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Omid Safi is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he specializes in Islamic mysticism (Sufism), contemporary Islamic thought, and medieval Islamic history. He was formerly professor of Islamic Studies at Colgate University. Born in the U.S., his familial roots are in Iran, and he speaks fluent Persian. Having witnessed the Iranian revolution and the horrors of the Iran-Iraq war personally, he is deeply committed to exploring possibilities of nonviolent struggle within the Islamic tradition.
Chair for the Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion from 2002-2009, he has also served on the board of the Pluralism project at Harvard University. Recognized as a leader of the progressive Muslim debate, Professor Safi was one of the co-founders of the Progressive Muslim Union (PMU-NA). His book, Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, contains a diverse collection of essays by and about Muslims committed to social justice and gender equality.Omid Safi is also the author of The Politics of Knowledge in Pre-modern Islam, a study of the historical and spiritual context of classical Islam. In 2009 he published a new biography of the Prophet Muhammad. This work, Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters, has been called a groundbreaking biography of the Prophet for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and is being translated to a number of languages. He holds BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Islamic Studies from Duke University. He is among the most in-demand public Muslim intellectuals, and has appeared in the NY Times, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other media.