Contributors

Svend White

Svend White is an Information Technology consultant and occasional Muslim activist. He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Oklahoma. He was raised a Muslim in Boston and has lived and/or worked in Europe, South Asia and the Persian Gulf. He has a Masters Degree in Religion (Islamic Studies) from the University of Georgia, Athens. His work has been published in several scholarly journals and he has contributed chapters and encyclopedia entries to scholarly volumes on Islam and Muslims. He is also has written for some prominent related online and print media, including Q-News, Islamica Magazine, ReligionDispatches.com, openDemocacy.net , and altmuslim.com.

Haroon Moghul

Haroon Moghul is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, a Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, and an Associate Editor at Religion Dispatches. He speaks frequently at mosques, universities, and conferences across the country and internationally. His first novel, The Order of Light (Penguin, 2006), was an eerie forecasting of the Arab Spring, featuring angry young men and women lighting themselves on fire to protest the injustices of an authoritarian Middle East. This spring, he gave a number of lectures explaining the Arab Spring through Star Wars. Born in New England, he’s lived in New York City for much of the last decade and is a lifelong Lakers fan. This May, he led almost 50 North American Muslims on a tour of the Muslim heritage of Spain, which he plans to expand to Bosnia and Turkey in the coming year.

Jason W. Moy

Jason W. Moy is an attorney working for the United States Army Judge Advocates General Corps. Born in San Francisco, California to non-Muslim parents, he converted to Islam while attending the University of Southern California on a Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship. He graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in military science. Jason furthered his education by going to law school at the University of California at Davis School of law. After law school, Jason was stationed in South Korea where he assisted Soldiers in civil and tax law matters. While in Korea, he became the de facto spiritual leader for several Muslim Soldiers stationed there. After Korea he became a defense counsel for Soldiers and spent 16 months in Afghanistan earning a Bronze Star for his service. He is currently at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and works as the brigade legal advisor for the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne).

Aman Ali

Aman Ali is an award winning storyteller in New York City and one of the only young American Muslim voices in the public spotlight today. His passionate and animated style of storytelling draws heavily from his upbringing and travels and continues to gain buzz from people all around the world. He’s made appearances on dozens of media outlets such as CNN, HBO, ABC News and NPR to talk about his upbringing as a 20-something Muslim born and raised in America. As a performer, he’s traveled all over the world and regularly hits the road for shows at colleges and theaters all around the country. As a reporter, he’s covered everything from Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts in New Orleans to Capitol Hill politics in Washington DC to hula festivals in Hawaii. He has received several awards for his reporting including one from the Associated Press in 2010 for his breaking news coverage in New York. He is also recognized for being the co-creator of the social media phenomenon 30 Mosques in 30 Days, a 13,000 mile road trip he took with his friend with the mission of telling authentic and compelling stories about Muslims in America.

Amer Ahmad

Amer Ahmad was named City of Chicago Comptroller by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on May 16, 2011. As Comptroller, he is responsible for the City’s revenue and finance functions including the billing and collection of city revenue, cash flow and debt management, processing vendor payments and payroll, preparing and maintaining official financial records, administration of employee and annuitant benefit programs, internal audit and risk management. Previously, Amer Ahmad served as a Senior Vice President and head of the public sector group at the Cleveland-based bank KeyCorp. He served as Deputy State Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer for the State of Ohio Treasury. In that capacity, he oversaw more than $11 billion in state investments, $9 billion in state debt obligations and over $150 billion per year in custodial assets for Ohio’s pension systems. Prior to becoming a public servant, Amer was a Vice President at the Chicago-based investment firm William Blair & Company. Amer received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his Bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University. Amer is married to Samar Kaukab Ahmad and resides in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

Mark Gonzales

An HBO Def Poet with a Master’s in Education, a Mexican and a Muslim, Mark Gonzales lives in the center of intersection. Living a line break of borders that resembles Kahlil Gibran and Pablo Neruda in a lyrical breakdance cypher, he is respected internationally for his creative approaches to suicide prevention, human rights and human development via performance, photojournalism, and narrative therapy. With a Master’s in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is at the forefront of curriculum development, relationship building, and healing strategy sharing between historically traumatized communities. He is the first poet of the Hip Hop generation from the States to perform in Syria, and was an invited performer at TEDxRamallah, the first TEDx talks held in Palestine. He is currently serving as visiting professor and artist in residence for the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.

