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2018 Chautauqua Season

Interfaith Friday: Khalid and Sabeeha Rehman

Jun 29, 2018 2:00pm ‐ Jun 29, 2018 3:30pm



Khalid Rehman, M.D. is a physician, born and raised in Pakistan, who came to the U.S. in 1969, becoming a citizen of the USA in the mid nineteen-eighties. 

Having earned his board certification in internal medicine and hematology/oncology, and after completing his medical residency in 1974, Dr. Rehman joined the staff of a teaching hospital in Staten Island, New York, where he went on to serve as Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology. Active in organized medicine, he served as the President of the Richmond County Medical Society and the Academy of Medicine of Richmond County. He joined the Board of Directors of the local Visiting Nurse Association and the American Cancer Society, and is currently on the faculty of the New York Medical College.

As a board member of the Muslim Majlis of Staten Island, Khalid helped to establish a mosque there, engaging in interfaith dialogue with community and faith organizations to increase the awareness about Islam, and serving as a de facto chaplain at his Catholic hospital. He reached out to the Staten Island Advance, a local newspaper, and started writing a weekly column on Islam, a task that he carried on for almost 10 years. Founder of the Pakistani Cultural Association of Staten Island, he also joined the board of Project Hospitality, a ministry to serve the poor and the homeless on Staten Island.

Now retired, he spends most of his time in interfaith activities, giving talks and lectures on Islam, and travelling all over the U.S., along with attending church and synagogue services to learn about the other two Abrahamic faiths. 

Chautauquans for 7 years, he and his wife Sabeeha have been presenting their enormously popular week-long course, Islam 101, at Chautauqua for the Department of Religion for three years. When they are not at Chautauqua, they live in New York City. 

Sabeeha Rehman was born and raised in Pakistan, and came to the United States in 1971. Her 25-year career as a hospital executive spanned hospitals in New York, New Jersey, and Saudi Arabia. When her grandson Omar was diagnosed with autism, she left her career as a healthcare executive and devoted herself to serving families affected by autism. In 2008 she co-founded the National Autism Association New York Metro chapter and served as its President from 2008-2011. www.nationalautismny.org

In the early 1980s, in the absence of a Muslim community, Sabeeha and her husband Khalid were faced with the daunting challenge of raising their two young boys in their Islamic Faith. With time running out, she and her husband began the work of establishing a Muslim community on Staten Island, which culminated in the building of a mosque and a Sunday school for children.

Ms. Rehman has spent the last several decades engaging in interfaith dialogue with faith communities. She volunteered as the Director of Interfaith Programs at the American Society for Muslim Advancement; served as the Chief Operating Officer at The Cordoba Initiative, a multi-faith organization; and is a board member of the Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee. During 2017 she gave over one hundred talks at houses of worship, libraries, academic institutions, and community organizations.

Sabeeha is the author of the memoir, Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim. The book received Honorable Mention in Spirituality in the 2017 San Francisco Book Festival Awards. In 2016 it was listed as one of the Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Books by Booklist, and in 2017 was also one Booklist’s Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction Books. Excerpts of the book have been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Salon.com, and she is a contributor to the Houses of Worship column of the Wall Street Journal. She blogs on topics related to the Pakistani immigrant and American Muslim experience at www.sabeeharehman.com

Chautauquans for 7 years, Sabeeha and her husband Khalid have been presenting their enormously popular week-long course, Islam 101, at Chautauqua for the Department of Religion for three years.  When they are not at Chautauqua, they live in New York City.


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