In addition to his weekly teaching duties, Imam El-Amin has led the masjid’s numerous community service initiatives, including Al Maa’uun Neighborly Needs Community Outreach program, feeding more than 300 families monthly since 1997.
Along with his congregation, he helped raise more than $1 million for the initial phase of the masjid’s recent expansion, with future plans to house classrooms, a library and social services center. He’s done so by garnering support for the masjid’s efforts not only from the local Muslim community, but from some of Minnesota’s most prominent religious, social and corporate institutions.
Student of the late religious leader and scholar Imam W. Deen Mohammed, his thoughtful and moderate approach to Islam has afforded Imam El-Amin opportunities to share the stage with Bishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. He was a delegate to an historic interfaith event in Rome with Pope John Paul II and member of an interfaith clergy delegation to the Holy Land.
As advisor to Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, Imam El-Amin has counseled Ellison on religious issues and accompanied him on international trade trips. The relationship has led to The New York Times writing an article on Imam El-Amin, tagging him the ‘congressman’s imam’ and emerging voice for religious tolerance and Muslim participation in the public square.
A frequent lecturer on Islam, he has represented Muslim Americans in the United Kingdom, Turkey and the Middle East. He is a member of the Minneapolis Downtown Clergy and serves on the advisory board of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center at the University of St. Thomas.
When not leading his congregation, Imam El-Amin continues to serve by helping mentor adult men transitioning from prison into the workforce. In his role at The Network for Better Futures, he plays life coach to hundreds of men improving their lives through education and employment.
In addition, he helps operate his family’s restaurant, a popular fish house in the masjid’s bustling North Minneapolis neighborhood. Through the resources of Al-Maa’uun, he and his team recently organized area Muslims to help feed more than 1,000 residents impacted by a local tornado. Imam El-Amin’s effort to improve the lives of others – through religious discourse or social entrepreneurship – has earned him the reputation for reaching across his city’s racial and denominational divide.
In 2014 Imam El-Amin was named a Bush Foundation Fellow; and received an appointment as Chaplain to the Minneapolis Police Department.
Imam El-Amin is the second of five children. He’s been married 18 years to his wife, Sharon, and they have three children, Raheema, Malik and Nasir.
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