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The 500 most influential Muslims of the world?

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The three Shia sect leaders included are: Imam Mohammad bin Mohammad al Mansour, Imam of the Zaidis; Prince Karim Aga Khan, the 49th Imam of the Ismailis and Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhannuddin, 52nd Imam of Bohras. The list also names the prominent Shia leader Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani, Marja of the Hawza, Najaf.

The Barelvi and Sufi leaders: Sheikha Munira Qubeysi, Leader of the Qubeysi Movement of Syria; Sheikh Ahmad Tijani Ali Cisse, Leader of Tijaniyya Sufi Order of West Africa; Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil al Qubrusi al Haqqani, Leader of Naqshbandi-Haqqani Sufi Order of Cyprus; Abdullah 'Aa Gym' Gymnastiar, Indonesian Naqshbandi Preacher and Professor Sayid Ameen Mian Qaudri, Barelwi Leader and Spiritual Guide of India.

Sunni religious leaders: Sheikh Al Azhar Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Grand Sheikh of the Al Azhar University; Mohammad Mahdi Akef, Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood; Dr Yusuf Qaradawi, Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and Hajji Mohammed Abd al Wahhab, Ameer of the Tablighi Jamaat, Pakistan.

Grand Muftis: Sheikh Dr Ali Goma'a, Grand Mufti of Egypt; Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah Aal al Sheikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Sheikh Professor Dr Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Political parties leaders: Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah (Lebanon); Khaled Mashaal, Leader of Hamas (occupied Gaza); Dr Achmad Hasyim Muzadi, Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest socio-religious party Indonesia; Dr M Din Syamsuddin, Chairman of Muhammadiyya, the second largest socio-religious party of Indonesia; Dato' Haji Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, Religious Guide of the Islamic Party of Malaysia; Maulana Mahmood Madani, Secretary General of Jamiat Ulemae-Hind, India and Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ameer of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh.

Muslim scholars: Sheikh Salman al Ouda of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Dr M Sa'id Ramadan al Bouti of Syria; Sheikh Mohammad Ali al Sabouni of Syria, Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad al Tayeb, President of Al Azhar University Cairo; Pakistan's Justice Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, deputy chairman of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, Deputy-Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars of Qadrawi; Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Studies professor at George Washington University, USA and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Founder of Zaytuna Institute, California, USA.

Moderate religious leader/preacher: US-based Hodjaefendi Fethullah Gullen, Turkish Muslim Preacher. London-based Amr Khaled is enlisted as a lay Preacher and Social Activist. Interestingly, once British cabinet secretary and one of Tony Blair's closest aides Sir Andrew Turnbull, intended to seek Amr Khaled's aid in furthering the British government's agenda regarding Muslims.

Abdul Qader Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program finds a place in the first top 50 personalities. However, in introducing Abdul Qader Khan, the authors have unwittingly borrowed western terminology to describe Pakistan's nuclear bomb as "Islamic Bomb." We never hear "Jewish Bomb" for the Israeli nuclear bomb, "Hindu Bomb" for the Indian nuclear bomb, "Confucius Bomb" for the Chinese and "Christian Bomb" for the nuclear bombs of France, Russia, U.K and USA.

The list of the so-called 'Radical Muslims' is surprising. It includes Osama Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri. If Osama Bin Laden is considered as one of the most influential personality then probably he should top the list because of a wide-spread impact of his personality on the Muslim world. Ironically Osama's half brother, Bakr bin Laden, is honored in the category of Development. Bakr is the chairman of the Saudi Binladin Group, a sizable multinational construction company with operations in Saudi Arabia and over 30 countries -- making him an increasingly influential power broker in Saudi business capital.

Among the Muslim political leaders is President Hamid Karzai, who was recently re-elected in a controversial election and whose writ does not extend beyond his presidential palace. Pakistan Army's Chief of Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani is named as the most influential figure, although now Pakistan has a democratic setup with an elected president and prime minister.

The seven-million strong American Muslim community is delighted to see the names of 71 American Muslims in the list while one of them, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, the founder of California-based Zaytuna Institute, is listed in the first 50 most influential Muslims. Many are astonished with this choice since Keith Ellison, the first American Muslim Congressman or President of the Islamic Society of Northern America (ISNA), Ingrid Mattson, are probably the most popular and influential in the American Muslim community. Congressman Keith Ellison is accommodated in the list of political leaders and also listed in the 'list of Honorable Mentions.'

The officials of three major Muslim civil rights groups -- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) are included in the list while other major civil rights groups such as American Muslim Alliance (AMA), American Muslim Voice (AMV), Muslim American Society (MAS) and the United Muslims of America (UMA) have been ignored.

The United Muslims of America (UMA) is one of the oldest American Muslim organizations, established in 1982. One of its founding President, Dr. Islam Siddiqui, was appointed by President Clinton as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and President Obama has appointed him as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the US Trade Representative. Ironically in the list of political leaders there are only two entries i.e. Congressman Keith Ellison and Rashad Hussain, who is appointed as the Deputy Associate Counsel to the president by President Barrack Obama.

The American Muslim Alliance (AMA) was established in 1992 with a mission to encourage Muslim participation in political parties and the electoral process. In the 2000 elections the AMA President, Dr. Agha Saeed, played a key role in a bloc Muslim vote to the Republican Party presidential candidate, George Bush. Dr. Saeed is also the Chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce, an umbrella organization comprising 12 major American Muslim civil advocacy groups.

The American Muslim Voice (AMV), headed by Samina Faheem Sundas, is relatively new civil rights/peace group but its grassroots is widely recognized by mainstream civil rights and interfaith and peace groups. The AMV along with over thirty diverse peace partners organized sponsored a vigil and iftar (fast breaking) outside the White House on September 11, 2009, on the 8th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks. This was the first time that any American Muslim group organized such a vigil in Washington DC.

The Muslim American Society (MAS), launched in 1992, is another major American Muslim civil rights group currently led by Mahdi Bray who once served as a liaison with President Bush's White House Faith-Based Initiative Program. Bray is a National Co-convener of Religions for Peace -- USA. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Alliance and the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)

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