Dr. Imam Imad Enchassi grew up in the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon. His experiences as a child surrounded by war and conflict have shaped his passion as an adult for promoting unity and understanding. When asked about living through the massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Enchassi says, “Sometimes, I think God exposed me to so much hatred and violence so that I can be a voice for love and peace.”
After moving to the United States at the age of seventeen, Enchassi began a long journey in education, receiving business management degrees from South Plains College and Southern Nazarene University and, then, completing his masters in management from the University of Phoenix. He used those degrees to excel in the restaurant industry as a regional director and advisor for nearly two decades.
In 2004, Enchassi made a career move, turning his previous part-time volunteering activities into a full time commitment by becoming the founder and executive director of the Mercy Education Foundation – a multi-million dollar project creating the first accredited Islamic school of Oklahoma City. During that time, he also became the founder, imam and president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City (ISGOC). In that role, he studied overseas at the Daawa University Institute and the University Institute for Islamic Studies in Lebanon, where he received his bachelors, masters and doctorate degree in Islamic Studies. In addition, he earned a certificate of “Apostolic Succession”* earned by a selected few.
Besides being the senior Imam at ISGOC, the chairman of Islamic studies and Chaplain at Oklahoma City University, an adjunct professor of Islamic studies at both Phillips Theological Seminary and St. Paul School of Theology, advisory board member of CAIR, advisory board member of Wilbery School of Religion (Oklahoma City University), Enchassi is also in charge of organizing outreach and curriculum with the Muslim and non-Muslim communities throughout the state of Oklahoma. He is a highly sought after public speaker, and he is regularly booked to address audiences at academic institutions, government functions and interfaith events to offer his expertise in Muslim principles, comparative religions, interfaith dialogue and human rights.
Among much recognition, Enchassi has received the Interfaith Alliance “Community Service Award,” CAIR “Lifetime Achievement Award”, CAIR “Inspiration Award,” Dialogue Institute “Dialogue Award,” Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice “Humanitarian Award,” Oklahoma Conference of Churches “Interfaith Award” and was named a “Visionary in Religious and Education Outreach” in The Daily Oklahoman’s Progress Edition.
* Eijazah in Quranic Recitation that goes back to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), similar to the concept of Apostolic Succession.