mran Ahmad was born in Pakistan and moved to England in the early 1960s at the age of one, growing up in London. He was lucky enough to attend a boy’s grammar school, but too lazy to get the grades he needed to get into medical school. Instead, he ended up at Stirling University in Scotland, studying Chemistry, learning about Islam, and trying to impress women. Ultimately he was quite successful in Chemistry and became quite knowledgeable about Islam as well, but he failed to impress any women -
despite having an Alfa Romeo and a microwave oven (quite possibly the only privately-owned microwave on campus at that time).
Halfway through a PhD in Chemistry, Imran realized that there was more to life than test tubes in a laboratory. This happened because he spent too much time staring out of the window, looking at what other people were doing. Rather like going to a travel agent, he went to the university careers office and started reading recruitment brochures. Some of these had pictures of people in business suits, travelling around the world having meetings and lunches. This looked like fun to him; he was interested in the free lunches, but he wasn't sure what the people in suits actually did.
President Obama’s inauguration speech, in which he mentioned a new era of ‘mutual respect’ between America and the Muslim world, inspired Imran to do something to contribute (especially as he’d just been laid off and was lying on the sofa anyway). He immediately went up to his study, pulled open a map of the United States, plotted a circular route around the entire country, and set about contacting potential hosts in each city. He thus organized a US speaking tour, and in mid-March he embarked upon it – driving 13,934 miles in a hybrid car, with 41 events in 39 cities. This extraordinary experience and the extremely positive responses from American audiences established Imran as a natural communicator and humorous, insightful speaker. (But the manager at Hertz had such a pained look on her face when Imran answered her question about the return mileage.) Imran did this again in 2012, to coincide with the launch of the American version of his book.
Imran’s main theme is ‘re-humanization’ in the way that we deal with other parties. He weaves an intricate and compelling narrative of personal experiences which touch upon many subject areas: English Literature, sociology, religion, international relations, global politics, modern history – told in a compelling, humorous and human way which keeps his audiences spellbound.
At university … he failed to impress any women – despite having an Alfa Romeo and a microwave oven (quite possibly the only privately-owned microwave on campus at that time).
Imran’s (possibly heretical) view is that what religion (or non-religion) you follow is far less important than how it makes you feel inside (peace-compassion-joy or arrogance-superiority-hatred) and how you treat other people.
He has appeared on BBC television, Sky television, SBS television (Australia), Voice of America television, Press TV, National Public Radio, BBC radio (many times), Radio Australia, and ABC Radio National (Australia).
Imran currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Yes, he’s single. He is only interested in a woman who is intelligent, educated, vivacious and independent – and will challenge him, not bring him tea.) He is an accredited feminist (Maclean’s magazine – does that count, it’s Canadian?).
a Muslim boy meets the West