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Advisory Board

Omar Suleiman

Founder and President, Yaqeen Institute; Adjunct Professor, SMU

Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman is the President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center, and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith alliance for peace and justice.

Originally from New Orleans, LA, he began his journey of traditional Islamic learning in the year 2000 and has spent years studying in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Malaysia, etc. Upon becoming certified in various traditional sciences, he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Islamic law, a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, a Master’s degree in Islamic Finance, a Master’s Degree in Political History, and is in the process of completing his PhD from the International Islamic University of Malaysia in Islamic Thought and Civilization.

His career started in his hometown of New Orleans where he served as the Imam of the Jefferson Muslim Association in New Orleans for 6 years and directed the ICNA Relief “Muslims for Humanity” Hurricane Katrina Relief effort. It was in this time that he was noted on a national level as being a strong advocate of community service, interfaith dialogue, and social justice. He co-founded the East Jefferson Interfaith Clergy Association and was awarded for his outstanding civic achievement by the Mayor and City Council of New Orleans in 2010.

He then moved to Dallas and became the Resident Scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center in 2013 and more recently, Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square. In Dallas, he has been a noted leader and voice for peace, and has partaken as a representative of the Muslim Community in many city functions. He has since been a guest at various national functions to share his experiences in community building.

Shaykh Omar most recently founded the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research which is a think tank that focuses on instilling conviction based on Islamic texts, and producing contribution. He also founded M.U.H.S.E.N (Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs), a nonprofit umbrella organization serving the community to establish a more inclusive “Special Friendly” environment for our Brothers & Sisters of all Disabilities.

Shaykh Omar has taught Islamic Studies at the university level since 2008. As a valued AlMaghrib instructor, Shaykh Omar developed one of the most successful seminars “Behind the Scenes: An In-Depth Study of the Spiritual Practices of the Best Generations.” He also is one of the main features at our annual conferences and retreats: IlmFest and IlmSummit.

In media, he’s one of the creators of the internationally acclaimed “Inspiration Series,” which has reached millions of Muslims and Non Muslims through YouTube and Islamic Television stations worldwide. He’s also known for his series on Quran weekly, as well as his contributions to Hadith of the Day.

Dalia Mogahed

Director of Research, ISPU; MBA, U of Pittsburgh

Dalia Mogahed

Dalia Mogahed is the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where she leads the organization’s pioneering research and thought leadership programs on American Muslims. Mogahed is former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslim communities worldwide. With John L. Esposito, she co-authored the book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. President Barack Obama appointed Mogahed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009. She was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about U.S. engagement with Muslim communities. Her 2016 TED talk was named one of the top TED talks that year. She is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. She is also the CEO of Mogahed Consulting.

Zaid Shakir

Co-founder and senior faculty, Zaytuna College

Zaid Shakir

Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder, and senior Faculty Member of  located in Berkeley, CA. He is amongst the most respected and influential Islamic scholars in the West. As an American Muslim who came of age during the civil rights struggles, he has brought both sensitivity about race and poverty issues and scholarly discipline to his faith-based work.

Born in Berkeley, California, he accepted Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force. He obtained a BA with honors in International Relations at  in Washington D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science at . While at Rutgers, he led a successful campaign for divestment from South Africa, and co-founded  formerly Masjid al-Huda.

After a year of studying Arabic in Cairo, Egypt, he settled in New Haven, Connecticut and continued his community activism, co-founding , the Tri-State Muslim Education Initiative, and the Connecticut Muslim Coordinating Committee. As Imam of Masjid Al-Islam from 1988 to 1994 he spear-headed a community renewal and grassroots anti-drug effort, and also taught political science and Arabic at . He served as an interfaith council Chaplain at  and developed the Chaplaincy Sensitivity Training for physicians at . He then left for Syria to pursue his studies in the traditional Islamic sciences.

For seven years in Syria, and briefly in Morocco, he immersed himself in an intense study of Arabic, Islamic law, Quranic studies, and spirituality with some of the top Muslim scholars of our age. In 2001, he graduated from Syria’s prestigious Abu Noor University with a BA in Islamic Sciences and returned to Connecticut, serving again as the Imam of Masjid al-Islam, and writing and speaking frequently on a host of issues. That same year, his translation from Arabic into English of The Heirs of the Prophets was published by Starlatch Press.

