The 500 Most Influential Muslims – 2010

20 01, 2011

Profile: Conservative chairman Baroness Warsi

January 20th, 2011|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

As chairman of the Conservative Party, Baroness Warsi is the first Muslim woman to be a Cabinet minister.

Before that, she was shadow minister for community cohesion, with a reputation for speaking her mind.

She came to public prominence in 2009 after a well-reviewed performance on BBC One’s Question Time when BNP leader Nick Griffin was on the panel.

There had been nervousness in Tory circles beforehand, as she was seen as somewhat gaffe-prone.

But David Cameron had long valued her plain-speaking approach – and the fact that she represented the sort of multicultural, classless party he wanted to build.

A comprehensive-school-educated Asian woman, who speaks with a Yorkshire accent, she has risen rapidly to the top of a party opponents often depict as being dominated by white, privately educated men. She arrived at her first cabinet meeting in May dressed in a traditional South Asian shalwar kameez.

‘Working class’

She shares the role of party chairman with Baron Feldman of Elstree, a fashion tycoon and long standing friend of David Cameron, who does not attend cabinet.

But she is also a minister without portfolio, with licence to speak out on a range of issues – and she has not been afraid to court controversy, particularly when speaking out about what she sees as the rise of Islamaphobia in Britain.

Last year, she told the New Statesman: “If you have a pop at the British Muslim community in the media, then first of all it will sell a few papers; second, it doesn’t really matter; and third, it’s fair game.

“If you go back historically – [and] I was looking at some Evening Standard headlines, where there were things written about the British Jewish community less than 100 years ago – they have kind of replaced one with the other.”

Educated at Leeds University, Baroness Warsi describes herself as a “Northern, working-class roots, urban, working mum”.

In 2004, she gave up her job as a solicitor – and a £130,000 annual salary – to stand for Parliament in her home town of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

She lost to Labour’s Shahid Malik, but was given a peerage to enable her to enter the shadow cabinet.

She served as a special adviser on community relations to previous Conservative leader Michael Howard and became a vice-chairman of the party in 2005.

Fluent in Punjabi, Urdu and Gujarati, she has a daughter, but her 17-year marriage ended in divorce three years ago.

In 2007 she was accused of pandering to the BNP – a claim she described as “ludicrous” – after she told a Sunday newspaper immigration had been out of control and was making people “uneasy”.


Last year, she provoked a storm of protest by claiming electoral fraud “predominantly within the Asian community” had cost the Conservatives three seats at the general election, although she declined to name the seats in question.

On another occasion, a row erupted after she was reported as saying “Muslims that go to parliament don’t have any morals or principles”.

Her comments were made in Urdu, at a private dinner, and she said they had been misinterpreted.

“I said that the definition of a good MP is someone that stands up for their constituents and who understands the communities they represent, not necessarily someone that ticks a particular ethnic box,” she explained in a statement.

She annoyed some in her party just last week, on the day after the poor Conservative showing in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

Responding to claims that they had run a deliberately half-hearted campaign, in order to give the Lib Dems a better chance, she said: “I would say to those who are critical: ‘Unless you were here, unless you were out delivering and unless you were knocking on doors, you really don’t have a right to complain about us not being vigorous enough’.”

Some right wing commentators described it as her “nasty party” moment – referring to previous Tory chairman Theresa May’s frank party conference speech that angered much of the rank and file.

Baroness Warsi says her admiration for Conservative principles is inspired by the example of her father, who made his way from working in a mill to running a £2m-a-year bed manufacturing firm.

The 39-year-old has also worked with Pakistan’s Ministry of Law on a project to fight forced marriage.

Last year she was named one of the world’s “500 Most Influential Muslims” by Middle East think tank the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. She also topped the UK’s Muslim women power list.


9 11, 2010

‘The 500 Most Influential Muslims’ in year 2010

November 9th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre has published the 2010 edition of its book ‘The 500 Most Influential Muslims’.The Amir of tablighi Jamaat is at position 16 and he is only one of two muslims who are mentioned in this book (top 50)  and belong to Pakistan. this book can be download free from Here is the descrition give in book about amir of Tablighi Jamaat


Amir of Tablighi Jamaat, Pakistan

Leader of the Pakistan chapter of the Tablighi Jamaat—a transnational Islamic organization dedicated to spreading the message of religious conservatism and renewed spirituality—Hajji Abd al Wahhab is a prominent Pakistani scholar with a significant following in South Asia and the United Kingdom. Although the organization does not have a central authority, Abd al Wahhab has been increasingly influential in his leadership of the throngs of Muslims that follow the international movement in Pakistan and abroad.

As Amir, or leader of Pakistan’s Tablighi Jamaat, Hajji Abd al Wahhab’s influence spans globally due to the organization’s emphasis on missionary work. Considered a foremost da’ee, or inviter to the faith of Islam, Abd al Wahhab has spoken about the need to return to the correct beliefs and practices of Islam in numerous countries and congregations.

