Abdul Wahid Pedersen
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|Abdul Wahid Pedersen|
|Born||Reino Arild Pedersen
1954 (age 62–63)
Pedersen embraced Islam in 1982 after a long search through different world religions. He was brought up as a Christian, became a free-thinker at the age of 16 and was a follower of Hinduism for four years before eventually deciding on Islam.
Pedersen was Vice President of Muslims in Dialogue in the early years of the existence of the organization, which is a Danish Muslim multi-ethnic organization promoting Islam into the Danish society.
Pedersen is Vice Chairman of Muslim Council of Denmark, which is the largest body of Muslim organizations in Denmark.
He is co-founder and principal of three private schools for children of Muslim parents in Denmark. He is also co-founder and long-time vice chairman of Islamic Christian Study Center in Copenhagen. He spearheaded relief projects in numerous countries worldwide. E.g. the establishing of a school in the Kunar province of Afghanistan before the Taliban regime which accepted girls as well.
Pedersen is co-founder of Danish Muslim Aid and presently Secretary General of same organization. DM-Aid has, among other things, rebuilt more than 500 homes for earthquake stricken people in the Kashmir area of Pakistan during the winter 2005 - 2006. The organization supports more than 700 orphans in more than 10 countries, finances hundreds of micro-finance projects for poor families in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia. Danish Muslim Aid is the largest charity organization in Denmark founded by Muslims. He is one of the European representatives of the Global Network of Religions for Children and is a board member of the Swedish Islamic Academy.
He has translated a number of books on Islam into Danish. In 1997 he was the first imam to start holding Friday sermons in Danish.
Pedersen founded the Independent Scandinavian Relief Agency (ISRA) in 1988 and served as its Secretary General. ISRA was closed down in late 2004 due to allegations of supporting terrorism and connections to the Islamic African Relief Agency