Dr. Waheed Rana is an empowered leader in the faith community who promotes interfaith respect and understanding with an open heart and an open mind. As a devout Muslim, he is completely committed to his religion and a respected leader within his tradition. In fulfillment of his faith, he is equally committed to interfaith understanding, and has actively engaged interfaith dialogue and activity for over 35 years.
Long before the shock of 9-1l, Dr. Rana was involved in interfaith dialogue through the Breakfast Dialogue Group of NCCJ, through a Muslim-Christian dialogue group at Aquinas Institute of Theology, and in his work with Jewish and other leaders of faith. Immediately after 9-11, he could be seen in the media outlets working to explain Islam and prevent a backlash of discrimination. Thanks to the groundwork laid by Dr. Rana’s commitment to interfaith understanding and his prior years of work in that arena, St. Louis religious leaders of other faiths were committed to standing together with him in a highly visible effort to maintain the unity of the interfaith community.
When Muslims in the St. Louis area wished to build a mosque and Islamic Center, there was a public outcry against the Center being built. Dr. Rana was able to overcome this opposition with the aid of Jewish leaders in the faith community who had come to understand Islam better through the dialogues in which they participated with Dr. Rana.
Dr. Rana is “a big-souled person” with room within himself for learning, as well as teaching. He is a gentle and compassionate man who represents the best in all of us as we struggle to bring about attitudinal change and work to reach out to one another in faith with both respect and openness.