Champion of Conservatism

Abd al Wahhab urges Muslims to repent for their sins and to emulate the life of the Prophet Muhammad by adhering to the sunna—the Prophet’s teachings and deeds. Among these is an exhortation to partake in the act of da’wa or spreading the message of the faith. The Tablighi Jamaat has gradually acquired a massive membership base owing to this core tenet. Abd al Wahhab’s work is derived from close ties to the founder of the Tablighi Jamaat, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhelvi, and stems from the prominent Islamic institution Darul Uloom Deoband, in India, where the latter studied before establishing a following in Pakistan.
Mass Appeal

Among the throngs of Pakistanis, diaspora South Asians, and others who carry the flag of the Tablighi Jamaat are notable Muslim leaders. In Pakistan alone, Abd al Wahhab’s influence has won the allegiance of prominent politicians, actors, and athletes. Despite his influence over key Muslim leaders from various fields of social power, Abd al Wahhab is consistent in his assertion that the organization is wholly apolitical—identifying the work of the Tablighi Jamaat as a spiritual revivalist movement.

Advocate of Non-Violence

In light of heightened incidences of violence by fringe Islamic militant groups, Abd al Wahhab has publicly stated the importance of non-violence in bringing people closer to the faith of Islam. This comes after the tragic Mumbai attacks which investigations found were linked to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba; a militant organization Abd al Wahhab has made a point of distancing the Tablighi Jamaat from




9 11, 2010

World’s 25th Most Influential Muslim

November 9th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

Mon, 11/08/2010

The Second volume of The 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010 ranks Sheikh Salman al-Oadah at number 25. 

This is the second volume of the annual series published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman Jordan. In the first volume, published in 2009 in coperation with Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Sheikh Salman was ranked as number 19. The 2009 edition was highly popular, with its e-book version being downloaded more than 150,000 times. 

Political leaders top the list in both 2009 and 2010, with HRH King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ranking first both times. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved from the fifth to the second slot. 

There are certain significant changes. In the 2009 edition, because women were poorly represented in the 500, the editors felt the need to list “women” as a category on its own. In the 2010 edition, no such gender segregation is made. Rather, women are mentioned under various categories, like “Scholarly”, “Media”, “Youth”, and “Arts and Culture”. Moreover, there is a section on “Women’s Issues” listing those women who “have been trailblazers in their respective fields, often being the first in breaking social boundaries.” 

The book categorizes Sheikh Salman as a “Saudi scholar and educator” and describes him as an “advocate of peaceful coexistence”. 

He is seen as “increasingly influential due to his innovative reach in the Muslim world propagated via and his persistent efforts ministering to the needs of the global Muslim community.” 

“His work has far-reaching impact in an age when religion is spread through media and technology, with at the forefront of this trend.” 

The entry on Sheikh Salman al-Oadah singles out his defense of Facebook as an example of his positive influence, mentioning his response to a 2010 ruling from the Al Azhar Fatwa Committee condemning the use of Facebook. Sheikh Salman defended the social networking website, stating that he uses it to communicate with Muslims across the globe and to provide Islamic guidance online. 

Sheikh Salman has over 4,000 Facebook friends and over 11,000 fans through the site. 

The entry on Sheikh Salman also describes him as an “Innovative Educator”, saying he has “become an authority for Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide who access—a Saudi-funded website dedicated to providing Islamic educational resources in English, Arabic, French and Chinese. He also addresses Islamic issues on the Saudi satellite channel MBC.” 

Finally, Sheikh Salman is defined as an “advocate of non-violence” who is “outspoken about the importance of inculcating love and mercy as opposed to violence (except in valid cases of self-defense) in the daily lives of Muslims.”


6 10, 2010

The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World 2010

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|


Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan released a report on 500 most influential Muslims 2010. The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre is an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought is an international Islamic non-governmental, independent institute headquartered in Amman, Jordan.

For full report, click here: The 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010

(Note: I just highlight the Malaysian most influential Muslims in 6 different categories i.e. political, scholarly, administrative, preacher, science and technology and arts and culture)


Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin
The Yang DiPertuan Agong is the constitutional monarch of Malaysia, with a population of 25.9 million. He is also the Sultan of Terengganu and currently one of the youngest and longest-reigning Malay rulers. As King, he is also considered the Head of Islam.

Anwar Ibrahim
Ibrahim is a Malaysian politician of global stature. He is the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, former finance minister and is currently the leader of the Malaysian opposition coalition. He is well-known for his liberal Islamic stance on politics, and is very influential as a leader and role model for young people. Ibrahim’s coalition now controls four of 13 state governments. If led by Anwar, it would have a fair chance of winning the next national election in 2013.

Dr Wan Azizah Ismail
Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is the president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party). She was Leader of the Opposition Party until she stepped down for Anwar Ibrahim.

Najib Tun Razak
Razak became the 6th prime minister of Malaysia in 2009. He is focused on domestic economic issues and political reform, promotes economic liberalization, and has stated that Malaysia is led by Islamic principles and is not a secular state. Razak is also the president of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).


Al Akiti, Dr. Muhammad Afifi
Dr Muhammad Afifi al Akiti is a briliant young scholar, a trained theologian and philologist. He is a lecturer of Islamic studies with the Faculty of Theology at Oxford University, a KFAS Fellow in Islamic Studies, and a fellow at Worcester College. He is internationally acclaimed for his 2005 fatwa, ‘Defending the transgressed by censuring the reckless against the killing of civilians’ written in response to the 7 July London bombings, which was praised by scholars of Islam and gained a massive readership on the internet.

Al Attas, Dr Syed Muhammad Naquib
Dr al Attas is considered by many to be a scholar giant in the Muslim world. An influential philosopher and thinker, he is well-written on the traditional Islamic sciences as well as sufism, metaphysics, and philosophy. He has served at various global academic institutions as an educator and lead administrator and is also a noted calligrapher.