In 2003, he moved to Hayward, California to serve as a scholar-in-residence and lecturer at , where he taught courses on Arabic, Islamic law, history, and Islamic spirituality. In 2004, he initiated a pilot seminary program at Zaytuna Institute, which was useful in Zaytuna College’s refinement of its Islamic Studies curriculum and its educational philosophy. For four years, students in the pilot program were engaged in the study of contemporary and classical texts. In 2005, Zaytuna Institute published, Scattered Pictures: Reflections of An American Muslim„ an anthology of diverse essays penned by Zaid Shakir. He co-founded the , Oakland, CA. in 2007. He authored an award-winning text, Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance, a translation and commentary on Imam Harith al-Muhasibi’s work, Risala al-Mustarshideen in 2008. He is co-founder and chairman of  since 2009. The mission of United For Change is, through modern discourse, to create awareness of the broadest and most consuming topics within the Muslim community. The aim is to leverage the diversity through cooperation and goodwill and address the obstacles that have proven to be divisive.  His most recent work is Where I’m Coming From: The Year In Review, a new collection of his essays from 2010. Imam Zaid has also authored numerous articles and research papers on a wide range of topics.

He is a frequent speaker at local and national Muslim events and has emerged as one of the nation’s top Islamic scholars and a voice of conscience for American Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Imam Zaid has served as an advisor to many organizations, and influential leaders. He is ranked as “one of America’s most influential Scholars” in the West; by , edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin, (2009).  Recently, Imam Zaid is a signatory along with religious and spiritual Leaders from around the world who presented the UN Secretary General with a declaration in support of theParis Climate Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, marking the largest number of nations ever signing an international agreement. In 2018, CNN listed him among 25 influential American Muslims.

Jonathan Brown

Professor, Georgetown University

Jonathan Brown

Jonathan Brown is the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and he is the Director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding. He received his BA in History from Georgetown University in 2000 and his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2006. Dr. Brown has studied and conducted research in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Iran.

His book publications include “The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim: The Formation and Function of the Sunni Hadith Canon” (Brill, 2007), “Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World” (Oneworld, 2009) and “Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction” (Oxford University Press, 2011), which was selected for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.

His most recent book, “Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy” (Oneworld, 2014), was named one of the top books on religion in 2014 by the Independent. He has published articles in the fields of Hadith, Islamic law, Salafism, Sufism, Arabic lexical theory and Pre-Islamic poetry and is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law. Dr. Brown’s current research interests include Islamic legal reform and a translation of Sahih al-Bukhari.

Mohamed Magid

Imam, ADAMS Center

Mohamed Magid

Imam Magid is the Imam of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia. He is the chairman of International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC). Imam Magid served as the President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Under his direction, the ADAMS Center has grown to be one of the largest Muslim community organizations in the Washington Metropolitan Area. He also occupies the Chairmanship of the Fairfax County Faith Communities in Action, and a Chaplin of George Mason University Campus Ministry. He is also the Vice Chairman of Muflehun, a think tank, which focuses on confronting violent extremist thought through research-driven preventative programs within a religious paradigm. Imam Magid has a long history of commitment to public service through organizations, such as The Peaceful Families Project. Imam Magid has co-authored three books “Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples” “Reflections on the Qur’an,” and “Change from within.” He has helped with training and workshops for Imams and religious leaders, domestically and internationally, on the issue of violence against women. Imam Magid is leading an initiative to protect religious minorities in Muslim majority countries, through a series of conferences. He has written for the Washington Post and Huffington Post, and has been profiled in Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. He is the recipient of the Washingtonian of the Year 2009 and the Human Rights Award 2005 from Fairfax County.

