Siraj Wahhaj is an African-American Muslim convert to Islam and public figure for Muslims in North America. Born and raised in New York, he became a Sunday school teacher at a young age, then later went to Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) where he studied biology education. He was chosen to study Islam at the Umm al-Qura University of Mecca in 1978. He also briefly taught a course in Islamic studies at Howard University. In 1981, he started his own mosque, Masijdul-Taqwa, in a friend's apartment in Brooklyn. Although it originally started out with only 25 people, today it is very well-known. In 1988, he led his community in an anti-drug patrol in which they staked out drug houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the cold of winter for 40 days and nights, forcing the closure of 15 drug houses. This effort received high praise from the New York City Police Department and the media. Since that time, Siraj has been active in many Islamic organizations. In 1991, Siraj was the first Muslim to offer an invocation (opening prayer) to the United States House of Representatives. He has been vice president of the Islamic Society of North America since 1997 and has served on the Majlis al-Shura, a consultative council of Islamic scholars, since 1987. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the American Muslim Council and has also served on the national board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Siraj is a prolific speaker in America. He makes many appearances at major North American Muslim conventions, and numerous forums and lectures in New England. He is currently the Imam of Al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, New York and the Amir (Leader) of The Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA). His audio and video lectures are popular in America's Muslim community. He is known to encourage Muslims to be God-fearing, enjoin good and forbid evil, practice regular charity, stay away from drugs, abstain from pre-marital relations, among other issues. He has also appeared on several national television talk shows, and has had interviews with several media outlets.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mogahed Consulting; former Executive Director of Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Areas of Expertise: Muslim public opinion, public support and rejection of violent ideologies, Egyptian public opinion, gender justice in the Middle East, Muslim Americans post-9/11, Arab youth unemployment. Dalia Mogahed is Chairman and CEO of Mogahed Consulting, a Washington, D.C. based executive coaching and consulting firm specializing in Muslim societies and the Middle East. She is former Executive Director of and Senior Analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslims worldwide, including in the U.S. and Europe. With John L. Esposito, she coauthored the groundbreaking 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, making her the first Muslim-American woman to hold a position of this seniority. In this role, Mogahed joined other American leaders in offering recommendations to the U.S. president on how faith-based organizations can best work with the government to solve society’s toughest challenges
Jimmy Jones is secretary of CAIR's national board and has been a civil and human rights activist for more than three decades. Dr. Jones is a tenured associate professor of world religions with a concurrent appointment in African studies at Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY). As chair of the board of the Islamic Seminary Foundation, Prof. Jones is involved in several projects that are designed to set professional standards, develop support networks and establish educational/training initiatives for imams, chaplains and other persons who lead in or provide services to the Muslim American community. Dr. Jones' writing, research and lecture activities are focused on comparative religions, Muslim American identity development and conflict resolution. He has lectured at, taught at, or consulted to institutions in Bahrain, Bermuda, Bosnia, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Jerusalem, Trinidad-Tobago, Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, United Arab Emirates and throughout the United States. A member of the American Academy of Religion, Prof. Jones holds a bachelor's degree from Hampton University, a master's degree from Yale Divinity School and a doctorate in ministry from the Hartford Seminary
Mazen Mokhtar the National Executive Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and is a member of the New Jersey Chapter. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Mokhtar holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and currently owns and runs a New Jersey based Computer Consulting business. Mazen holds regular classes in topics such as the exegesis of the Quran, seerah and activism and has a personal interest in the field of Islamic activism and youth development.
Khalilah Sabra is currently the Executive Director and Project developer for MAS Immigrant Justice Center. As an Accredited Representative, appears as counsel for aliens in immigration proceedings before Executive Office for Immigration Review immigration courts; the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board), and before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She designs and implements national programs supporting human rights, civil rights advocacy, democratic immigration protocols, gender justice and advancing the recognition of Muslims rights and the rights of all marginalized and minority citizens; initiates alliances that promote inclusion and non-discrimination. Khalilah Sabra has served and continues to serves as a board member of several organizations and committees, including: the North Carolina Peace Action, the ACLU Racial profiling Committee, and the MEPI International Women's Committee. Sabra is currently the Executive Director and Project developer for MAS Immigrant Justice Center. As an Accredited Representative, appears as counsel for aliens in immigration proceedings before Executive Office for Immigration Review immigration courts; the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board), and before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She designs and implements national programs supporting human rights, civil rights advocacy, democratic immigration protocols, gender justice and advancing the recognition of Muslims rights and the rights of all marginalized and minority citizens; initiates alliances that promote inclusion and non-discrimination. Khalilah Sabra has served and continues to serves as a board member of several organizations and committees, including: the North Carolina Peace Action, the ACLU Racial profiling Committee, and the MEPI International Women's Committee.
Dr. Hamed Ghazali, has extensive experience in the field of Tarbiyah and issues related to work in classroom management. He holds a Ph.D. from the department of Curriculum and Instruction, Kansas State University. Dr. Ghazali worked as a Principal and Superintendent of several Islamic Schools. His current and previous positions:
•Director of the Houston Quran Academy 2008-Present
•Superintendent, Iman Academy of Houston, Texas 2005-2008
•Chairman of the MAS Council of Islamic Schools: 1999- Present
•Adjunct professor with the Islamic American University. 2004- Present
•Consultant, Islamic School of Irving, Islamic School of Austin, Islamic School of Tulsa, and Islamic School of Greater Kansas City. 2006-Present
•Consultant, United Nations 2005- 2008
•Member of the Advisory Board of the Faith and Services Technical Educational Network (FASTEN), which is an affiliate of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). 2002 – 2006
•Superintendent, Andalusia School, New York City (Part time) – 2005 – 2006
•Principal of the Islamic School of Greater Kansas City, 1996 – 2005
Dr. Mohamed Abdelati was born in 1967 in Egypt. He studied in the Al-Azhar Univerity and obtained a certificate of Koranic recitations in 1987. Additionally, Dr. Abdelati obtained a bachelor's degree of "Senior in Religious Services" with a qualification of "License of Fundamentals of Islamic Religion" in May 1989. Dr. Abdelati also obtained his master's degree from the same university in May 2000. The subject of his thesis was “Evangelistic Employment for Theatrical Art". Last but not least, Dr. Abdelati earned his PhD in Religion Fundamentals in June 2005. Dr. Abdelati has been with the NHIC since 2000. He helped start the weekend Islamic school, Koran memorization for children, and Halaqa for sisters and youth.? He has tremendously contributed to the spiritual growth of the NHIC's community. He instilled in the heart of its congregants love for one another, for Islam, and for all mankind regardless of race, religion and ethnicity.
Imam RefaiArefin 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.
Imam Refai Arefin received his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Brown University.
Saadia Z. Yunus, MA, LMFT earned her Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy summa cum laude from Hofstra University in New York. She is experienced in working with individuals, couples, families, and groups from many ethnic backgrounds and religions. She is skilled in the modalities of structural family therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. She has also completed Level 1 Training of the Gottman Method couples therapy.