Kamali, Prof. Dr. Mohammad Hashim
Kamali is the world’s leading expert and author on comparative studies between Islamic and modern law. He is one of the most prolific producers of quality scholarship on Islam in the world today. Originally from Afghanistan, Kamali is a dean and professor at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) and the International Islamic University in Malaysia. Kamali is also the current Chairman and CEO of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies in Malaysia.


Nik Mat, Dato’ Haji Nick Abdul Aziz
Dato’ Haji Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat is a Malaysian politician, an Islamic scholar and has been the chief minister of the State of Kelantan for the past 20 years. He holds the position of Mursyidul Am—the religious guide—within the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). As the religious guide of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, Nik Mat is the spiritual leader of Malaysian Islamic politics and holds very important sway over the tenor of politics in the nation. Nik Mat’s fundamentalist party has close to one million members and enjoys strong support from the northern rural and conservative states such as Kelantan and Terengganu.


Ibrahim, Dato Mashitah
Ibrahim is a prominent motivational preacher in Malaysia, and a lecturer in Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia, who is now active in politics. Sultan Pahang awarded her the honorary title ‘dato’ for her devotion to da’wa initiatives in 2000. Her views and opinions on contemporary Islamic issues receive wide attention.

Science and Technology

Shukor, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar
Dr Shukor, an orthopedic surgeon by profession, became the first Malaysian in space when he was selected as one of two astronauts to be trained at Star City in Russia and subsequently selected to be the astronaut to further Malaysia’s Angkasawan program, which sent him to the International Space Station in 2007. He successfully conducted scientific experiments while in space. His launch also prompted the Malaysian National Fatwa Council to issue specific rulings regarding observance of religious obligations (praying and fasting) while in space. In 2010 Shukor was appointed as one of the ambassadors of Malaysia’s nationwide reading campaign to encourage literacy among children.

Arts and Culture

Raihan are a world famous Malaysian nasheed group with four members: Che Amran Idris, Abu Bakar Md Yatim, Amran Ibrahim and Zulfadli Bin Mustaza. Since their coming together in 1996, they have made 11 albu

6 10, 2010

The 500 Most Influential Muslims – 2010

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

This publication is the second of an annual series that provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslim world. It highlights people who are influential as Muslims, that is, people whose influence is derived from their practice of Islam or from the fact that they are Muslim. It gives valuable insight into the different ways that Muslims impact the world, and also shows the diversity of how people are living as Muslims today.

6 10, 2010

Ottawans among “world’s most influential Muslims”

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

Two Ottawa-area residents, Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef and Imam Dr. Zijad Delic, are included in this year’s listing of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims.

Imam Zijad, 45, executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, appears for the second year in a row in the 500 Most Influential Muslims study published by the independent Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Amman, Jordan.


Imam Zijad was formerly the imam of the 57,000-member British Columbia Muslim Association and is a veteran writer, commentator and speaker on issues around Muslim integration and multiculturalism.

The imam is listed in the “administration” category, while Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef features for his prominence in the field of “development”. According to the editors of the RISSC study, John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin of Georgetown University, Washington, personalities featured in this category are those who “have dedicated their lives to civic engagement, community work, activism and conflict resolution to influence communities through policy change, governance, and advocacy for sustainable development.”

Shaykh Muhammad, 35, is the founder of Al Maghrib Institute, an innovative Islamic educational institution that offers university-level instruction of Islamic studies through seminars and retreats. The youthful scholar, who was born and raised in Canada, memorized the Quran at an early age and holds a degree in Islamic Law from the Islamic University of Madina.

Shaykh Muhammad is also the founder of DiscoverU project, an online community that offers resources and life coaches for those navigating financial, financial, marital or emotional obstacles in life. He is a highly sought after teacher and public speaker.

The 2010 edition of 500 Most Influential Muslims marks the first time that CIC President Wahida Valiante – a career social worker/therapist, social justice advocate and author – has been included in the rankings.

Mrs. Valiante, a founding member of CIC, is also chairperson of the highly successful Islamic History Month Canada, which celebrates Islamic arts, science and culture in major centres across Canada every October. As one of this country’s most proactive and energetic Muslim women, she is a frequent guest speaker, panelist, consultant, or interviewee on a variety of political and social issues.

Like Imam Delic, Mrs. Valiante was singled out by RISSC researchers for extraordinary achievement in the category of administration. Canadian Muslims honoured in other fields include: Dr. Jamal Badawi (under “preachers”), Dany Doueiri (under “development”), Ingrid Mattson (“scholarship”), Zarqa Nawaz (under “arts and culture”), Faisal Kutty (under “law”) and Nazim Baksh (under “media”).

Canadians mentioned in last year’s list but not included in 2010 are: Shaykh Ahmad Kutty, Dr. Mohammad ElMasry, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Hamid Slimi, Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Amin Amir and Kanaan Warsame.

For a copy of the study, visit:

6 10, 2010

IIUI president among 500 most influential Muslims

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|\09\30\story_30-9-2010_pg11_9

IIUI president among 500 most influential Muslims

ISLAMABAD: Prof Dr Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, president of the International Islamic University Islamabad has been named among the 500 `Most Influential Muslims of the year 2010’ by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center. 

