An organ of the American Institute of International Studies (AIIS), Fremont, CA

Current_Issue_Nregular_1_1 Archives
Your_comments Legal

Your donation
is tax deductable.

Journal of America Team:

 Editor in chief: 
Abdus Sattar Ghazali

 Managing Editor:
Mertze Dahlin   

Senior Editor:
Arthur Scott

Syed Mahmood book
Front page title small

Journal of America encourages independent
thinking and honest discussions on national & global issues


Disclaimer and Fair Use Notice: Many articles on this web site are written by independent individuals or organizations. Their opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Journal of America and its affiliates. They are put here for interest and reference only. More details

August 4, 2016

Syed Rifat Mahmood:
Sad demise of a visionary community leader

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The San Francisco Bay Area community mourns the demise of Syed Rifat Mahmood who was a visionary and imaginative community leader, a warmhearted and affectionate friend, and a fearless and straightforward individualSyed Mahmood with Syed Inamdar and Reshma Inamdar.

He was my friend since September 2000 when we met at the Islamic Society of East Bay (ISEB) mosque after the Friday prayers. I was a stranger to the community since I had come recently from Kuwait. I cannot forget his spirit of friendship when he came to me and introduced himself and asked about me. We were friend since then. In December 2002, I moved to Modesto from Union City but we were always in contact.Picture shows: Syed Mahmood (right) with Syed Inamdar, expresident of Islamic Society of East Bay (ISEB) and Syeda Reshma Inamdar, a social activist. In 2008 we launched an online magazine, The Journal of America ( He was the President of the Journal while I served as the Chief Editor.

Syed Rifat Mahmood passed away on August 3, 2016 after a long illness. He left behind his wife Maryam and daughter Zahra to mourn his sad death besides his brothers and sisters. He was the eldest brother of Syed Nusrat, Syed Sarwat, Syed Niaz Ahmad, Syed Kamran and Sisters, Ghazala, Kishwer, Qaisar, and Raheel.

Syed Rifat Mahmood was a public figure. He was a nominee for the U.S. Congress as a Republican candidate in 2002. He was also a Republican nominee for the California State Assembly in 2000. Syed was elected to the Central Committee of the Alameda County Republican Party for a two-year term. He was also nominated for California State Republican Party's Central Committee for two terms. He has worked for the Reagan and Bush presidential campaigns and served as one of the co-chair for Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren.

As the founder of The American Institute of International Studies, Syed Mahmood worked to motivate Americans of all backgrounds to participate in to the mainstream of American political process. His efforts have resulted in his appointment to several community committees by the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco. He was appointed to the Reception Committee of Pope John Paul II by the Catholic Archbishop.Syed Mahmood (left) talking to Rifai, former president of United Muslim of America

He was President of the United Muslim of America (UMA), a Muslim civil advocacy group. Picture shows: Syed Mahmood, president of the United Muslims of America, (left) with Shafi Rifai, the ex-president of UMA.

The Islamic Society of East Bay (ISEB)

Most importantly, Syed Riffat Mahmood was a founding member of the Islamic Society of East Bay (ISEB) which he aspired to see as a top class Islamic Institution.

I am afraid to say that although he was facing health issues for some time, but unfair lawsuits against him may be a contributing factor to his deteriorating health in recent months. My friends told me that whenever they went to see him in hospital he was always asking them about the court cases. The community may know that Br. Mahmood was facing unfair court case regarding the ISEB even when he was on the death bed.

It is a sad reality that some of our community members who undeservedly aspire to become leader implicated Syed Rifat Mahmood in lawsuits when he was trying to clean the unfair, un-ethical and non-transparent system to run the ISEB affairs. He was a founder member of the ISEB. He had a vision to make the ISEB Mosque an educational institute. In January 2016 issue of Al Mashriq he wrote:

It was the dream of the Bay Area community to build this Islamic Institution and follow the model of Masjid-e-Nabvi in the Middle of the San Francisco Area. It was never meant to be just a local neighborhood Masjid. People from all over the Bay Area donated very generously with great pride they waited for years to fulfill their dream to see an Islamic Center. Every year fundraising dinners were attended by the Muslims from, Frezno, Sacramento, Stockton and even from Los Angles area. Major funding for this Masjid came from the outside of East Bay Area.”

He used to call it the Al Masjid UL Jame' and lamented that Allah has given us an opportunity but somehow this masjid was turned to “Lowry Masjid.”

Syed Rifat Mahmood as a writerSyed Mahmood portrait

Syed Rifat Mahmood was also a creative and prolific writer. He is the author of The American Revolution as Affected by the Muslim World - Economically and Politically - A Historical Assessment, According to a reviewer:

"The American Revolution as Affected by the Muslim World is a fascinating read. Syed Mahmood explores in great depth many major events in American history, and chronicling his narrative to interweave Islamic influences. Given the nature of the past decade's political climate, Islam is rarely depicted as having a place in American history let alone being playing a major political and philosophical role in shaping what America is. It's refreshing to find a read that is not afraid to delve into the topic.

Mahmood does a fantastic job in chronicling many major American events: starting with the Revolutionary War and the founding fathers, then leading in to America's historical practice of slavery, influence during the Civil Rights movement, and more modern relations with the Middle East. Mahmood's work shines as he connects these broad events over centuries as a single narrative that fits America. Historical claims made are very well cited, and is densely written with facts to support claims that are made."