Wednesday 13 January 2010

Ali Mohamed Mazloum: Brazil Muslim Judge's Success Story

Looking back at his journey, Ali Mohamed Mazloum can sum it up in few, yet telling, words.

"It was not easy," Mazloum, the first Muslim to serve as a federal judge in the predominantly-Catholic Brazil, told

He was born in Sao-Paolo in 1960 to a Muslim family that emigrated from Lebanon a year before his birth.

His journey to the prestigious post began at a young age, when he joined the Faculty of Law like four of his siblings.

He worked for 4 years as a chief prosecutor in one of Sao Paolo districts and pursued his post-graduate studies.

Mazloum became a federal judge, the most high-profile judicial post in the Latin-American country, in 1997.

He teaches criminal law at Brazilia University and delivers lectures on law in many other Brazilian states.

Mazloum believes that being brought up in a family that honors the values of science, ethics, and education was a key element in his success.

He tried to instill the same values in his own children, two sons and a daughter, who joined prominent schools and universities.

"There is a big Muslim community in Brazil, but they usually don't achieve important official posts," Mazloum laments.

"This is due to the fact that the majority of them focus on business rather than education."

According to the 2001 census, there are 27,239 Muslims in Brazil, the majority of them are descendants of Syrian, Palestinians and Lebanese immigrants.

However, the Islamic Brazilian Federation puts the number at around one and a half million.

Mazloum says he is starting to see a positive shift.

"The winds of change are starting to blow.

"Many Muslims now are achieving distinguished success in their professions, especially the medical field."

Practical Da`wah

Mazloum believes he has a responsibility of representing Islam to fellow Brazilians.

He found a practical means of da`wah and projecting the true image of his faith through charity.

"I chose charity and voluntary work as my way to introduce Islam to people and shatter negative stereotypes about the religion," he told IOL.

Mazloum's da`wah projects involve giving a helping hand to poor Brazilians, especially non-Muslim ones.

His first project, "Friends of Islam," aims at organizing social voluntary activities in the poor districts of Sau Paolo.

They picked up 10 families of the poor districts to join free training courses in computer and hand crafts like sawing and hair-cutting to help them help themselves.

"This project saw a great success that it solicited the support of the local authorities in Guarolios district and Sao Paolo state authorities," Sheikh Khaled Rezq Takieddin, head of the Supreme Council for Imams and Islamic Affairs in Brazil, told IOL.

Takieddin believes that Mazloum's charity work is extremely important in washing away many misconceptions about Islam.

"It helps improve the image of Muslims in society."

For Mazloum, charity is simply part of being a good Muslim.

"It is our duty to be role models for others."


  1. aslamualakum

    sir ur struggle in the regard will be highly appriciated. can u any help me to provide mail address of paki people who residing in sao palo

  2. Assalamoalaikum Usman,

    We do not personally know anyone in Sao Paolo.