This Centre is an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. 

The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought is an international Islamic non-governmental, independent institute headquartered in Amman, Jordan. 

The Center has published the third edition of its book entitled: “The 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010”. This publication provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslim world. 

It highlights people who are influential as Muslims, that is, people whose influence is derived from their practice of Islam or from the fact that they are Muslim. 

It gives valuable insight into the different ways that Muslims impact the world, and also shows the diversity of how people are living as Muslims today.

The book states, “Siddiqui is the president of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, a school aiming to produce scholars and practitioners able to use their Islamic learning to meet the economic, social, political, and intellectual needs of the ummah”. 

This is a singular honour not only for the President but for the University itself as it feels proud that it is led by a renowned personality of the Muslim world. 

Dr Siddiqui’s association with the International Islamic University dates back to its founding years as he has been entrusted with several important and strategic assignments from time to time during the past 25 years.

Under his supervision, the university has expanded in many directions in way of setting up of academic Departments, introduction of qualified Faculty, growth of the University budget, growth of infrastructure and all resulting in the growth in the enrollment of students, thus bringing it to the position of the third largest public sector university of the country. app

6 10, 2010

Dr. Siddiqui, President IIUI in the 500 Most Influential Muslims

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

Prof. Dr. Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, President of the International Islamic University, Islamabad which is currently celebrating its Silver Jubilee, has been named amongst the 500 most influential Muslims of the year 2010 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center. This Centre is an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought is an international Islamic non-governmental, independent institute headquartered in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The Center has published the third edition of its book entitled: “THE 500 MOST INFLUENTIAL MUSLIMS 2010”. This publication provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslim world. It highlights people who are influential as Muslims, that is, people whose influence is derived from their practice of Islam or from the fact that they are Muslim. It gives valuable insight into the different ways that Muslims impact the world, and also shows the diversity of how people are living as Muslims today.

The Citation as follows:

6 10, 2010

Suhaib Webb

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

September 31, 2009 | The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center

“The 500 Most Influential Muslims | 2010”

“Imam Suhaib Webb is a student at Al Azhar University in Egypt and has subsequently come to prominence as a young American preacher and activist from Oklahoma. He has a substantial following of Muslim youth who visit his website and attend his lectures in throngs due to his unique appeal and moderate approach to Islam…”

Read more…

6 10, 2010

Harun Yahya

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre”, which is an international research organization based in Jordan, published a book that compiled the most influential Muslims of the year 2010. In the work titled “The Most Influential 500 Muslims of 2010” Mr. Adnan Oktar was introduced as the Authority on Islamic Creationism”in the 45th rank. In the publication that the author was introduced as “The Leader of Scientific Movement” these lines was reported

Influence: The world’s foremost authority on Creationism and Islam, has a huge fan base of more than 1.6 million people.

Writing under the pen name Harun Yahya, Adnan Oktar has gained international prominence as a spokesperson for creationism but also garners influence from his numerous and extensively distributed publications about Islam, and Islamic children’s books. He is vocal about his stance against Darwinism and materialism and he is outspoken on the necessity to implement these ideas on the west.

Prominent Pro-Creationist

6 10, 2010

Dr.Farhat Hashimi

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

This List of 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010 is the second of the annual series which highlights people who are influential as Muslims, published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, in Amman, Jordan.

The book lists the 500 most influential people in the Muslim world, breaking the people into several distinct categories. The Top 50 are only in the International Islamic Networks and Issues of the Day lists, where as the rest of the 450 leaders are categorized by their diverse fields of work and appear unranked under their country in various categories. Under the category scholarly, the scholars, thinkers, and educators have been chosen who have made significant contributions to the study and cultivation of Islamic knowledge and Muslim culture.

6 10, 2010

NZ pair among 500 top Muslims in world

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

NZ pair among 500 top Muslims in world

Two New Zealanders have been ranked among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.

Anwar Ghani, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), and Kireka Whaanga, leader of the Aotearoa Maori Muslim Association, appear alongside kings, sheikhs and preachers in the list published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC) in Jordan.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia heads the list as the world’s most influential Muslim, followed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey (2); Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran (3); King Abdullah of Jordan (4); and King Mohammed of Morocco (5).

The top 50 were ranked, with the other 450 (including Dr Ghani and Mr Whaanga) named in 10 categories: scholarly, political, administrative, lineage, preachers, women’s issues, youth, philanthropy, development and science.

Both New Zealanders appeared under the administrative category.

The RISSC website said of Dr Ghani: “His work leading FIANZ has been considerable, building bridges with the Government as well as with the broader New Zealand population and leaders of other faiths.”

Mr Whaanga led the main organisation for New Zealand’s Maori Muslims, it said.
Dr Ghani said told the New Zealand Herald he was humbled to be on the list.

“It is truly a great honour to be included and sharing the list with great Muslim kings and preachers.”

Islam is the world’s second largest religion after Christianity.
New Zealand is home to 37,000 Muslims.

6 10, 2010

Two Circles

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims: Mufti Akhtar Raza Khan, Mahmood Madani, Badruddin Ajmal included

Submitted by admin4 on 23 August 2010 – 7:55pm.

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: Among 500 Most Influential Muslims of the world, there are more than a dozen personalities from India. The top 50, however, include three known figures from the country of second largest Muslim population: Barelwi leader Mufti Akhtar Raza Khan, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind leader Maulana Mahmood Madani and Dawoodi Bohra leader Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhannuddin.

