About Us

Riad K Ali
Founder & CEO

This project is my passion and part of a much bigger project “Encyclopedia of Muslims in America” in which all Muslim organizations will accurately write their own history

American Muslims Research & Data Center (AMRDC) strives to be the most accurate source of data on the Muslim community from the following 4 perspectives

  1. Accurately documenting the history of Muslim institutions
  2. Show the evolution and progress (phases) of Muslim’s presence in the US
  3. Show the composition of Muslim communities (ethnic background, education level, professions, etc)
  4. List “all” Islamic Institutions (past & present), their basic information and services

While some believe the arrival of Muslims in North America pre-dates the voyage of Columbus and others believe they sailed with him, no one denies that Muslims were brought by the shiploads during the seventeenth century as slaves against their will. Additionally, Muslims migrated voluntarily to this country in the late 19th and throughout the 20th century and started forming communities. It is not my intention to find out when the first Muslim stepped foot on this continent but rather, to provide researchers sufficient data to show the evolution of the Muslim presence, along with Muslim institutions, Muslim contributions during the 20th century as well as contributions made during the first fifteen years of the 21st century.

Though Muslims started immigrating to the United States in the late 18th and early 19th century, their real impact and presence was observed from the 1970s and onward. Therefore, the bulk of the history of Muslims in this country is very young and many notable Muslims that participated are still around and alive today. Since people tend to move or die and memories start to fade away, there is a great need for preserving this history as soon as possible. The Mother Mosque in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, established around 1934, is believed to be the oldest standing Mosque in North America. Currently there are about 2,600 mosques and Islamic centers, 400 Islamic schools, several universities, and numerous civil rights, relief, political, & social organizations. I believe the evolution of Muslim presence in this country passed through eleven phases or milestones in fulfillment of ten basic needs as outlined below. The historical background and accurate account of what took place throughout these years is a treasure that should be recorded and preserved.

Photos Snapped
Miles Driven
Centers & Schools Photographed


Imam Omar Suleiman Endorsement

Dr. Jamal Badawi Endorsement

Linda Sarsour Endorsement

Nihad Awad Endorsement

Mazen Mokhtar Endorsement

Sheikh Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh Endorsement

Founder Bio

Riad K Ali
Founder & CEO

This project is my passion and part of a much bigger project “Encyclopedia of Muslims in America” in which all Muslim organizations will accurately write their own history

Riad Ali was born in Al-Khadr, Palestine, eight miles away from Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, and three miles away from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Al-Khadr was a small village then but visited by tourists from all over the world. The village is known for the ancient Solomon’s Pools, previously the main source of water for Jerusalem, as well as a historic castle from the time of the Crusaders.
During his early childhood years, Ali helped with his father’s construction business. In 1982, he moved to the United States in pursuit of his education. His academic career consists of the following accomplishments:

  •  1986: BS in Electrical Engineering, Ohio University
  • 1988: MA in Mathematics, Ohio University
  • 1994: MA in Computer Science, Kent State University

Before completing his MA, Riad passed his PhD qualifying exam in computer science but had to discontinue his studies for personal reasons.

Since Riad’s arrival to the States, he has been involved with Islamic organizations like MSA, ISNA, and MAS. He held leadership positions at the local and national level. As a student, Riad coordinated and was one of those who translated “ماذا يعني انتمائي للإسلام ” (To Be a Muslim), by Fathi Yakan.

Riad has also been involved in the establishment of several Islamic centers. He worked with Dr. Ihsan Bagby on different research projects about the Muslim community. “Thanks goes out to Riad Ali – of the website Muslim Guide – who was invaluable in the mosque count,” in “The American Mosque 2011.” – January 2012 report by Dr. Bagby. In his professional life, Ali worked as a support engineer with Ericsson between the years 2000 to 2016.

Documenting the evolution of Muslim presence in this country has been Ali’s passion for the past several years and he is currently more determined than ever to carry it to fruition, insha Allah (God willing).