This is a short personality profile of Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad. He is one of two Imams at American University. As Imam, he leads Friday prayers, conducts Qur’an study groups and serves as counselor for the Muslim students on campus.
Dr. Ahmad was born on a boat, en-route from Palestine to the United States. He grew up in Pennsylvania, and went to Harvard for his undergrad education. He earned a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Arizona in 1975. After a few years, however, he decided to leave the sciences and go into theology and advocacy. He now runs a Muslim, libertarian think tank in Bethesda, MD.
Filming this piece was a bit of a challenge. Dr. Ahmad is only on campus for about four hours per week, and he was never leading prayers when I had the camera. And I really had wanted to focus the whole piece on him leading prayers. Instead, I was able to film the Qur’an study group, which was included less action and fewer people. And there was only one other person working at the think tank, and he was busy, so there wasn’t a whole lot of interaction to film.
Still, Dr. Ahmad is a very interesting character and I think the piece turned out well. I like how I was able to get a concise narrative arc out of his interviews. I hope you like it too!