Imam Kashif Abdul-Karim
Imam Kashif Abdul-Karim is a graduate from the University of Connecticut, the class of 1985. He taught school in The New Haven Public School system to pay for his undergraduate education. Upon graduation, He was employed at channel 30, WFSB as a graphic designer for Hartford’s news station. In 1986 after a year at channel 30, Kashif became interested in the marketing area of the television industry. He was hired by Storer Communications. Storer Communications introduced the cable industry to New Haven, Ct. Kashif became involved in the marketing and public relations aspects of the then new and innovative industry. Kashif reverted to the religion of Islam in 1986 after being inspired by Imam WD Mohammad’s lecture “African American Genesis” at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. He has been a Student of Imam WD Mohammad since.
In 1987 he became an Islamic chaplain for the State of Connecticut. He retired in 2004 after 17 years of service to the Department of Correction. While working in prison chaplaincy with incarcerated youth, he performed sermons, classroom instruction on Islam, weddings, crisis intervention, and pastoral care. This was a rewarding experience because it set an Islamic foundation for our most endangered young people.
In 1987, as marketing became a conflict with his Islamic personality, Kashif became involved in Human Services. This pulled him away from the communication industry. He became involved in state services. He began a career with the office of Child Support Enforcement. In this capacity, he worked to develop financial stability for economically abandoned and neglected women. He fought to establish paternity acknowledgements, and financial contractual agreements with the State of Connecticut and financially neglectful fathers.
Kashif changed careers and became employed as a Parole Officer/Social Worker with the State of Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice Department in 1989, working with committed, delinquent youth and their families. He retired in Dec. 2009 after 23 years of state service. Upon retirement, he received a proclamation for outstanding service from the governor’s office.
Kashif Abdul-Karim went to the capitol of Connecticut; Hartford, in 2002 to serve as Vice-Principal of the Clara Muhammad School system under the leadership of Imam Qasim Sharief. He eventually served as principal of The Clara Muhammad Supplemental Education Program after Sajdah Sharief retired from the school. Kashif’s love and commitment for education has allowed him to work with educational scholars on the national framework for the Clara Muhammad School Curriculums. Kashif also served for one year as principal of the full-time school and home cooperative educational program under the direction of Imam Zaid Shakir. Kashif served as a partner in the national business program of The Mosque Cares as a distributor in the Collective Purchasing Conference and a business partner in the local business efforts of “Iqraa Bookstore Boutique and Things.”
In May of 2006, after the death of Imam Qasim Sharief, the community elected and ratified Kashif as the new resident Imam of Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford. Kashif is president of Insight Productions Incorporated; a program specializing in workshops, photography, videography, desktop publishing and trainings on Al-Islam and culturally based programming for African Americans. In this capacity, he had performed quarterly training for social workers, psychologists, treatment providers and foster parents for the Department of Children and Families on “Islam and Muslim Children”. Kashif also serves as secretary for the New England Council of Masajid, and was formerly on the board of directors for the Council of American Islamic Relations, Ct Chapter for 9 years, the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Healthcare, Faith leaders for a More Just Budget, the Connecticut Center for a New Economy, and the United States Commission of Civil rights; CT's Special Advisory Committee. He functions as the president emeritus, co-founder, and treasurer for the national organization; the Muslim Endorsement Council (endorsing Muslim chaplains throughout the country). He also served as the chairperson emeritus for the Leadership Council for Connecticut Masajid. Kashif published his first publication in 2018 entitled “In Search of The Black Seed” chronicling the communal conversion of Muslim Americans of color.
Kashif was the first Muslim to perform the inaugural prayer for the former Mayor of the City of New Haven; The Honorable John DeStephano, and the former Governor of Connecticut; The Honorable Dannel Malloy. Kashif performed the first Jumu’ah prayer service at the State Capitol of Connecticut on Juneteenth of 2020. He was recently appointed to the governor’s advisory board for reopening places of worship due to Covid 19, and the governor’s advisory board for hate crime prevention in 2020.
Kashif has received many awards and recognition for community service. He has received awards from the African American Cultural Center of UConn, Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, the Networking Alliance of Black Social Workers, various citations, a proclamation from The Honorable Mayor John Daniels for Service to the Community of New Haven, the Hartford City Council, and the Civil Service Award, from Oriental lodge #6 F & A.M. Prince Hall Free Masons for his work in law enforcement.
Kashif is the widower of Khaliah Abdul-Karim who returned to Allah in 2020 and has three children Samira, Gabriel, and Joshua Abdul-Karim.