In Memoriam Dr. Emad Siyam and Dr. Ali Mazrui

October 8, 2013




A Tribute to the Memory of Dr. Emad Siyam
by Ibrahim Massaoudou

It has been over a year since the passing of Dr. Emad Hassan Siyam, precisely October 6, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt following a short illness.

Dr. Emad was an amiable, caring human being, dedicated, passionate about human rights and social justice, an immensely proud husband and father, a man who lived every day to its fullest, a traveler, a spiritual person, a dear friend, a respected academic and practitioner brilliant, a phenomenal listener and a trusted colleague.

Emad Siyam was Senior Fellow at the Salam Institute for Peace and Justice and contributed to its programs in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso. During his long association with Salam, his contribution to its efforts were truly immeasurable. He was a man of immense courage and humor whose ability to overcome difficulties throughout his life was an example to us all.

Salam staff, Imams, Quranic schools teachers, and project partners throughout the Sahel and Middle East will not forget his dedication and his sources of inspiration in Egypt, West Africa and Central Africa. He has conducted hundreds of community trainings on pluralism, dialogue, and human rights.

From the first days of his career, Emad was a tireless worker. He prepared his high school exams in a mosque due to the lack of space in the family home, then became an activist in the movement of Egyptian students who revolted against Sadat’s regime in the mid-1970s, he was arrested 19 times during the Sadat and Mubarak regimes and spent over 7 years of his life “in all the Egyptian prisons.” During the recent revolution, Emad was one of the protesters and organizers who occupied Tahrir Square until the regime fell. In this context, he met hundreds of people he had trained over the years. Since the late 1980s, he was an active member of Egyptian protest movements and civil society.

In tribute to him, the PDev II religious affair team salutes his memory and prays that his soul may rest in peace, Amen.

Dr. Ali Mazrui

The Salam Institute for Peace and Justice mourns the loss of Advisory Council member Dr. Ali Mazrui – one of Africa’s towering intellectuals, a compassionate father, a prolific writer, an eloquent orator, and imminent journalist and scholar. Mazrui passed away on Monday, October 13, and was buried in his family graveyard in Kenya a week later.

Professor Mazrui’s childhood ambitions to follow in the steps of his father and become a jurist in Islamic law were frustrated by his father’s death at the age of 14 and his poor test results. While working at the Mombasa Institute of Muslim Educatoin, Mazrui gave a speech in celebration of Projphet Mohammed’s birthday, which earned him a scholarship to finish his secondary and higher education in the U.K.

Professor Mazrui went on to earn an M.A. from Columbia University in 1961 and his doctorate from Oxford University in 1966 after wich he joined Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where he served as head of the Department of Political Science and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. After taking exile in 1973 during Idi Amin’s reign, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan, Binghamton University, and finally the State University of New York as the Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities and the Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies (IGCS). He also held three concurrent appointments at the University of Jos in Nigeria, Cornell University, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, in Nairobi.

In 2005, Professor Mazrui was selected as the 73rd topmost intellectual person in the world on the list of Top 100 Public Intellectuals. Mazrui’s research interests included African politics, international political culture, political Islam and North-South relations. He is author or co-author of more than twenty books. Mazrui has also published hundreds of articles in major scholastic journals and for public media. He has also served on the editorial boards of more than twenty international scholarly journals. Mazrui was widely consulted by heads of states and governments, international media and research institutions for political strategies and alternative thoughts.

Professor Mazrui commented, often critically, on the accepted orthodoxies of African intellectuals in the 1960s and 1970s, the current capitalist system, and most recently Islam and Islamism. Mazrui was the creator of the television series The Africans: A Triple Heritage – described by People Magazine “as one of the most controversial series ever seen on American television.”