Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi
Director-General and Chief Imam, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi is a British scholar and religious leader with a research interest in Islamic philosophy, mysticism, and comparative religion. In particular, he focuses upon the concept of “love” theoretically and applies his insights as a practitioner of theology to expound upon the values and thought-system of Shi’ism and Islam on one hand and to undertake interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding through civil society engagement on the other. Fluent in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, Razawi is the Chief Imam of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society in the United Kingdom and an Associate at the Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. His work constructively engages issues of contemporary social affairs as a passionate civic member and active Muslim interlocutor at the local, national, and international levels.
Locally, besides undertaking bridge-building and engaging communities across faith and non-faith traditions, Razawi founded the first Shia-Sunni Alliance in Scotland to promote ecumenical dialogue and good-will, has partnered with twelve national charities across Scotland, and is a Global Ambassador for “Glasgow the Caring City.” Nationally, he served as an advisor on the United Kingdom’s Independent Sharia Review commission, participates as a member of the Oxfam Zakat Advisory Panel, and has frequently led prayer at national religious services including the Commonwealth service in Westminster Abbey. Internationally, Razawi is a member of multiple international organizations and non-governmental bodies including the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL), the United National global Steering Committee for the Prevention of Genocide, the Global Sustainability Network (GSN), and the advisory board of the Islamic Reporting Initiative (IRI). In April 2017, he partook in an historic private meeting at the Vatican of four senior British imams with the Pope to discuss interfaith pluralism, coexistence, and reconciliation. With years of experience in the field of minority affairs, he has also represented Muslim communities in EC countries and has since been working to support minority Christians in the Middle East.
Academically, following his studies in theology and jurisprudence, Razawi is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at Glasgow University where he is writing his doctoral thesis on the philosophical and mystical thought of 12th century Muslim scholar and poet Ibn Arabi. Razawi is also a Visiting Scholar at the Strathclyde Business School in Scotland. His work with Harvard University contributes to scholarship and practice on interfaith dialogue and sectarian de-escalation in addition to advancing research on the history and thought of religious mysticism from a comparative perspective.