Imam Abdur Rahim Ali is the leader of the Northeast Denver Islamic Center. I was introduced to him by Rabbi Adam Morris, whom I had on less than a month ago. These interviews are part of an ongoing periodic examination I do exploring different faith communities, and serve the overall mission of this show by providing insight into worlds we may not always experience, understand, or sometimes take for granted.
I’ll admit I was nervous before this interview, but only because I wanted to make sure I did right by Imam Ali. I knew very little of Islam before chatting with Imam Ali, and I feel much more knowledgeable after our conversation. He’s good enough to take me through the tenets and principles of the faith, a bit of its history, the rise of the Nation of Islam in the 60s and 70s, and dealing with a challenging cultural media narrative surrounding Islam in the 2000s.
Imam Ali is knowledgeable, thoroughly ingratiating, very personable, and disarmingly funny. I’m not sure what I expected going into this chat, but left with a feeling of warmth and gratitude for our time together. I can tell you I didn’t expect to talk about the 1969 Chicago Cubs or what Muhammad Ali was like away from the cameras (The Greatest of All Time was married to Imam Ali’s cousin Khalilah), but we certainly covered those topics as well. It’s a very easygoing listen.
If you, like me, don’t know much about Islam, I think you’ll enjoy this episode immensely. I cherish the connection I made here, and hope you’ll enjoy listening to our conversation as much as I did having it.