Sameh Asal

IAR Imam 2008-2014

Brief Biography of Imam Dr. Sameh Asal

Imam Dr. Sameh Asal was born in Egypt in 1977. He obtained his BA in Islamic Studies in English and was a valedictorian, and earned his M.A., and Ph.D. with first-class honors in Islamic Studies in English from the renowned Al-Azhar University. Dr. Asal is also an Assistant Professor at Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He was formerly a Fulbright scholar in 2003. He also represented Al-Azhar University in Interfaith Dialogue with the Anglican Church in the UK in 2006. Dr. Asal has proactively participated in interfaith programs and in building bridges with other faith communities in the United States. All based on asserting the message of Islam and teaching others about it while offering them utmost respect and honoring their freedom of choice.

Dr. Asal started his career as an Imam in the United States, at the Islamic Association of Raleigh where he served from January 2008 through June 2014. During that period, he served the Muslim community in Raleigh and the RTP area. Dr. Asal contributed vitally to building and educating the community through daily/weekly lectures, classes, seminars, and workshops in various aspects of Islamic knowledge. He built bridges and engaged in interfaith dialogue with other faith communities. Moreover, he was deeply engaged in marital and youth counseling. Dr. Asal established a strong bond with the Muslim youth in the community and provided programs that were tailored to their needs. 

During his mission as an Imam at IAR, Dr. Asal genuinely and professionally represented his community in the Local Media where he talked about different issues related to Islam and Muslims in the United States. He was active in Da`wah and reaching out to non-Muslim neighbors while reinforcing the interfaith dialogue with leaders of different faith communities. In  June of 2014, Dr. Asal had to leave his position at IAR back to Egypt so that defended his Ph.D. thesis in Islamic Studies in English at the renowned Al-Azhar University, Cairo. 

Afterwards, Dr. Asal served as an Imam of the Islamic Association of West Virginia from May 2015 – July 2016, followed by another position in Alabama as an Imam of the Birmingham Islamic Society from August 2016 until February 2022. He also took a position as an Adjunct Professor of Arabic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham 2017 – present.  

In February 2022, Dr. Asal decided to do a unique work and serve disadvantaged Muslims as he accepted a position as the first Muslim Chaplain at the Federal Correctional Complex in Tucson, AZ, where he recently settled with his family. 

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