The Sacred Door Project

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Mission Statement

The Sacred Door Project serves English speaking Muslims throughout North America and is dedicated towards providing Islamic educational content in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Prophet and his family.

About Us

At the Sacred Door Project, we believe that Islam should be accessible to everyone, ranging from all Muslims to those simply eager to learn more about the religion. Our goal is to extract lessons from the Quran and the Prophet and his family and present them to the community. In order to seek closeness to our Creator, we are providing various avenues of learning – including articles, videos, interactive seminars, weekend workshops, and lecture series. Above all else, we value knowledge, community, and reflection as a means of seeking closeness to God.


The Sacred Door Project

Melanie Raza

Junior Researcher & Assistant Project Manager

 Melanie Raza, Junior Researcher & Assistant Project Manager, Melanie Raza is the Junior Researcher and Assistant Project Manager for the Sacred Door Project at the Islamic Center at New York University. She graduated in May 2022 with a Masters degree from George Washington University in Islamic Studies, with a Concentration in Shi’i Studies. She also graduated from New York University in May 2020 with dual degrees in Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies and English Literature with a specialty in Creative Writing.

David Coolidge

PhD Student

R. David Coolidge is currently a PhD student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. From 2008-2013 he worked as a Muslim chaplain, first at Dartmouth College and then at Brown University. From 2014-2017 he taught an undergraduate course on Islamic law and ethics at New York University. He has served on the boards of various American Muslim institutions, including Zaytuna College and Taleef Collective. He converted to Islam in 1998, and in 2004 married Sumaiya Balbale, daughter of early American Muslim activists Shafi and Nishat Balbale (Allah have mercy on them).

Dr. Sheikh Faiyaz Jaffer

Dr. Sheikh Faiyaz Jaffer is the Research Scholar for the Islamic Center at New York University and an Associate Chaplain for the Center of Global & Spiritual Life at NYU. He holds a doctorate in education from New York University, with a focus on the identity development of Shia youth in the United States. Pursuing the classical course of Islamic education, he studied in the Seminary of Karbala, Iraq, one of the most prominent centers for Islamic learning. 

The Sacred Door Project

Syed Ali

founder of Iqra Online

Sayyid Ali is the founder of Iqra Online and a regular contributor to it. He engaged in formal Islamic studies in the seminary of Qom between 2012 – 2021, having participated in the advanced lessons (bahth al-kharij) of jurisprudence and legal theory, while also simultaneously engaging with the study of philosophy. He has also obtained a Masters in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of England. His primary interests are in the study of the transmitted sciences (naqliyyat).