John Ishvaradas Abdallah is a speaker, writer and author of ‘A Sufi’s Ruminations On One World Under God.’ John Ishvaradas Abdallah (meaning ‘servant of God’ in four – Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Muslim – and by extension all faith traditions!) is the preferred pen-name of Syed Riyaz Mahdi. An independent activist Sufi, he is the Founder and Executive Director of (the Sufi Order) World Without Borders Interfaith Sufi Ashram (also a Facebook group), and is passionately involved in interfaith dialogue, conversation and movement promoting a theology of love, peace and freedom through active nonviolence.
Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group (CMCG), Los Angeles, a member of the Board of Advisors of The Guibord Center in Los Angeles, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of World’s Religions (SCCPWR), a past president and current member of the Board of Advisors of the South Coast Interfaith Council (SCIC), and a member of the Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) and an Advisory Board member of its Los Angeles Chapter (MPV-LA).
At various times in the past he has been actively involved in the Alliance for Spiritual Community (a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative – URI), the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP) – a Tikkun organization, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) in Los Angeles, International South Asia Forum (INSAF), South Asian Network (SAN), Coalition for an Egalitarian and Pluralistic India (CEPI), member of the Board of Advisors of Kochi (Kerala, India) based World Fellowship of Inter-Religious Councils (WFIRC), and a member of the Jewish, Christian, Muslim Leadership Forum, Long Beach, California.
He has been an active participant in the Inaugural Conference of the Ahimsa (Nonviolence) Center at the California State University, Pomona, Abrahamic Religions Tolerance Seminar in Mission Viejo, California, Religious Diversity Faire in Irvine, California, Pre-Parliament Events in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and New Delhi, in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City (2015), Melbourne (2009) and Barcelona (2004), Interfaith Conferences for Peace and Harmony at the Guru Nanak Dev University (named after the founder of Sikh community) in Amritsar, Hindu University in Varanasi, Catholic Christian Renewal Center in Kochi, World Social Forum in Bombay, North American Interfaith Network’s NAIN Connect 2014 Conference in Detroit, World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit 2014 in Seoul, South Korea, and Interfaith gatherings in Seattle, Chicago, London, Hyderabad (India) and other cities.
Born in Hyderabad, India, in a Muslim family, he grew up with Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Zoroastrian neighbors and friends of the family. John is a Naturalized Bicentennial US citizen and has lived in the United States of America since 1964. Thankful and very pleased father of a son and a daughter, he has lived in Southern California since 1975 with his loving Japanese (and Japan-born) wife who has a rare gift of understanding.