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Jihad Turk

Jihad Turk, the Director of Religious Affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California, has dedicated himself to improving the relations between the Muslim community and other faith traditions here in Southern California. Having been born to a Muslim-Palestinian father and a Christian-American mother in Phoenix Arizona, Jihad spent his college years traveling the Muslim world and exploring his roots and the Islamic tradition. He spent time in both the Islamic University of Medina where he studied Arabic and Islamic Studies and to Iran where he studied Farsi at the University of Tehran and in Qum. He completed his undergraduate study at the University of California, Berkeley where he received his B.A. degree in History and Arabic.


Jihad TurkJihad TurkAfter marrying his wife Anjum in 1995, Jihad went on to complete his Master's degree at the University of Texas, Austin in Arabic and Islamic law and jurisprudence. Jihad and his wife have been in Southern California since 1999. He is currently on staff as adjunct faculty at UCLA, Southwestern Law School, and the Claremont School of Theology where he teaches courses on Arabic, Islamic Law, History, and Theology and is working to complete his Ph.D. at UCLA in Islamic Studies.

Jihad has been serving as the Religious Director at the Islamic Center of Southern California since 2005. In addition to serving the religious needs of his community, Jihad focuses much of his attention on interfaith work. He has organized many interfaith events including an annual interfaith 9-11 memorial held at the Islamic Center. He is currently serving as president of the Wilshire Center Interfaith Council, which sponsors, among other events, an annual interfaith trip to the Holy Land. Having served in March 2006 and October 2007 as one of the religious leaders on that trip, Jihad is scheduled to lead a new group of Christians, Jews, and Muslims on a similar pilgrimage in March 2012.

Jihad has twice accompanied Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge to France for conferences focusing on the integration of ethnic and religious minorities in our respective societies and was featured in a documentary produced by the Annenberg Foundation's Explore.org about the Abrahamic faiths, entitled "Traveling with Jihad."

Together with an Episcopal Priest, Jihad founded and currently sits as co-chair of the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group, a group comprised of major Christian and Muslim denominations and organizations intent on understanding each other and working together on common goals. He is also a religious director at the University of Southern California advises and serves the needs of the Muslim students on campus.

In addition to hls role on the national advisory board of the Levantine Cultural Center, Jihad sits on the board of a Muslim-Jewish peace organization, the Salaam Shalom Educational Foundation, which is developing a model for education that nurtures understanding and peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. Jihad has received awards for his religious leadership by Congresswoman Jane Harmon, the Valley Interfaith Council, and the South Coast Interfaith Council and has been acknowledged as a Local Hero in 2008 by the World Festival of Sacred Music.