Imam Zaid Shakir, born in Berkeley, California, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1976 until 1981, during which time he accepted Islam. He obtained a BA in international relations at American University and earned his MA in political science from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he led a campaign that culminated in the university divesting from South Africa. Zaid co-founded Zaytuna College, the first accredited Islamic liberal arts college. He is a signatory of a declaration in support of the Paris Climate Agreement, and he authored the Muslim response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change. Zaid had the honor of leading the funeral prayer for Muhammad Ali. CNN has listed him among 25 influential American Muslims. 

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