Rev. Bernie Clark, C.S.C. Lecture | Speaker Bios

Scott C. Alexander, Ph.D. is currently associate professor of Islamic Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he is also director of the school’s Catholic-Muslim Studies Program and chair of the Department of Intercultural Studies and Ministry. He is chair of the Theological Education Committee of the American Academy of Religion and is a regular consultant on Catholic-Muslim relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Association for Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers. He is co-editor of the Journal of Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society, and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture. He serves on the advisory boards of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago, and the Lake Institute for Faith and Giving at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, as well as on the Academic Council of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and the steering committee of the Bridge Initiative, both at Georgetown University. In addition to working on a current book project focusing on triumphalism in Christian-Muslim relations, he is the author of a number of articles in Islamic history, Quranic studies, Christian-Muslim relations and interreligious dialogue published in scholarly journals, encyclopedias, edited volumes, and online forums. 


Imam Sayed Hassan Qazwini was born in the holy city of Karbala, Iraq in 1964. He immigrated to the United States in 1992. His father is Ayatollah Mortadha Al-Qazwini, a leading Shia Cleric in Iraq. Imam Qazwini traces his lineage forty generations back to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The longest serving Congressman in U.S. history, Hon. John D. Dingell, has called him “a leading voice for Muslims in America.” Imam Qazwini is a scholar, educator, and advocate for Islam in America.

He has lectured at hundreds of churches, colleges, and leading universities, including Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, and Rutgers, dispelling common misconceptions about Islam. He serves on the board of the Islamic Fiqh Council of North America. Imam Qazwini served as the Spiritual Leader of the largest mosque in America, the Islamic Center of America, from 1997 to 2015. In 2011, he was named among the world’s 500 most influential Arabs.

Imam Qazwini dedicated twelve years of vigorous religious studies in the Islamic Seminary of Qom, Iran where he graduated with a fine grasp of the fundamentals of Islamic Jurisprudence and Quranic Commentary. His recent publications include: American Crescent: A Muslim Cleric on the Power of His Faith the Struggle Against Prejudice and the Future of Islam and America, Handbook of Everyday Islam, Exegesis of Quran: The Criterion (Min Areej al Quran), and The Sun Rises from the West: A memoir of an Imam in the United States (Alshams tashruq min algharb).

Imam Qazwini continues to be one of the most outspoken and influential Shia Muslim religious leaders in the United States, seeking to persuade political leaders in America to stand with Muslim communities and speak out publicly against the spread of Islamophobia. Imam Qazwini has been invited by the White House, State Department, and Defense Department to represent the Muslim community. He is the first Shia Muslim Imam to give the Islamic invocation at the U.S. Congress in October 2004. He has also been interviewed on CNN, NPR, BBC, VOA, The New York Times, the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, and numerous other media outlets. He has participated in numerous international conferences around the world including Kuala Lumpur, Doha, Seoul, Skopje, Jakarta, and the Vatican. Imam Qazwini founded the Islamic Institute of America in 2015 in Dearborn Heights, Michigan where he currently serves as its spiritual leader.