Dr. Maher Hathout

Senior Adviser

For the past 40 years, Dr. Maher Hathout has served as a leading spokesperson for the American Muslim community, is a retired physician best known for his tireless commitment to public service. He is an international figure who is highly regarded as a positive voice of Islam offering a unique and valuable perspective on national and international issues involving Muslims.

Born in Egypt in 1936, Dr. Maher Hathout has been an activist and a pioneer dedicated to the cause of freedom and Islam since his childhood. Raised in the footsteps of his older brother Dr. Hassan Hathout, Dr. Maher was active in the student campaign to oppose the British occupation and military dictatorship in Egypt and was subsequently imprisoned for a total of almost five years in Egypt's most brutal jails. Following his departure from Egypt in 1968, he relocated to Kuwait for a few years before he and his family decided to move to the United States.

In 1971, Dr. Hathout arrived in Buffalo, NY where he served as a cardiologist and became an active member of the local Muslim community. In 1977, he moved once again to Los Angeles, where his brother Dr. Hassan Hathout later joined him at the Islamic Center of Southern California. One of the most progressive mosques in the country -- the ICSC had a woman on its board of directors in 1952 -- the Islamic Center became a vehicle for a vision of Islam in America that is rooted in what Dr. Hathout called the definition of home: "Home is not where my grandparents are buried but where my grandchildren will be raised." Dedicated to teaching Islam through the lens of critical thinking - a central message of the Quran - Dr. Hathout has taught thousands of students and empowered countless American Muslims to embrace their American Muslim identity and work for the integration of Islam and Muslims into our nation's pluralism.

Rooted in that central idea, Dr. Hathout went on to work with the founders of the Center to launch a series of pioneering projects and organizations, including the first-ever co-ed Muslim Youth Group, the Islamic Information Service that produced a nationally televised weekly program on Islam, The Minaret magazine, the New Horizon School system, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. At the same time, he was among the pioneers of interfaith engagement within the American Muslim community, helping found the Religious Coalition Against War in the Middle East with Rev. George Regas and Rabbi Leonard Beerman in 1991. He was also the first Muslim chairman of the Los Angeles Interfaith Council. For his tireless efforts in the cause of mutual understanding and pluralism, he has been recognized by the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, the South Coast Interfaith Council and the Islamic Society of North America.

Since co-founding MPAC in 1988, Dr. Hathout has had the opportunity to meet with George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II and several other prominent world figures. In 2000, Dr. Hathout was the first American Muslim invited to deliver the invocation at the Democratic National Convention. Dr. Hathout has been invited to Capitol Hill and the State Department several times to address a variety of topics such as “Islam and U.S. Policy,” “Islamic Democracy,” “Emerging Trends in Islamic Movements,” and “the Future of the Middle East.” He has traveled to Australia, Egypt, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan, and South Africa to lecture on Islam and Muslims.

He is also a Charter Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the western partner of the Council on Foreign Relations, served on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Alliance, and was the Chair of the Islamic Center of Southern California and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.

Dr. Hathout has written extensively on Islam, human rights, democracy, Middle East politics, and Bosnia. He is the author of three books - "Jihad vs. Terrorism" (2002), "In Pursuit of Justice: The Jurisprudence of Human Rights in Islam" (2006), and "Islam 2.0: Conversations with New Muslim Generations" (2009).

Over the years, he has appeared frequently on major media outlets, including CNN, the BBC, Al-Jazeera, ABC, and Fox News. His op-eds have appeared in such prominent newspapers as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor.

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