Save the Date!

2017 AEP Forum will be held on Saturday September 16, 9:00AM to 5:30PM. Please join scholars, members of the military, religious and civic leaders, and the public for discussions on the true meaning of Jihad and Emir Abdelkader’s legacy. Do you know that the first mosque built in the United States is in Cedar Rapids and that Elkader, Iowa is Abdelkader’s namesake?


Inspiring Cultural Understanding


Look Ahead at 2016

2016-2017 Essay Contests


College and high school students will evauate the significance of Emir Abdelkader’s life and his struggles during peace, war, imprisonment, and exile in light of current events in America and the world. Upon his death in 1883, The New York Times eulogized, “… The nobility of his character won him the admiration of the world… He was one of the few great men of the century.” Enter today to explore models of ethical leadership, moral courage and humanitarian conduct. Learn more at Abdelkader Essay Contest.

“The Abdelkader Education Project provides opportunities for people across this globe to engage in the important and urgent work of building civility, enhancing cultural and religious literacy, and fostering mutual understanding among peoples. In a deeply divided world, the witness of Emire Abdelkader, who was a bridge-builder, is exemplary. All of us can learn from reflecting on the history of his life, and the ongoing relevance of his legacy. Therefore, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Inter-Religious Relations encourages students to participate in the essay contest.”

Kathryn Lohre, Assistant to the Presiding Bishop
Executive, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, IL

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Emir Abdelkader was…

  • Known for his civility, compassion, moral courage, and self-restraint with a zest for learning;
  • A heroic nineteenth-century Arab Muslim scholar-soldier-statesman and humanitarian;
  • Admired by world leaders such as President Lincoln, Queen Victoria, and Pope Pius IX as well as military adversaries;

The Emir was respected from the Missouri Territory to Moscow to Mecca. Upon his death in 1883, The New York Times eulogized, “…The nobility of his character won him the admiration of the world… He was one of the few great men of the century.”

The Abdelkader Education Project…

  • seeks to renew public awareness of a great personality who possessed many needed qualities in short supply today;
  • provides learning tools and curriculum materials to help educators incorporate Abdelkader’s story and his example in today’s classroom.

The initial spark for the Abdelkader Project came in the form of a biography written by John W. Kiser. Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader sensitively combines the political, historical and ethical dimensions of Abdelkader’s life.

Student Testimonial

Bob Spielbauer

Emir Abdelkader's strong moral character has had the most effect on my life. Reading about his life has helped me come to see Muslims in a whole new light, and I only wish that I could show others my new perspective as well.

Bob Spielbauer
2011 Elkader High School essay winner