Hamzah Abdul-Malik

Imam and founder of Midtown Mosque-Memphis

Hamzah Abdul-Malik

Imam Hamzah Abdul-Malik studied Islam for 15 years in Morocco, Syria, Yemen and finally Egypt. Shaikh Hamzah was born and raised in a Muslim household in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in the Masjid al-Islam community. As a young man he went to Tangiers, Morocco, where he completed his memorization of Qur’ān (ḥifẓ). After Morocco, Imam Hamzah moved to Damascus, Syria, and attended the Abu Noor Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies for five years to focus on mastering classical Arabic (fuṣḥa), Islamic law (sharī’a) and theology (‘aqīda), and honing his Quranic phonetics (tajwīd). Later, he undertook private studies in jurisprudence (fiqh) and spirituality (taṣawwuf) at Dar al-Mustafa Institute in Tarim, Yemen, and then spent four years at al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Sharī’a, alongside classmates Ubaydullah Evans, Jamaal Diwan, Muslema Purmul, Arsalan Haque and Yasir Fahmy. Currently, he is imam of the Midtown Mosque in Memphis, Tennessee. Shaikh Hamzah famously recited Qur’an at the Muhammad Ali Janazah.

Zainab Alwani

Professor, Howard School of Divinity; PhD, International Islamic U Malaysia

Zainab Alwani

Dr. Zainab Alwani is the Founding Director of the Islamic Studies program at Howard University School of Divinity (HUSD). She is the Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and the chair of the Religious Studies Master of Arts program at HUSD. She is an Islamic scholar, researcher and community activist. Dr. Alwani is also the first female jurist to serve on the board of the Fiqh Council of North America and currently serves as the Council’s Vice-Chair. She is a member and a board member of various national organizations including Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights KARAMAH and the American Academy of Religion. Dr. Alwani is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Islamic Faith and Practice. Her research focuses on Quranic studies, Islamic jurisprudence, the relationship between civil and religious law in the area of family, women and gender, and inter-religious relations.

Currently, Dr. Alwani is working on a groundbreaking project regarding orphan care, the Orphan Care Project. The goal is to provide knowledge and scholarship from an Islamic perspective as well as alert the community to this pressing issue. As the Program Director of the Fiqh Forum on Orphan Care, she is calling for orphan care to become a priority of the Muslim community.

Prior to joining the School of Divinity, Dr. Alwani was the Program Director and Adjunct Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Northern Virginia Community College. She was also an Adjunct Professor of Arabic Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She developed courses in Arabic Studies that focused on the link between Islamic philosophy, language and culture. She also taught Islamic history, inter-religious dialogue and comparative religion at Wesley Theological Seminary and the Washington National Cathedral.

She has authored and co-authored a wide variety of publications ranging from textbooks and book chapters to scholarly articles. She co-edited a special issue of The Muslim World journal published by Hartford Seminary, Judaism and Islam in America, (October 2014 Volume 104, Issue 4). Some of her latest publications include: “Maqāṣid Qur᾽āniyya: A Methodology on Evaluating Modern Challenges and Fiqh al-Aqalliyyāt (p 465–487),” The Quranic Model for Harmony in family relations, Critical Reading in al-Ghazālī’s Usul al Fiqh/Legal theory Books,  “Muslim Women as Religious Scholars: A Historical Survey,” in Muslima Theology: “New Voices of Muslim Women Theologians,” “What Islam Says about Domestic Violence” and “Religion, Gender, And Family Law: Critical Perspectives On Integration for Western-Muslims” in “Applying sharia in the West,” Leiden University Press.

Dr. Alwani received her PhD in Islamic Sciences (Usul Al-Fiqh) and Islamic Jurisprudence from the International Islamic University in Malaysia. Her PhD dissertation examined Maqāṣid/objectives of al Sahriah in the area of family, the book “The Family and Maqasid Al Shariah: Marriage and Divorce in American Muslim Family.”

Dr. Alwani is a mother of four, and a grandmother of four. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, reading, writing and traveling.

Siraj Wahhaj

Imam, Masjid al-Taqwa

Siraj Wahhaj

Imam Siraj Wahhaj is one of the most beloved Muslim leaders in North America.  He travels non-stop to Muslim communities inspiring them and supporting their efforts.  Imam Siraj came out of the Nation of Islam in New York—joining in 1969—and served as a Minister under Louis Farrakhan.  In 1975 he followed Imam W. Deen Mohammed into Sunni Islam and became an enthusiastic student of Islam.  Around 1978 he founded Masjid al-Taqwa and in 1988 led an anti-drug campaign that began a profound change in his Brooklyn neighborhood from a drug-invested community to a neighborhood where everyone is safe to walk.  In 1991 Imam Siraj had the honor of being the first Muslim to give the invocation in the House of Representatives.  Imam Siraj helped found Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) and he still sits on their Board.

