Omid Safi is the co-chair of the steering committee for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He is an assistant professor of Islamic Studies at Colgate University, in Hamilton, NY. He specializes on Islamic mysticism, contemporary Islamic thought, and medieval Islamic history.
Omid was born in the US, but has spent half of his life living in various Muslim countries, such as Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and India. His family originally comes from the city of Esfahan in Iran. His understanding of religion is shaped both by the pluralistic Sufi dimension of Islam as well as the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Having witnesses the Iranian revolution and the horrors of the Iran-Iraq war personally, Omid is deeply committed to exploring possibilities of nonviolent struggle within the Islamic tradition.
Omid has been nominated four times at Colgate for the "Professor of the Year" award, and before that twice at Duke University for the Distinguished Lecturer award.
He is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2003). In this volume, he brought together fifteen Muslim scholars and activists to imagine a new understanding of Islam which is rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious/ethnic pluralism. His work Islam and the Politics of Knowledge, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, is currently under review. He is also finishing two works dealing with Islamic mysticism: his translation of 'Ayn al-Qudat Hamadani's Tamhidat is forthcoming from Classics of Western Spirituality series at Paulist Press. His translation and analysis of Rumi's biography is forthcoming from Fons Vitae.