Imam Yama Niazi was born in Afghanistan and migrated with his parents to the United States at the age of seven. Having grown up in the United States, and having an understanding of the culture and studying Islam with American Muslim scholars, led Yama to taking on a unique perspective and direction of Islam in America. He has benefited from a number of teachers of traditional Islamic disciplines, in the United States and abroad.
As former Imam of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara, Imam Yama led prayers and taught both Muslim and interfaith communities of Santa Barbara and neighboring counties. His talks have extended to churches, synagogues, colleges and other groups and organizations where he is raising awareness of universal shared values, such as tolerance, acceptance, and respect of human dignity, which build a strong foundation for eradicating extremism and conducting a true interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
Imam Yama also serves the Muslim community as a family and youth counselor. His students have described his demeanor and manner of speaking to exude sincerity and care. Yama has achieved international renown for his approach that is relevant with today’s youth that spans multiple cultures. He has been invited to programs alongside top scholars throughout North America and Canada. Through his teaching, lecturing, mentorship, and religious leadership, Imam Yama aims to foster love for Islam and appreciation of the vast richness of Islamic tradition in new generations of American Muslims.
Imam Yama currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife and three kids.