While the top 10 list, overwhelmed with the presence of kings and rulers, has no Muslim personality from India, the list of top 50 influential Muslims from across the world and walks of life has got three from India. While Mufti Akhtar Raza Khan is on 26th Maulana Mahmood Madani and Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhannuddin are on 40th and 47th rank respectively.

The list has been prepared by Oman based The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC).The website of RISSC says it is an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought is an international Islamic non-governmental, independent institute headquartered in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This is the second year that RISSC has released such list.

Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre:

Full list of 500 Most Influential Muslims:

The list of top 50 also has Grand Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Rank 3), and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Iranian Opposition Leader (Rank 46). However, Iranian president is missing. The list also includes Hajji Mohammed Abd al Wahhab, Amir of Tablighi Jamaat, Pakistan (Rank 16), Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah (Rank 18), Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Brother Leader of the Revolution of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Rank 27) and Khaled Mashaal, Leader of Hamas (Rank 38).

Top 10

His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey
His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id al Sa’id, Sultan of Oman
His Eminence Professor Dr Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad al Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of the Al Azhar University, Grand Imam of the Al Azhar Mosque
His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hussein Sistani, Marja of the Hawza, Najaf,Iraq
His Excellency President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia
His Eminence Sheikh Dr Ali Goma’a, Grand Mufti of The Arab Republic of Egypt

Indian Personalities

RISSC describes 63-year-old Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan Qaadiri Al Azhari as Grand Mufti of India, Barelwi Leader and Spiritual Guide. His influence, RISSC says, is among approximately 2 million Barkatiya Barelwis worldwide. His school of thought is traditional Sunni, Hanafi, Sufi. Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan is the leader of the Indian Barelwis and considered by his followers as the Grand Mufti of India. He is the great-grandson of Ahmed Raza Khan (d. 1921), who founded the Barelwi movement in South Asia.

46-year-old Maulana Mahmood Madani is leader and Executive Member of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, India. His influence spreads over 10 million Muslims who are “members of Madani’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. His Source of Influence is Scholarly, Political, Administrative. A little down in ranking (in 2009 at 36, and in 2010 at 40) Maulana Mahmood Madani, a leading Islamic scholar and politician in India, has gained influence for his forthright condemnations of terrorism and unfaltering support of the Indian Muslim community, says the institute.

85-year-old Dr Syedna Mohammad Burhannuddin Saheb is the 52nd Da‘i l-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras. His influence is among 1 million Dawoodi Bohras in the world. His school of thought is traditional Ismaili Shi’a, Dawoodi Bohra. He has also slipped. In 2009 he was at 45,now at 47. “Mohammad Burhanuddin Saheb is the leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community,which stems from the Ismaili Shi’a sect of Islam. As leader of the Bohras, he has been influential in the fields of education and the development of community institutions in Mumbai, India and across the globe.

The 500 Most Influential Muslims have been put in 15 categories of influence – Scholarly,Political, Administrative, Lineage, Preachers, Women’s Issues, Youth,Philanthropy,Development,Science/Technology/Medicine/Law, Arts and Culture, Media, Radicals, International Islamic Networks, and Issues of the Day.

Scholarly: Asghar Ali Engineer, Prof Sayid Ameen Mian Qaudri (in 2009, he was at rank 44
among top 50), Maulana Kalbe Sadiq (New)

Administrative: Syed Ahmad Bukhari [New]

Preachers: Dr Zakir Naik

Philanthropy: Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi [New]

Science/Technology/Medicine/Law: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

Arts and Culture: Maqbool Fida Husain, Shahrukh Khan, Allah Rakha Rahman

Asghar Ali Engineer has also been listed in the category of Issues of the Day for working among Muslims on AIDS/HIV. “The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), of which Engineer is chairman, seeks to build awareness and capacity among Muslim communities in Asia so that they may effectively respond to the growing problem of HIV/AIDS,” says RISSC.

6 10, 2010

The 99

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|,ckl

Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, creator of THE 99 superheroes, was listed again in ‘The 500 Most Influential Muslims’ list published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Jordan. THE 99 has helped put Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa back on the list for the second year in a row. 

Click to visit the RISSC website.

6 10, 2010


October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISC) of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has awarded Maldives State Minister for Islamic Affairs Shaheem Ali Saeed among the 500 most influential Muslims- 2010.

Shaheem Ali Saeed was lauded among the most influential muslims in the administrative platform in the Muslim world today.

“Saeed, is the minister of state for Islamic Affairs for the Republic of Maldives. His knowledge of Islam has provided good leadership to his ministry, especially in the drafting of regulations under the Religious Unity Act of the Maldives which, he believes, would provide a legal frame work to protect Islam. Saeed is also collaborating with the Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation to introduce a new television channel which would focus on relating Islam to the broader issues of society. He was a member of the World Islamic People’s Leadership and the Islamic Fiqh Academy in the Maldives,” said the publication.

RISC’s publication also named influential figures of various sects within Islam such as Salam Al Awdah and Aaid Al-Qarni from Muslim Brotherhood, Ali Khamanei from the Iranian Shite Rafidites, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Aal Sheikh from the orthodox Sunni Salafists in its roll of honour.

500 most influential Muslims -2010 is the second of an annual series that provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslim world.

