Sumbul Ali-Karamali

Award-Winning Author and Speaker

Sumbul Ali-Karamali


"In her presentations, Sumbul Ali-Karamali seamlessly moves from
a line from the Quran and discussion of its multiple meanings to a personal story or current news item;
the audience retains her explanations long after her last word."  -- Bonnie Zare, Associate Professor of Sociology, Virginia Tech


Sumbul Ali-Karamali earned her B.A. in English from Stanford University, her J.D. from the University of California at Davis, and her L.L.M. in Islamic law from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She has practiced corporate law, taught Islamic law, and been a research associate at the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law in London. Her first book, The Muslim Next Door: the Qur’an, the Media, and that Veil Thing, was published in 2008 and was a Bronze Medal Winner of the 2009 Independent Book Awards; it was also chosen for Silicon Valley Reads 2012, a 14-citywide reading program. The Muslim Next Door also appeared on the American Academy of Religion’s Islam section list as a recommended text for teaching Islam in classrooms and the Huffington Post’s Eleven Must-Read Books by Muslim Authors.


When Sumbul was on her book tour, several teachers complained to her of the absence of age-appropriate books on Islam for middle-school and high-school students. As a result, she wrote Growing up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam (Delacorte/Random House 2012), a nonfiction chapter book for ages 10 & up.


Sumbul has been a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and a frequent speaker and writer on Islam-related topics. She’s given hundreds of presentations and interviews in a variety of venues and media. She has been on the steering committee of Women in Islamic Spirituality and Equality (WISE) and on the Muslim Women’s Global Shura Council, both of which aim to promote women’s rights and human rights from an Islamic perspective. She has been on the boards of several nonprofit organizations dedicated to environmental and/or multicultural education. She has been both a fiction and nonfiction judge for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. And she’s been a reviewer for Oxford University Press.


In her leisure time, Sumbul enjoys opera, white-water rafting, reading fantasy literature (Terry Pratchett is a favorite), and watching Star Trek reruns with her family. She’s a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.