Oral History Interview with Imam Saleem Khalid on August 20, 2020

Oral History Interview with Imam Saleem Khalid on August 20, 2020



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Khalid, Imam Saleem


Cook, Samayyah; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Imam Saleem Khalid conducted by Samayyah Cook on August 20, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Samayyah Cook. Imam Saleem Khalid was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His parents, who hailed from Tennessee and Illinois, moved to Michigan in the 1940s. Imam Khalid grew up attending a Baptist church with his family, and frequented weekend religious school. After graduating from Kalamazoo Central High school, Imam Khalid continued his education at Kellogg Community College and Wayne State University. He then moved to Detroit to take a position with Standard Federal Saving, where he developed a specialization in business and financial consulting, eventually becoming the organization’s first African American Vice President. Imam Khalid reverted to Islam in the 1970s, inspired by the example of an influential Muslim American family in Detroit. He began attending Masjid Al-Mu'mineen in Virginia Park. With this religious re-orientation, Imam Khalid changed his career to one in which he could serve economically disadvantaged communities. Imam Khalid became Executive Director for the Detroit Alliance for Fair Banking, and devoted himself to ameliorating the effects of the city’s legacy of redlining. Imam Khalid also served as the Executive Director of New Detroit, helping organize a response to the 1967 Detroit Uprising, and facilitating conversations between Black and white community leaders. After devoting himself to the study of Islam over many years, Imam Khalid became a prominent teacher who is frequently called upon to lecture at area mosques. Imam Khalid now leads the Muslim Enrichment Project (MEP), where he works to help facilitate the integration of Michigan-area Muslim integration into their local Muslim communities. In the interview, Imam Khalid discusses his long-term work toward dismantling systemic racism in the Detroit community as a religious leader and through his career. He celebrates the many organizations in Detroit that are promoting community development, including Dream of Detroit, Dar Al-Rahma, and Al-Ikhlas Training Academy.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Interview conducted over Zoom)


African American Clergy Council, African-American community, African-American history, African-American leadership, African-American Muslims, Imam Nadir Ahmad, Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, Alexandria, Shaykh Ali Suleiman Ali, Ann Arbor, Ansar Collective, Dr. Ihsan Bagby, Baptist Christianity, Baptist church, Baptist Pastors Council, Basketball, Bible school, Bid whist, Big Three, Birmingham, Busboys and Poets, Canton, Imam Mohamad Jawad Chirri, Chrysler Group LLC, Comerica Incorporated, Community building, Community program, Community Reinvestment Act, Consultant, Conversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, Dar Al-Rahma, Data processing, Detroit, Detroit Alliance for Fair Banking, Detroit Uprising of 1967, Director of Economic Development, Director of Economic Equity, Dream of Detroit, Education, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Essential workers, Medgar Evers, Executive Director, Factory work, Fair Housing Act, Family, First Federal Bank, Flint, Ford Motor, Foundry work, Friday sermon, Fundraising, General Motors Company, Ghana, Grand Rapids, the Great Migration, H. Rap Brown, Hadith, Osman Hassanein, Hillcrest Elementary School, Home healthcare, Housing rehabilitation, Illinois, Imam's role in America, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), Interest, Interfaith relations, Intergenerational relations, International travel, Interracial relations, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic banking, Islamic Center of Detroit (ICD), Islamic parochial school, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), Joy Road, Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Central High School, Kellogg Community College, Tahira Hassanein Khalid, Khutbah, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nafeesa Mahdi, Malcolm X, Management training, Manufacturers Bank, Masjid Al-Mu'mineen, Mentorship, Michigan, Michigan Imam's Council, Middle East, Mortgage lending, Mosque, Multi-ethnic Muslim community, Muslim Americans, Muslim community, Muslim Community of the Western Suburbs (MCWS), Muslim Enrichment Project (MEP), Muslim Islamic Academy, Muslim podcast, Muslims, Muslims for American Progress, Nation of Islam (NOI), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Bank of Detroit, National Lawyers Guild, Neighborhood revitalization, New Detroit Inc., Nigeria, Operation Get Down, Pakistan, Prophet Muhammad, Qatar, Qur'an, Racism, Redlining, Religious leadership, Residential segregation, Reversion to Islam, Riba, Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree, Saginaw, Scholarship program, School segregation, Segregation, The Honorable Adam A. Shakoor, Shia Islam, Sister Clara Muhammad Schools, Social justice, Software development, South Junior High School, Standard Federal Savings, Summer religious school, Sunday school, Sunni Islam, Systemic racism, Tablighi Jamaat, Tennessee, Tennessee State University, Thirty-Sixth District Court, Toyota Motor Corporation, Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Underserved neighborhoods, United Arab Emirates, United Auto Workers (UAW), United States Congress, University of Kentucky, University of Medina, University of Michigan, Ummah, Urban poverty, Vice President, Vietnam War, Virginia, Virginia Park, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Washington D.C., Wayne County, Wayne State University, Weekend religious school, Shaykh AbdulKarim Yayha, Mayor Coleman Young


Africana Studies | American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Digital Humanities | Inequality and Stratification | Islamic Studies | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Religion | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted online over Zoom by Samayyah Cook. Written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Samayyah Cook. Facilitated by Dr. Alisa Perkins. Video Edited by: Jayden Sibley. Transcribed by: Inez Mendez. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata by: Hannah Cole. Metadata edited by Dr. Alisa Perkins and Sophia Wimberley.



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 Imam Saleem Khalid on August 20, 2020