6 10, 2010

York University

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish keynote speaker at York’s annual Inclusion Day

TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2010 − Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the Palestinian doctor who continued to advocate for Middle East peace after the deaths of three of his daughters and niece by Israeli tank shells during an incursion into Gaza, will be the keynote speaker at York University’s annual Inclusion Day − Dialoguing Across Differences.An important figure in Israeli-Palestinian relations for years, Dr. Abuelaish has received many awards including the 2010 Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award of Canada.

Born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, Abuelaish went on to become a gynecologist and obstetrician, and treated both Israeli and Palestinian patients in Israeli hospitals.

At the time of his daughters’ deaths in January, 2009, he was living in Gaza and working as a senior researcher at the Gertner Institute at the Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv. He is currently an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Before the loss of his daughters, and since then, Abuelaish’s commitment to health as a means to save lives, promote respect and human dignity and achieve societal peace has made him an eloquent proponent of coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.

“If I knew my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I would accept their loss,” Abuelaish has said. He is in the process of establishing the Daughters for Life Foundation in memory of his three beloved daughters, Bessan, Mayar and Aya, to promote health and education for girls and women in the Middle East.

Abuelaish, author of I Shall Not Hate: The Gaza Doctor’s Journey (Random House Canada, 2010), will speak to members of the York community and the public at 6pm on Wednesday, Oct. 6 about how he still yearns for peace and how, despite his terrible loss, there is no hate in his heart.

Inclusion Day at York will also include discussions, presentations and workshops about differences, including topics of race and racialization, gender expression and expectations, (dis)abilities, sexual orientation and classroom diversity. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit the Centre for Human Rights website or click here.

  • WHAT: Palestinian Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish speaking at York U Inclusion Day
  • WHEN:             Wed. Oct. 6, keynote address 6pm, book signing 7:30pm
  • WHERE: Price Family Cinema, Accolade East Building, room 102, Keele campus
  • TICKETS: Admission free. Register here.
  • MAP: Building 92 on Keele campus map

About Dr. Abuelaish:
In addition to receiving the 2010 Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award of Canada, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish has been honored with the following awards: the 2009 Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship, the 2009 Search for Common Ground Award, the 2009 Middle East Institute Award, and the 2010 Uncommon Courage Award, from the Centre for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding at Queens College, NY. He was one of three finalists for the 2009 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, the European Parliament’s award for human rights and democracy campaigners. He was also chosen as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in both 2009 and 2010 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan.

He has addressed leading governmental bodies around the world including the European Parliament, the American Congress and Canada’s House of Commons, as well as many academic institutions in Canada, the US and Europe. His story has been carried by CNN, Aljazeera International, BBC, CBC, ABC and other print and electronic media around the world.


York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 Faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.

Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 /

6 10, 2010

New Statesman

October 6th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

Earlier this year, Warsi was named one of the world’s “500 Most Influential Muslims” by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, a prestigious Middle East think tank based in Amman. Last year, she was named the UK’s most important Muslim woman in the Muslim Women Power List.

28 09, 2010

Maldives a 99.41 percent Muslim country, claims RISSC report

September 28th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

The Royal Islamic Strategic Research Centre (RISSC)’s report into the global state of Islam has described the Maldives as a 99.41 percent Muslim country.

RISSC is an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, an international Islamic non-governmental institute headquartered in the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The calculation is a collation of research by Dr Houssain Kettani – who identifies the Maldives as a 100 per-cent Muslim nation – and the Pew Research Center, a Washington-based nonpartisan research body claiming to “promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs.”

The PEW Research Centre’s Forum on Religion estimates that of the Maldives population of 395,921, 389,586 are Muslims, equating to 98.4 percent or a non-Muslim population of 6335.  The RISSC report averages the two figures and arrives at 99.41 percent, or a non Muslim population of 2335.

State Islamic Minister Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, described in the RISSC report as one of the world’s top 500 influential Muslims ‘administrative’ category, said according to the constitution of the Maldives the country was a 100 percent Muslim nation.

”The world should know the appropriate information about Maldives before publishing documents about Maldives. Everything in the Maldives is conducted in accordance with the constitution,” Shaheem said.

According to the Maldivian constitution all citizens are required to be Muslim, and the country is always described as a “100 percent” Muslim country.

In late May, famous religious scholar Dr Zakir Naik visited the Maldives and delivered a sermon in the capital Male’. During a question-and-answer session 37 year-old Mohamed Nazim stood up and declared himself “Maldivian and not a Muslim”, to which Dr Naik replied: “So 100 per-cent minus one.”

Nazim’s declaration angered the 11,000 strong crowd, and he was escorted from the venue by police and officials from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs amid calls for his execution.

After two days of religious counselling in police custody, Nazim appeared before television cameras at an Islamic Ministry press conference and gave Shahada – the Muslim testimony of belief – and apologised for causing “agony for the Maldivian people” and requested that the community accept him back into society.

Police submitted his case to the Prosecutor General’s office earlier this week, which is currently deciding whether to take the former apostate to the Criminal Court.

In July, 25 year-old air traffic controller Ismail Mohamed Didi was found hanged from the control tower of Male’ International Airport in an apparent suicide, after seeking asylum in the UK for fear of persecution over his stated lack of religious belief.

“Maldivians are proud of their religious homogeneity and I am learning the hard way that there is no place for non-Muslim Maldivians in this society,” Didi wrote in a letter to an international humanitarian organisation, dated June 23.

