Dr Shaikh Yusuf Estes, an American Muslim preacher who reverted from Christianity to Islam in 1991, has been named the Islamic Personality of 2012 by the 16th session of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award for spreading the teachings of Holy Quran, and for his services to Islam, Muslims and humanity.
Making the announcement at the Cultural and Scientific Association in Dubai on Monday, Ibrahim Bu Melha, Chairman of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award, said: “Dr Shaikh Yusuf Estes, born in 1944, is often featured as guest presenter and keynote speaker at various Islamic events. He frequently appears on various Islamic satellite TV channels, in addition to his personal websites yusufestes.com and islamtomorrow.com.”
Several scholars, scientists, presidents and institutions have won the Islamic Personality Prize over the past 15 sessions. The first winner was Late Shaikh Mohammed Metwally Al Shaarawy of Egypt in 1997 while the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was the last winner in 2011.
Dr Shaikh Estes, who earlier served as a music minister became a Muslim in 1991 after meeting an Egyptian named Mohammed. Following his reversion, Estes entered the field of Dawah, or spreading the Islamic faith.
“After embracing Islam, Dr Estes pursued Arabic language and Quranic studies in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. From 2004, Dr Estes regularly appeared on the Islam Channel, as well as Peace TV and Huda TV,” Bu Melha said.
Dr Estes has started a free-to-air Internet and satellite TV channel called GuideUS TV which currently broadcasts commercial-free programming on Islam 24/7.
He has also set up various websites directed toward English speaking Muslims which include TubeIslam (a Muslim video sharing site), ChatIslam (a Muslim chat room), and WorldPreschool (a learning site for young children).
“Dr Estes is highly loved by young Muslims,” Bu Melha said.