Before the days of influencing and social media posts, many relied on political figures and academics to improve relations between people and one notable figure who did that for the Muslim community was none other than Dr. Robert D. Crane.
Robert Dickson Crane, also known by his Islamic name, Faruq Abd al-Haq, was an active member of the White House, who served in top positions within the establishment. Branded the “first Muslim US ambassador”, Crane also served as an advisor to Richard Nixon, a former President of the United States, and throughout his long and established career, tried to change politics for the better. Outside of his professional life, he was an academic, a writer and a trailblazing activist.
One of the things that made Crane unique from the rest of his political counterparts in the White House was his interest in Islam. After taking up a work-related position in Bahrain, Crane came face to face with what has been described as a “good” Muslim and both ignited in a conversation about the role of God, amongst other deep topics. That one meeting acted as a catalyst for his reversion to Islam.
A few months down the line, in 1980 to be precise, he had fully reverted to Islam.
“In fact, God has directed me to Islam at age five and then at 21 years old,” he said. “But I did not know until I met the Bahraini man who told me that there were others who saw things shown to me too and that I was worshipping ‘Allah’. I have comprehended [it] at age 50.”
With his new outlook on life, Crane used his influence to improve relations between the United States and other Muslim nations. It was rumoured that the States was even planning on using him as a prominent figure during the Afghan resistance, but due to other superiors who were against the idea, it was never followed through. Regardless, he went on to aid multiple Muslim groups such as the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and the American Muslim Council in their work. Later, he also published his own pieces on many faith-related topics, including religious pluralism, inter-religious affairs, Islamic social sciences, human rights in Islam, and the difficulties Muslims face in the world, just to name a few. But one of his most notable influences came post-9/11 when he stood alongside Muslims to help combat the growing rates of Islamophobia in America.
He was a dedicated and successful man, even appearing on the list of The World’s Most Influential Muslims 2020.
However, it’s with great sadness that we have come to learn about his death this week. He was 92-years-old. We thank him for his unwavering support, even in his old age. Rest in peace, Dr. Robert Crane, may Allah grant him the highest rank in Jannah.