Oral History Interview with Nadir Ahmad on July 29, 2020 and August 28, 2020


Oral History Interview with Nadir Ahmad on July 29, 2020 and August 28, 2020



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Ahmad, Nadir


Sadid, Abdul-Zahir; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Nadir Ahmad. The first segment of the interview was conducted by Abdul-Zahir Sadid on July 29, 2020, and the second segment was conducted by Dr. Alisa Perkins on August 28, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Abdul-Zahir Sadid. Both segments are in the same video file. Nadir Ahmad was born on September 26, 1949 on a farm in Virginia where his father was a sharecropper. Ahmad first came to Islam via the Nation of Islam in 1973, after his brother introduced him to the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Later, he embraced Sunni Islam. Ahmad had his first experience as an educator in his early adulthood, when he served as an instructor in the military. In 1978, Ahmad co-established an Islamic private school in Petersburg, Virginia. Ahmad moved in Detroit, Michigan in 1980 to study Islam and Arabic at the Muslim World Studies Program at Wayne County Community College with Dr. Abdulmumin Shakir. Ahmad taught at the Clara Muhammad School in Detroit, where he later served as assistant principal and then principal. In 1991, Ahmad founded Al-Ikhlas Training Academy in Detroit, and he currently continues to lead the school. In the interview, Ahmad describes the history and mission of Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, the challenges it has confronted over the years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and his lifelong work as an imam and educator.

Date of Interview

Summer 2020

Location of Interview

Detrioit, MI (Interview conducted over Zoom)


African-American History African-American Muslims Muhammad Ali Al-Ikhlas Training Academy Arabic Language Education ‘Bilalian News’ Canton Clara Muhammad Schools COVID-19 pandemic Detroit Education Fundraising Hamtramck High school graduation Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad Elijah Muhammad Islam Islamic parochial school Jaratt Masjid Al-Ikhlas Masjid Muath Bin Jabal Imam Warith Deen Mohammed Mosque Muslims Muslim World Studies Program Nation of Islam Petersburg Poetry writing Religious leadership Scholarships Dr. Abdulalim Abdullah Shabazz El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz Sharecropper farming Dr. Abdulmumin Shakir Temple No. 1 Vietnam Virginia United States Military University of Islam Wayne State University Wayne County Community College Women’s roles in Islam Malcolm X


African American Studies | Africana Studies | American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Digital Humanities | Education | Inequality and Stratification | Islamic Studies | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Religion | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted online over Zoom by Ayesha Cook, written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook; facilitated by Dr. Alisa Perkins and Ismaeel Dhul-Qarnayn. Transcribed by: Melanie Leary and Dr. Alisa Perkins. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Video Edited by: Dr. Nathan L.M. Tabor



Document Type


Rights Statement

Dream of Detroit Interviews were made possible by funding from the Pillars Grant and Whiting Foundation. Content is for educational purposes only and non-reproducible; interviews are not to be duplicated, but may be linked through ScholarWorks with appropriate attribution. Please direct any questions about copyright to scholarworks@wmich.edu.


Pillars Fund and Whiting Foundation


Dream of Detroit

Length of Video


Oral History Interview with Nadir Ahmad on July 29, 2020 and August 28, 2020