Mohammad Yunus

Past President of ICNA, 1977-2000; Member ICNA General Assembly

Mohammad Yunus

Dr. Mohammad Yunus served as President of ICNA for 17 years during 1977 – 2000. He has been a member of ICNA’s General Assembly since 1971. He is a successful cardiologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Florida State University, College of Medicine. He is also a scholar of Islam and the Imam/Director at Masjid Dawah in Bonifay, FL. Dr. Yunus has eight children and 25 grandchildren.

Roula Allouch

Board Chair, CAIR; JD, U of Kentucky

Roula Allouch

Roula Allouch is an attorney with experience in employment law, civil rights, insurance defense and general civil litigation. Ms. Allouch earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky in 2003 and her juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2006.  She is licensed to practice in state and federal courts in Kentucky and Ohio.

Ms. Allouch currently serves as Chair of the National Board of Directors of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest civil rights and advocacy group for the American Muslim community. She is an advisor to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association’s Rule of Law Initiative. Ms. Allouch was named a Rising Star by Cincinnati YWCA in 2015 and featured in Cincinnati Magazine’s “The Future of Cincinnati: Ones to Watch” 2015 issue.

Zahid Bukhari

Executive Director, ICNA’s Council for Social Justice

Zahid Bukhari

Dr. Zahid Bukhari is the Executive Director of ICNA Council for Social Justice. Previously, he worked as Director of American Muslim Studies Program (AMSP) at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, DC. From 1999-2004, he also worked as Director, Project MAPS: Muslims in American Public Square, which examined the role and contribution of the Muslim community to the American public life. Dr. Bukhari’s research interests focused on Islam in the West; Muslims in America; religion and politics; and religion, humanitarian aid and development. He is also editor of the Project MAPS volume: Muslims’ Place in the American Public Square: Fears, Hopes and Aspirations; and the CIPP volume: Observing the Observer: The State of Islamic Studies in American Universities. Dr. Bukhari has a Masters in Economics from the University of Karachi, Pakistan and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut, USA.

Omer Bajwa

CHAPLAIN, YALE UNIVERSITY

Omer Bajwa

Omer Bajwa is the Director of Muslim Life in the Chaplain’s Office at Yale.  He earned his Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary, and he has been engaged in religious service, social activism, and educational outreach since 2000. He received his MA in Near Eastern Studies, with a specialization in Islamic Studies, from Cornell University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies.  He also earned an MS in Communication from Cornell, and a BA in English Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University. His interests include Islam in the United States, inter-religious engagement, and Islam and the global media.  He regularly lectures about these topics and others at campuses, congregations, and in communities across the country. When not working, he and his family can often be found sampling local desserts.

James Wright

Professor, San Diego State University

James Wright

Dr. James Wright received his PhD from Michigan State University, College of Education, Department of Educational Administration, program of K-12 Leadership. James’ research agenda is a critical engagement of Educational Leadership discourses and practices; with the intent to encourage alternatives to educational leadership reform and effective community engagement. James’ research reflects a diverse and interdisciplinary approach to the study of Educational Leadership and examines the effect of Educational Leadership on culture and schools in urban communities. James also has a masters degree in Business Administration (MBA). In addition, James has worked as a K-12 school administrator in international schools and as an educational consultant in Cairo, Egypt. James leverages his PhD, MBA and experiences working in the private sector to broaden understandings of organizational and economic currents that impact schooling and educational reform; policy and leadership strategies.

Yousef Casewit

Professor of Qur’anic Studies, University of Chicago

Yousef Casewit

Yousef Casewit’s research areas include Qur’anic studies, Arabic literature, the medieval intellectual history of North Africa and al-Andalus, Muslim perceptions of the Bible, and commentaries on the 99 names of God. His most recent publication is a 1,000-page critical edition of Ibn Barrajan’s Qur’an commentary. He is completing a study of the life, teachings, and legacy of Ibn Barrajan, as well as a translation of  ‘Afif al-Din al-Tilimsani’s commentary on the divine names (Sharh al-asma’ al-husna).

