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Imam Yahya Hendi

Pioneering Muslim Chaplain and Interfaith Leader

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Date of Birth:



Kefl Hares, West Bank, Palestine

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Bridging Faiths, Fostering Dialogue

Brief bio

Imam Yahya Hendi is recognized for his pioneering role as the first full-time Muslim chaplain at an American university (Georgetown University) and for his extensive efforts in promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding. Born in the small village of Kefl Hares in the West Bank, Hendi's journey from a deeply rooted Palestinian family to an influential figure in religious and interfaith circles in the United States and beyond is a testament to his commitment to education, faith, and the bridging of cultures.

Major Milestones


  • Established as the first full-time Muslim chaplain at an American university: Imam Hendi took up the role at Georgetown University, marking a significant step in the representation and support of Muslim communities in academic settings (Berkley Center) .

  • Promoted interfaith dialogue and understanding: He founded Clergy Beyond Borders and Imams for Universe, Dignity, Human Rights, and Dialogue, organizations aimed at fostering peace and understanding across different faiths (Berkley Center) .

  • Received the “James Gettemy Significant Ministry Award” from Hartford Seminary in 2002: This award recognized his dedication to ministry and efforts to promote peacebuilding between members of different faiths .

  • Honored by the FBI in 2009: For his work fighting terrorism, drugs, and violence in America, showcasing his commitment to societal welfare beyond religious boundaries .

  • Named among the world’s 500 most influential Muslims: In 2012, for his work as an interfaith dialogue activist and trainer, highlighting his impact on the global stage (WRMEA) .

  • Creation of the Yarrow Mamout Mosque at Georgetown: This provided a fully functioning space for all students, serving his vision of strong interfaith understanding, dialogue, diversity, and relationships (WRMEA) .

  • Educational and spiritual leadership: Beyond his chaplaincy, Hendi has been an imam in various locations, including the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and the Islamic Society of Frederick, MD, contributing significantly to the spiritual and communal life of Muslims in the United States (WRMEA) .

  • Pioneering interfaith initiatives: His leadership in establishing and promoting organizations dedicated to interfaith dialogue has encouraged similar efforts in Muslim and Arab countries (WRMEA) .

  • Advocacy for informed understanding of Islam: Through his educational efforts, Hendi has worked to correct misconceptions about Islam, emphasizing its values of logic, freedom, and tolerance (WRMEA) .

  • Cultural and social activism: His engagement in various platforms, including delivering the first-ever commencement speech by an imam at a public college in the US, highlights his commitment to inclusiveness, racial, and social justice (WRMEA) .

Date of Last Update: 
May 9, 2024

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