Maldives in RISSC’s top 500

Alongside Sheikh Shaheem, President Mohamed Nasheed features in RISSC’s list of most influential Muslims “for being one of the most environmentally conscious state leaders in the world.”

“In the earliest stages of his political career, Nasheed was imprisoned for his crticism of his country’s government and became an Amnesty Prisoner of Conscience,’’ said RISSC. ‘’Today, Nasheed has [pledged] to make the Maldives carbon-neutral within a decade by moving the country’s energy reliance to wind and solar power only.’’

Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, who visited the Maldives in May to deliver a sermon at the invitation of local NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf, was listed under ‘Media’.

RISSC described Philips as “a notable convert and Islamic scholar, Philips is founder of the virtual educational institution Islamic Online University and Discover Islam, an Islamic center based in Dubai.”

The report added that “In May 2010, Philips was the subject of a letter-writing campaign in the Maldives which condemned his preaching as a promotion of religious extremism. He was subsequently banned from entering the United Kingdom.”

Dr Naik, was also listed in the top 500 under ‘Preachers’. RISSC describes him as “an Indian public intellectual teaching about Islam. He hosts huge public events where he speaks on Islam, highlighting misconceptions and promoting understanding about the faith.”

RISSC also noted that in June 2010, “Dr Naik was banned from entering the United Kingdom due to ‘unacceptable behavour’. His public statements on terrorism and Osama bin Laden have contributed to his reputation as a controversial televangelist.”

His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, tops the list of most influential Muslims.


21 08, 2010

Australia Network News

August 21st, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

A new list of the 500 most influential Muslim people has put Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ahead of the Indonesian presdient Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The list also features scholars, scientists, women’s advocates, and some radical figures from the Muslim world. 

In its second year, there’s no change at the top of the list of 500 most influential Muslims, with King Abdullah of Saudia Arabia still at number one. 

Turkey’s prime minister Tayyip Erdogan has moved up to second place, but the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran has slipped to number three. 

He’s six places ahead of Indonesia’s Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at number 9. 

Then at 18, there’s Hasan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah. Usra Ghazi compiled the list for Jordan’s Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. 

The list also includes the ASEAN head, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, and Dr Farhat Hashmi of the NGO Al-Huda International, and the Australian scholar Waleed Aly.

20 08, 2010

The Independent – Abdul Hakim Winter

August 20th, 2010|The 500 Most Influential Muslims - 2010|

Timothy Winter: Britain’s most influential Muslim – and it was all down to a peach–and-it-was-all-down-to-a-peach-2057400.html

The theologian is considered more significant within Islam than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He tells Tom Peck why he converted

Friday, 20 August 2010

It was the sight of peach juice dripping from the chin of a teenage French female nudist that led a Cambridgeshire public schoolboy to convert to Islam. Thirty-five years later, Timothy Winter – or Sheikh Abdul-Hakim Murad, as he is known to his colleagues – has been named one of the world’s most influential Muslims.

The hitherto unnoticed Mr Winter, who has an office in Cambridge University’s Divinity Faculty, where he is the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer of Islamic Studies, has been listed ahead of the presidents of Iran and Egypt, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Mahmoud Abbas. “Strange bedfellows,” he concedes.

Tall, bookish, fair-skinned and flaxen-haired, a wiry beard is his only obvious stylistic concession to the Islamic faith.

To the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC), which is based at the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Winter is “one of the most well-respected Western theologians” and “his accomplishments place him amongst the most significant Muslims in the world”. Winter is also the secretary of the Muslim Academic Trust, director of The Anglo-Muslim Fellowship for Eastern Europe, and director of the Sunna Project, which has published the most respected versions of the major Sunni Hadith collections, the most important texts in Islam after the Qur’an.

He has also written extensively on the origins of suicidal terrorism.

According to the RISSC, the list highlights “leaders and change-agents who have shaped social development and global movements”. Winter is included because “[his] work impacts all fields of work and particularly, the religious endeavors of the Muslim world”.

In the 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010, Mr Winter is below the King of Saudi Arabia – who comes in at number one – but ahead of many more chronicled figures. He is ranked in an unspecified position between 51st and 60th, considerably higher than the three other British people who make the list – the Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi; the UK’s first Muslim life peer, Lord Nazir Ahmed, who was briefly jailed last year for dangerous driving; and Dr Anas Al Shaikh Ali, director of the

International Institute of Islamic Thought – making him, at least in the eyes of the RISSC, Britain’s most influential Muslim.

“I think that’s very unlikely,” says Winter, seated in front of his crowded bookshelves. “I’m an academic

observer who descends occcasionally from my ivory tower and visits the real world. If you stop most people in the street they’ve never heard of me. In terms of saying anything that makes any kind of sense to the average British Muslim I think they have no need of my ideas at all.”

The son of an architect and an artist, he attended the elite Westminster School in the 1970s before graduating from Cambridge with a double first in Arabic in 1983. His younger brother is the football correspondent Henry Winter. Tim says: “I was always the clever, successful one. Henry just wanted to play football with his mates. I used to tell him, ‘I’m going to make loads of money, and you’ll still be playing football with your mates.’ Now he’s living in a house with 10 bedrooms and married to a Bond girl.” (Brother Henry insists on the telephone later: “She was only in the opening credits. And it’s not as many as 10.”)

