Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a national community leader, is chief executive officer of this Plainfield, IN – suburban Indianapolis – based national umbrella organization which has more than 300 affiliates all over the U.S. and Canada.
A naturalized American citizen, Dr. Syeed obtained his Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics from the Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana, in 1984.
As President of the Muslim Students Association of USA & Canada (1980-1983), he pioneered its transformation into the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). During 1984-1988, he was Secretary General of the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO) in which capacity he traveled widely through the former Soviet Union, and Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and South America. Dr. Syeed has been General Secretary of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), a national professional organization founded 31 years ago.
Dr. Syeed, one of the founders of the quarterly American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (AJISS), served as its Editor-in-Chief (1984-1994). During his tenure AJISS grew from a twice a year to a quarterly publication, simultaneously published from Washington, D.C., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Islamabad, Pakistan, and in Turkish from Istanbul, Turkey. Today AJISS has acquired a respectable niche in academia and is quoted with recognition in professional and scholarly researches. It is widely recognized as the foremost journal in its field globally. Dr. Syeed is also a member of the Board of Advisory Editors for the Middle East Affairs Journal and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
In his present position Dr. Syeed is also chairman of the Editorial Board of Islamic Horizons, the flagship magazine of ISNA, a position he held previously during 1982-1984.
Dr. Syeed has been actively involved in fostering understanding among the world’s religions and has participated in interfaith dialogues at different levels in the U.S.A. and Canada. A frequent speaker at interfaith dialogues, he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
In recognition of his contribution to inter-religious understanding and harmony, Dr. Syeed was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by the Graduate Theological Foundation, Donaldson, Indiana on May 4, 2001. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award for distinguished service in furthering the Islamic tradition in North America and for promoting inter-religious understanding and harmony from the Catholic Heritage Foundation, Louisville, Kentucky on November 18, 2001.
On January 5, 2002, Mr. Frank O’Bannon, the Governor of Indiana, in his State of the State Address, recognized Dr. Syeed’s “work to educate Americans about the Muslim faith in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks, along with your life’s work to encourage tolerance and racial healing has marked you as a great leader in Indiana.”
Dr. Syeed has been invited to speak on Muslim and Islamic issues on the national TV channels, NBC, CBS, CBN, ABC. He was interviewed on PBS on the McNeill-Lehrer Report and appeared on the “Today Show” and CNN’s “Crossfire” and on the national televisions of Turkey, Malaysia, Sudan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on matters related to Islam and Islam in America.