First Convert to Lead the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Hijri 1383-Present (AH); Common Era 1963-Present (CE)
Dr. Ingrid Mattson is the first female, first person born in North America, and first convert to lead the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).1 In 2001, she was elected vice president of ISNA and in 2006 she was elected president.2 Born in Canada and raised a Roman Catholic, Dr. Mattson grew up attending mass daily. But as a teenager, she felt she no longer believed in the God they talked about in church. A few years later, Dr. Mattson became intrigued by the generosity, dignity and sense of balance she observed in some Muslim friends even as they faced prejudice. The first time she prayed the salat, the ritual Muslim prayer of bowing and prostration, she felt the closeness with God she thought she had lost. Then, at the age of 23, she embraced Islam and began to wear the hijab.3 She later married and now lives with her husband and two children in Hartford, Connecticut.4 In 1987, she completed her studies in philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario.5 She then traveled to Pakistan and worked with Afghan refugee women from 1987 to 1988. In 1995, she served as advisory to the Afghan delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.6 Dr. Mattson received her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1999. Her research focused on Islamic law and society.7 She is currently the director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations and professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut.8  Newsweek: Ingrid Mattson.  Duncan Black Macdonald Center - Faculty: Ingrid Mattson.  Newsweek: Ingrid Mattson.  Newsweek: Ingrid Mattson.  Duncan Black Macdonald Center - Faculty: Ingrid Mattson.  Islamic Society of North America: Ingrid Mattson.  Duncan Black Macdonald Center - Faculty: Ingrid Mattson.  Duncan Black Macdonald Center - Faculty: Ingrid Mattson.  Beliefnet - "We Are What We Do".