Ingrid Mattson

Posted: November 28, 2011 in Converts to Islam
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


“Among Muslims throughout the world, there are many sincere pious men and women; there are also criminals and hypocrites.”

~ Ingrid Mattson

Ingrid Mattson, the sixth of seven children, grew up as a good, middle-class Roman Catholic school girl in Kitchener, Canada, a suburban community about 60 miles southwest of Toronto. She attended a Catholic girls high school and took piano lessons at the convent. Ingrid stopped attending Mass at the age of 16 after inquiring about Catholicism and spirituality to which she was given unsatisfactory answers.

Then as a determined agnostic, Ingrid Mattson went to study philosophy and the fine arts at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. Her first encounter with Muslims was in 1986, while studying in Paris. The warmth, dignity and generosity of the Muslims she met must have produced an influence in her life. “What I recognized was that, among their other wonderful qualities, they were the most naturally generous people I had ever known.” She said about the Muslims she met. She then plunged into reading of books about Islam and took classes in Arabic. In her personal study of Islam she came across Fazlur Rahman’s Islam in a bookstore. “It was his book and his encouragement that inspired me to start on the path to scholarship that I have found so rewarding,” She recalls. When she read the Qur’an, Ingrid found herself wallowed in amazement. And in 1987, as a college senior, she embraced Islam. “This religious community was giving me the framework for my spiritual experience, and so I entered into it,” she said in an interview.

After she graduated from college, she volunteered to teach Afghan women in a refugee camp of about 100,000 people in Peshawar, Pakistan. It was there where she met and married Amer Aatek, an Egyptian engineer working to install a water system in the camp. In 1989, she enrolled in the University of Chicago as a Ph.D. student and in 1999, she received her doctorate in Islamic Studies from the University. Presently, she is a professor of Islamic studies and director of Islamic chaplaincy at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. She is the head of ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), one of the largest Muslim organizations in America.

In 1995, she was an adviser to the Afghan delegation to the United Nations Commission on the status of women. In 2001, she was elected Vice-President of ISNA and in 2006 she was elected President of the organization. Dr. Mattson is the first revert to Islam and the first female to lead the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Professor Mattson is a contributor to The Muslim World Journal. She is the author of The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life [Paperback: 272 pages]. Dr. Mattson lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.

Some articles, lectures, and reviews by Ingrid Matson include:

►Respecting the Qur’an

►A call for moral leadership: Imagining a new heroism

►Comments on cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad

►Stopping oppression: an Islamic Obligation

►Faith in the Face of Terror – Multi-Faith Reflections on Meaning

►Faith, Justice and Terrorism

Among the lectures she has delivered are:

►Gender Equity-The Islamic Perspective

►Sharia in the Modern World

►Changes Within Us

►Extremism And Moderation

►Impact of Sept.11th

►What is Islamic Law (Sharia)?

►Building The Faith

Contact Information:

Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian/Muslim Relations,

77 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT 06105 USA.

Telephone: 860/509-9531,

Fax: 860/509-9539,

Email: imattson@hartsem.edu; isnapresident@isna.net

Website: http://macdonald.hartsem.edu/mattson.htm

 

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[References:  Grossman, Cathy Lynn. “The Face of Islam in America.” USA Today 21 Aug. 2007; Macfarquhar, Neil. “Putting a Different Face on Islam in America.” New York Times 20 Sept.  2006; Mattson, Ingrid. “Finding the Prophet in his People.” whyislam.org. 31 Dec. 2004.] <http://www.whyislam.org/Forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=1662&gt;; “Faculty Profiles-Ingrid Mattson.” hartsem.edu <http://www.hartsem.edu/faculty/mattson.htm&gt;; “Ingrid Mattson: What is Islam?” cnn.com 18 Oct. 2001 <http://edition.cnn.com/2001/COMMUNITY/10/18/mattson.cnna/&gt; Mattson, Ingrid. “Finding the Prophet in his People.” pbs.org. <http://www.pbs.org/muhammad/essays/mattson.html&gt;; “A Conversation with Ingrid Mattson.” Penn State Public Broadcasting Lobby Talks Series. Produced by Pennsylvania State University 12 June 2006. <http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.aspx?rID=10001&fID=345>%5D

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