Suhaib Webb

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Suhaib Webb.

Who is Suhaib Webb?

Suhaib Webb, an American Muslim Imam, embraced Islam in 1992 after converting from Christianity. He formerly served as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC).

Suhaib’s life

Born as William Webb in 1972 in Oklahoma to a Christian household, Suhaib Webb hailed from a family deeply
rooted in Christianity, with a grandfather holding the role of a preacher. His religious fervor waned at the age of 14, leading him into a self-professed spiritual struggle.   Alongside this internal conflict, he veered towards delinquency, affiliating himself with a local gang and immersing himself in the local hip hop scene as a DJ and producer, collaborating on music projects with various artists.

Suhaib’s education

Following his conversion to Islam in 1992, Webb departed from his DJ career and pursued studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education. Additionally, he underwent private instruction under a Senegalese Sheikh, delving into   Islamic teachings and Arabic, eventually establishing himself as a community leader in Oklahoma City. He assumed the role of an Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City. Concurrently, Webb commenced teaching at Mercy School, an Islamic institution serving students from kindergarten through 12th grade in Oklahoma City. Furthermore, he acquired a degree in Islamic Law from Al Azhar                    University.

Suhaib’s career

For a decade now, Webb has actively contributed to the Muslim   American Society and its youth department. His involvement began when he participated in the society’s scholarship program, which facilitated his journey to Egypt for intensive Arabic language acquisition and focused studies in Islam. Webb is a prolific speaker, frequently delivering lectures in both the United States and Malaysia, covering topics related to contemporary Muslim issues. He also creates recorded lecture series addressing various aspects of Islam. Following his graduation from Al-Azhar, he relocated to Santa Clara in the San     Francisco Bay area, where he collaborated with the Muslim American Society Office and the Muslim Community Association. On December 1, 2011, Webb assumed the esteemed position of imam at the Islamic   Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC), a significant Islamic institution in New England, marking a pivotal moment in his leadership journey.

Suhaib’s rputation

Per a UK government strategy report, senior officials within nine major Whitehall departments regard Webb, alongside figures like Hamza Yusuf and Amr Khaled, as a prominent moderate leader for mainstream   Muslims. They advocate for increased support for these leaders in guiding Muslims in the Western context. Additionally, Webb earned recognition in 2010 as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims worldwide by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. Furthermore, his website, SuhaibWebb.com, received the esteemed “Blog of the Year” award from the 2009 Brass Crescent Awards. His impactful online presence also led to him winning the title of “Best Muslim Tweeter” in 2010.

Perspectives and achievements

Webb participated in a trip to Auschwitz with a group of imams in 2010, a journey that prompted him to
publicly denounce Holocaust-denial and anti-Semitism. He actively contributed to raising $20,000 for the widows
and children of firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks. Engaged in initiatives countering militants and religious extremists, he advocates for more effective strategies in combating their ideologies. Additionally, Webb champions grassroots Muslim activism as a catalyst for societal change. He advocates for an interpretation of   Islam in the American context, one that aligns with the Quran and
Islamic law while embracing the nation’s customs and culture. He has vocally opposed radical clerics who prey on
vulnerable youth and their   American identities, emphasizing the need to protect them from influences like
al-Awlaki who exploit their experiences. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Webb condemned the
radical nature of the acts  and joined interfaith clergy in prayer for unity, urging collaboration to foster
a harmonious society that values both commonalities and differences while working collectively for the greater good.

contentious matters

In 2007, Webb authored an article characterizing homosexuality as an “evil inclination” and advised a potential
gay convert to seek treatment for what he referred to as “problems” . However, he later reassessed his stance
on the issue, acknowledging that while he views homosexuality as a sin, he recognizes the constitutional right
for everyone to pursue marriage. Webb has also allowed contributions from members of the   LGBTQ+
community on his website, emphasizing the need for a shift in the community’s approach to addressing this matter.

On April 19, 2013, Webb was replaced as the representative of Boston’s   Muslim community at an interfaith
service honoring the victims of the   Boston Marathon bombing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, by Governor
Deval Patrick’s office, without specifying the reasons. Despite this, Webb attended the service from the pews along with other prominent imams. Nasser Wedaddy, director of civil rights outreach for the American Islamic Congress and chair of the
New England Interfaith Council, replaced Webb in this role.

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