Dr. John Andrew Morrow was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1971. Raised in a multilingual family, he lived in Montreal for ten years and in the Greater Toronto Area for another twenty. The product of a Catholic education, he completed his elementary school in French, his high school in English, and his university studies in English, French, and Spanish. He embraced Islam at the age of 16 after which he adopted the name Ilyas ‘Abd al-‘Alim Islam. After completing his Honors BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Toronto, where he acquired expertise in Hispanic, Native, and Islamic Studies, he pursued post-graduate studies in Arabic in Morocco and the United States. Besides his Western education, Dr. Morrow has completed the full cycle of traditional Islamic seminary studies both independently and at the hands of a series of Sunni, Shi’i, and Sufi scholars. Not only is he a senior scholar, academic, and professor, he is also a respected ‘alim holding the titles of ustadh, duktur, hakim, and shaykh. Dr. Morrow has spent over a decade and a half in the United States working at various universities including Park University, Northern State University, Eastern New Mexico University, the University of Virginia, and Ivy Tech where he was unanimously appointed to the rank of Full Professor. One of his most noteworthy and memorable experiences involved working as a professor of advanced Spanish, Islamic culture, and world literature for the Institute for Shipboard Education’s Semester at Sea Program. Aside from his academic duties, Dr. John Andrew Morrow is the Director of the Covenants Foundation, an organization dedicated to disseminating traditional, civilizational, Islam; promoting Islamic unity; protecting persecuted Christians; and improving relations between Muslims and members of other faiths. He regularly travels the world to promote peace and justice.
Dr. John Andrew Morrow is a Native North American and a proud member of the Metis Nation. A Francophone Metis with roots from Quebec, Ontario, and Acadia, and relatives in the greater Red River region, his geneology includes over one hundred Amerindian ancestors alone with hundreds of Metis forefathers and foremothers. His European ancestors included Irish royalty and revolutionaries along with French nobility. In point of fact, he is a direct paternal descendant of the Kings of Leinster in Ireland. Several of his European ancestors were, in fact, Moriscos from Spain and Portugal who fled to New France and the Middle East. They, in turn, were descendants of North African Arabs and Berbers. As a person of predominantly indigenous ancestry, Professor Morrow identifies himself as an Aboriginal Person. His indigenous ancestors belonged to the Metis, Algonquin, Huron, Mi’kmaq, Innu, Penobscot, Abenaki, and Nipissing Nations. Dr. Morrow is an aboriginal inhabitant of the Americas according to Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution and is recognized as an Indian by the Federal Court of Canada.
Metis Indian Pride
Dr. Morrow has participated in pow-wows since his childhood. He has regularly attended indigenous events celebrating the cultures of First Nations throughout the Americas, including Wacipis in South Dakota and the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During his university years he was an active participant in solidarity committees devoted to the defense of indigenous rights. As such, he has worked closely with indigenous people from North, Central, and South America. He has met many notable indigenous leaders and activists, such as Kevin Locke from the Lakota Nation and Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. morrow was trained in wilderness survival, including fishing, hunting, trapping, and harvesting. In keeping with his aboriginal roots, he has spent decades studying medicinal herbs, eventually becoming recognized as a leading authority on the subject. Dr. Morrow has devoted most of his life to the field of Amerindian Studies. He studied indigenous literature, culture, and civilization at the undergraduate and graduate levels, completing his MA thesis on the indigenous worldview in the poetry of Cesar Vallejo, a celebrated Amerindian poet from Peru. He also completed his doctoral dissertation on the indigenous presence in Ruben Dario and Ernesto Cardenal. A Native North American by ancestry, culture, history, language, and identity. Dr. Morrow is perfectly well-poised to enrich indigenous people with knowledge of their cultural legacy.