Professor Muqtedar Khan is doing his best to maintain a social distance since the University of Delaware transitioned to online learning in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The political science professor is also "having a lot of fun" with finding creative ways to enhance the virtual learning experience for his students. In particular, his Khanversations interview series on the "Prof. Muqtedar Khan" YouTube channel examines the pandemic from political, policy, religious, and health care perspectives.
Khan grew up in India where he earned a B.E. in Electronics and Communications Engineering and an M.B.A. in Strategic Management and Marketing. Although he enjoyed many parts of the corporate world, he ultimately decided to channel his passion for religious and political values into his studies. He received several invitations from American universities and decided to apply to an M.A. program for International Studies at Florida International University. Khan earned that degree in 1995, then pursued a Ph.D. in International Relations and Islamic Political Thought at Georgetown University, where he graduated in 2000. He joined the University of Delaware's Department of Political Science and International Relations in 2005. He founded UD's Islamic Studies Program in 2007 and served as its director until 2010.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Dr. Khan dove further into Islamic studies, wanting to prove that the terrorist attacks were not a true representation of Islam, a peaceful religion. Khan's 2019 book Islam and Good Governance: A Political Philosophy of Ihsan, which took seven years to finish, highlights his political philosophy through Islamic teachings and mysticism and focuses on "better governments without compromising democracy." In a September 2019 UDaily story about the book, Khan explains that the meaning of Ihsan is the concept of charity and compassion. In his interpretation, it means "to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot see Him, recognize that He is seeing you." Khan says that applying this knowledge to governments will help shape their success in Muslim nations. The book, which brings "mystical values to the government," has received outstanding reviews and resulted in Khan giving lectures around the country and abroad about his philosophies. Khan is also the author of Jihad for Jerusalem (2004) and American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom (2002).
Virtual learning and coping with COVID-19
Professor Khan's Khanversations project has gained popularity around the UD community. In April, he talked with Rabbi Michael Beals of the Beth Shalom Congregation in Wilmington, Delaware, about how Jewish practices and scriptures discuss pandemics, especially during Passover, a time centered around biblical plagues. In early May, Khan interviewed Delaware U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester about personal and congressional responses to the pandemic. Rochester, a Democrat, discussed stimulus packages, issues of equity, and the accountability of the state to provide access to health care for poorer and minority communities. Rochester also shared her personal observations of the goodness she has seen in the world during these trying times.
Khan teaches classes in subjects like Islamic and Global Affairs, mysticism, politics of the Middle East, and good governance, and currently serves as the academic director of the State Department's American Foreign Policy Institute. His wife Reshma works for New Castle County Libraries and is obtaining her doctorate in business administration at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware. His son Rumi is a junior at Harvard University, and his daughter Ruhi will be attending Yale University in the fall.
Khan shares his ideas about the long-lasting impact of the coronavirus on the world. "I believe it'll slow down or reverse globalization in a sense." As trade slows down, the global economy will take a severe hit, and many countries will enter recessions, he says. In his recent article for the Center for Global Policy, "A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Post Pandemic World," Khan predicts that shifts in power may result. The pandemic is proving to be the great leveler.