He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, American Institute for Maghrib Studies, Middle East Studies Association, American Oriental Society, and International Qur’anic Studies Association. Fluent in Arabic, French, Spanish, and English, Casewit has been a participant in the annual Building Bridges seminars of Christian and Muslim scholars conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He also served as an interpreter for the Salam Institute for Peace and Justice in the Republic of Chad and Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad.

Casewit received an MA, MPhil, and PhD with high distinction in Islamic studies from the religious studies department at Yale University. Before joining the University of Chicago, he was a Humanities Research Fellow at New York University Abu Dhabi and an assistant professor of Arabic intellectual heritage and culture at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Tahara Akmal

Supervisor, Clinical Pastoral Education; MA, Claremont

Tahara Akmal

Chaplain Tahara Akmal joined Moravian Theological Seminary in the Spring Semester of 2017 to teach in the Chaplaincy program.  She serves as the Director of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and ACPE Certified Educator at Reading Hospital in Reading, PA., and brings with her years of training and experience in chaplaincy.

But first—prior to her career in chaplaincy and education, Tahara worked for the Islāmic Information Service (IIS) in Altadena, California, as an Anchor and Segment Producer for IIS’ nationally broadcast television program, American Muslim Hour. She also hosted a southern California radio program, Islāmic Perspectives, and freelance writing for the Chicago, Illinois based Muslim Journal newspaper. Out of the many opportunities to engage the American Muslim community, interview clergy from various religions, and visit diverse houses of worship arose Tahara’s interest in interfaith ministry.

Through her education and training, Tahara has focused particularly on end-of-life issues. Her graduate studies internship project centered on the end-of-life care practices and rituals in Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, and Buddhism. She also conducted a research project entitled Islamic Law and Medical Ethics: Organ Transplant, Defining Death, and Life Sustaining Devices. In her second-year specialized CPE residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, Tahara’s specialized ministry was with family members of patients who suffered a traumatic brain or cardiac injury. She provided spiritual and emotional care as these families decided sensitive end-of-life care options, mainly organ donation for their loved one.

Tahara remained at Johns Hopkins Hospital to become a chaplain educator (ACPE Supervisor). As part of the certification process, she developed theories for teaching interfaith ministry rooted in Islāmic theology, humanistic psychology, pastoral care and counseling theories, and adult education theories. In May 2015, Tahara made history as the first Muslim woman since ACPE’s inception in 1967 to be certified as an Associate Supervisor. She was certified as a Full ACPE Supervisor in March 2016. In October 2016, Tahara received the Muslim American Chaplain’s Association Lifetime Achievement Award, an award given annually to an individual that demonstrates excellence in service to humanity.

Tahara is the mother of two sons and a daughter. When she has chance, Tahara likes to take road trips, exploring new areas and perhaps finding a few old treasures.

Shariq Siddiqi

Executive Director, ARNOVA; PhD, Philanthropic Studies, IU; JD, IU

Shariq Siddiqi

Dr. Shariq Siddiqui serves as the visiting director and assistant professor of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Shariq has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He also has a JD from the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University and holds a B.A. in History from the University of Indianapolis.

Shariq authors research on Muslim philanthropy and the Muslim nonprofit sector. Most recently, he conducted a national survey of full-time Islamic schools in the United States. This project resulted in the book (that he co-authored), Islamic Education in the United States and the Evolution of Muslim Nonprofit Institutions, that was published in November 2017. Shariq also serves as the co-editor of the new Journal on Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society and as the Series Editor of the Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society Book Series published by Indiana University Press. He has served as a nonprofit practitioner for over 20 years for international, national, regional, and local nonprofit organizations.

Shariq is also the Executive Director of Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). ARNOVA is a leading international association that connects scholars, teachers, and practice leaders in research on nonprofit organizations, voluntary action, philanthropy and civil society.

Refai Arefin

Assistant Imam, Islamic Association of Greater Hartford; Attorney

Refai Arefin

Imam Refai Arefin serves as the Assistant Imam of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford.  He pursued study of Arabic and Islamic sciences abroad for over ten years at Al-Azhar University and Qortoba Institute in Cairo, Egypt, at Balqa’a University in Amman, Jordan and under traditional tutelage in Fez, Morocco and Damascus, Syria.  He has spoken at countless mosques, churches, schools and universities throughout the State of Connecticut on Islam, its spiritual underpinnings and social manifestations.