If this seems an improbable background for a leading Muslim academic, his Damascene moment on a Corsican beach is unlikelier still.

“In my teens I was sent off by my parents to a cottage in Corsica on an exchange with a very vigorous French Jewish family with four daughters,” Winter recalls. “They turned out to be enthusiastic nudists.

“I remember being on the beach and seeing conjured up before my adolescent eyes every 15-year-old boy’s most fervent fantasy. There was a moment when I saw peach juice running off the chin of one of these bathing beauties and I had a moment of realisation: the world is not just the consequence of material forces. Beauty is not something that can be explained away just as an aspect of brain function.”

It had quite an effect on him: “That was the first time I became remotely interested in anything beyond the material world. It was an unpromising beginning, you might say.

“In a Christian context, sexuality is traditionally seen as a consequence of the Fall, but for Muslims, it is an anticipation of paradise. So I can say, I think, that I was validly converted to Islam by a teenage French Jewish nudist.”

After graduating, Winter studied at the University of al-Azhar in Egypt and worked in Jeddahat before returned to England in the late eighties to study Turkish and Persian. He says he has no difficulty reconciling the world he grew up in with the one he now inhabits. “Despite all the stereotypes of Islam being the paradigmatic opposite to life in the west, the feeling of conversion is not that one has migrated but that one has come home.

“I feel that I more authentically inhabit my old identity now that I operate within Islamic boundaries than I did when I was part of a teenage generation growing up in the 70s who were told there shouldn’t be any boundaries.”

The challenge, he feels, is much harder now for young Muslims trying to integrate with British life.

“Your average British Asian Muslim on the streets of Bradford or Small Heath in Birmingham is told he has to integrate more fully with the society around him. The society he tends to see around him is extreme spectacles of binge drinking on Saturday nights, scratchcards, and other forms of addiction apparently rampant, credit card debt crushing lives, collapsing relationships and mushrooming proportions of single lives, a drug epidemic. It doesn’t look very nice.

“That is why one of the largest issues over the next 50 years is whether these new Muslim communities can be mobilised to deal with those issues. Islam is tailor-made precisely for all those social prolems. It is the ultimate cold turkey. You don’t drink at all. You don’t sleep around. You don’t do scratchcards. Or whether a kind of increasing polarisation, whereby Muslims look at the degenerating society around them and decide ‘You can keep it’.”

It is not this, though, that contributes to some young Muslim British men’s radicalism, he says, since their numbers are often made up of “the more integrated sections”.

“The principle reason, which Whitehall cannot admit, is that people are incensed by foreign policy. Iraq is a smoking ruin in the Iranian orbit. Those who are from a Muslim background are disgusted by the hypocrisy. It was never about WMD. It was about oil, about Israel and evangelical christianity in the White House. That makes people incandescent with anger. What is required first of all is an act of public contrition. Tony Blair must go down on his knees and admit he has been responsible for almost unimaginable human suffering and despair.”

He adds: “The West must realise it must stop being the world’s police. Why is there no Islamic represenation on the UN Security Council? Why does the so-called Quartet [on the Middle East] not have a Muslim representative? The American GI in his goggles driving his landrover through Kabul pointing his gun at everything that moves, that is the image that enrages people.”

Is there a similar antagonistic symbolism in the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero?

“If the mosque represented an invading power they would have every right. Muslims in America are there as legitimate citizens with their green cards, with jobs, trying to get by. They are there in humble mode.

“Would you oppose the construction of Shinto Shrines at Pearl Harbour, of which there a number? How long must the Muslims of lower Manhattan have to wait to get a place to pray five times a day? With Islam there are certain liturgical requirements. It’s not like a church that you can build on the top of a hill and say, we’ve only got to go once a week and it looks nice up there. Muslims need to pray five times a day, they can’t get the subway out and back. It should be seen as a symbol of reconciliation not antagonism.”

Last year Winter helped set up the Cambridge Muslim College, which offers trained imams a one year diploma in Islamic studies and leadership, designed to help trained imams to better implement their knowledge and training in 21st-century Britain. This year’s first graduating class have recently returned from a trip to Rome where they had an open audience with the Pope.

In an increasingly secular Britain, sociologists suggest with regularity that “football is the new religion”. Winter understands the comparison. “Football has everything that is important to religion,” he says. “Solidarity, skill, ritual, the outward form of what looks like a sacred congregation. Except it’s not about anything.” Just don’t tell his brother.

Converts to Islam

Muhammad Ali

Cassius Clay, widely considered to be one of the greatest boxers, shocked America when he revealed in 1964 that he had converted to the Nation of Islam (becoming a Sunni 11 years later) to discard the name of his ancestors’ enslavement.

Yusuf Islam

Born Steven Demetre Georgiou in London, the singer, best known as Cat Stevens, converted to Islam at the height of his fame in 1977. Two years later he auctioned all his guitars for charity and left his music career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes.

Yvonne Ridley

The British journalist was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in September 2001 having crossed the border anonymously in a burqa. After her release 11 days later, she explained that she had promised one of her captors that she would read the Koran and it changed her life. She converted to Islam in the summer of 2003.

Alexander Litvinenko

The ex-Russian agent, who fled to London, fell ill in November 2006 after being poisoned by radioactive polonium-210. Two days before his death on 23 November he told his father he had converted to Islam.