Matiniah Yahya

Vice President, Muslim Endorsement Council of Connecticut

Matiniah Yahya

Chaplain Matiniah Yahya is a community chaplain, Master Disaster Chaplain, and former full-time Chaplain Resident at Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Association for Pastoral Care Education (ACPE) training program (completing a total of 4 units of CPE). In addition, she is a veteran elementary educator with a wide range of teaching, training, and consulting experiences in the US and the Middle East. Chaplain Yahya has been a volunteer hospital and prison chaplain as well as a Muslim marriage and family pastoral counselor for more than a decade. Currently Vice-President of the board of Muslim Endorsement Council of CT(MECC), Matiniah holds a BS in Human Services from Southern New Hampshire University and a Master’s in Education from Boston University. She is also a founding member and former Vice President for Community Chaplaincy and Education Chair for the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC). She currently teaches first grade at Noble Academy and serves as Vice-President of the Malik Human Services (MHSI) board.

Samuel Ross

Professor, TCU

Samuel Ross

Dr. Samuel Ross is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Texas Christian University (TCU).  He completed his PhD from Yale University 2018, specializing in Qur’an and tafsir.  He has worked many years with the Qasid Arabic Institute in Jordan, where he wrote one of their textbooks.

Salahuddin Muhammad

President, Association of Muslim Chaplains

Salahuddin Muhammad

Imam Dr. Salahuddin M. Muhammad is a retired Chaplain having served at Fishkill Correctional Facility (Beacon, NY) for 28 years, as Senior Imam of Masjid Al Ikhlas, (Newburgh, NY) for 26 years and as a Contract-Chaplain at Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY) for 17 years. Presently he serves as President of the Alumni Council and an Executive Board member of Hartford Seminary, President of the Association of Muslim Chaplains, and an Associate Imam of As Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh, NC. Additionally he is an Adjunct Professor at Wake Tech Community College, Raleigh, NC, where he is also the Adjunct Advisor for The Muslim Student Union (MSU). Imam Muhammad is member of Muslims for Social Justice (MSJ), and also a member of the Muslim American Public Affairs Council (MAPAC). His areas of expertise include: Islam, general Islamic studies, Islamic theology, Motivational Speaker, Christian/Muslim relations, criminal justice issues, and inmate advocacy. In addition to his work, he is a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather and brings this sensitivity to his work. He received his Masters of Professional Studies degree in Theology and Counseling from New York Theological Seminary and BA in the Social Sciences from SUNY at New Paltz. Imam Muhammad holds a D.Min. in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations from Hartford Seminary as well as a Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy.

Iyad Alnachef

CEO, Ascend Camp and Retreat Center-Dallas

Iyad Alnachef

Since 1999 Iyad has been managing local, regional and national grassroot organizations, mainly within the Muslim American community’s institutions. Between 1999 and 2005 he worked in Franklin, Michigan and Flint Islamic Centers as a Youth Director. While there he earned his Masters in Youth Development from Michigan State University, East Lansing. Then he moved to DC Area to work for the Boy Scouts of America 2005-2006. After that, he was hired as the Director a national youth-led organization (Muslim Youth of North America) that has grown its operation from 2 camps per year in 2007 to 13 camps in 2012 while sustaining a 95%+ satisfaction rate. In 2013 Iyad established the Center for Family & Community Development (CFCD). On September, 2017, Iyad founded Ascend Camp and Retreat Center, a privately owned community and youth development facility, located in the heart of Dallas.

Abubaker Al-Shingieti

former Executive Director, IIIT

Abubaker Al-Shingieti

Abubaker Ahmed Al-Shingieti is the vice president for Islamic programs at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. He is also the regional executive director for the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), coordinating IIIT research work in Europe and North America, and president of American Muslims for Constructive Engagement. An expert on Muslim world affairs, Al-Shingieti has been a research associate at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. In addition, he served as editor of Islamic Horizons, a monthly magazine of the Islamic Society of North America, and was a founding member of the Society for Islamic Thought and Culture in Khartoum, Sudan. Al-Shingieti was a participant in the International Higher Education Interfaith Leadership Forum.