Shahzad Husain Abbas

Shahzad Husain Abbas received his Bachelors and Master’s degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania. While there, he was awarded the Thouron Fellowship, which allowed him to continue his study of English Literature at the University of Cambridge in England. When Shahzad returned to America in the early 2000s, he pivoted his career path from academics to the Web. He has been helping online businesses connect with their customers through search and social media ever since. Shahzad is happily married with two wonderful, rambunctious children, and he and his wife are making every effort to expose them to the beauty of Islam. (Shahzad’s also doing everything in his power to make sure they become lifelong Yankee fans).

Daayiee Abdullah

Daayiee Abdullah is a scholar, a former public interest lawyer and a specialist in Shari’ah Sciences/Qur’anic Interpretation. He frequently lectures internationally on progressive Muslim concepts, intra-faith and interfaith networking and the development of inclusive revisions of Islamic theological thought and interpretations of shari‘ah and fiqh. He has also long been involved in actively promoting understanding and awareness of issues of racial, gender and sexual equality both within and beyond Muslim communities.

Hussein Rashid

Hussein Rashid (http://www.husseinrashid.com/) is a proud Muslim and native New Yorker. He is an academic, activist, and lecturer. Currently, he is a faculty member a Hofstra University and Associate Editor at Religion Dispatches. He is the convener of islamicate and a contributor to Talk Islam and AltMuslimah; his work has appeared at City of Brass, Goat Milk, and CNN.com. He has appeared on CBS Evening News, CNN, Russia Today, Channel 4 (UK), BBC, NPR, State of Belief — Air America Radio, and Iqra TV (Saudi Arabia). He is also an instructor at Quest: A Center for Spiritual Inquiry at the Park Avenue Christian Church. He has been a visiting professor at Virginia Theological Seminary and Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. As a Nizari Ismaili Muslim, he believes his faith guides him to do good in this world, to leave the world in a better state than he found for his, and others’, children.

Adisa Banjoko

Adisa Banjoko is an author and journalist born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a pioneer journalist on the relationship to Islam and Hip-Hop. Adisa founded the Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) in 2007. The HHCF fuses music, chess, and martial arts to promote unity, strategy, and nonviolence. Adisa has lectured at Harvard, Brown, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and many other universities to speak on urban culture. Adisa and the HHCF was honored in 2009 by the San Francisco School Board of Education for its contributions to the children of San Francisco. He was also named one of the “Hot 20 under 40” by San Francisco’s 7×7 magazine.

Jason van Boom

Jason van Boom is an historian, writer, and journalist. He is Director and co-founder of Nicholas of Cusa Institute (NOCI), an independent think tank, research and consulting organization specializing in issues of local, national and European identity. Jason’s current research interests lie in comparative studies of Christian and Islamic thought. He did his doctoral studies at Graduate Theological Union, specializing in the history of Christianity. He got his M.A. in medieval philosophy from Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, and his B.A. in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, California. He was the original host of Islam and Authors, the first program in America dedicated to new books on Islam and Muslims. Jason contributes to Huffington Post, ILLUME Magazine, and Tikkun Daily.

Fares Alhassen

Fares Alhassen received his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in 1998 and his MS and PhD in ECE at the University of California, Irvine, in 2004 and 2008, respectively. He is currently an associate specialist in the Physics Research Laboratory in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at UCSF. He was a fellow of the 2007 cohort of NewGround, a Muslim-Jewish interfaith dialogue group based in the Los Angeles area. He enjoys spending time with family, whether it is hiking with his dear wife or visiting parents, siblings, and in-laws.

Shahed Amanullah

Shahed Amanullah currently serves as Senior Advisor for Technology for the Office of the Special Representative to Muslim Communities at the US Department of State, working on digital diplomacy projects for the Special Representative, who reports directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Before joining the US State Department, Shahed served as CEO of Halalfire, which produces compelling online content for and market research on global Muslim communities. He founded and served as editor-in-chief of altmuslim.com, a leading online newsmagazine focusing on Muslim issues. Together with zabihah.com, the world’s largest guide to Halal restaurants and markets, Halalfire properties serve over 12 million unique users per year, in addition to over 100,000 iPhone app downloads. Shahed was named twice (2009 and 2010) as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by Georgetown University and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan, as well as one of the top 10 most visionary young Muslims by Islamica Magazine (2007). He is the winner of the SXSW Dewey Winburne Award for Community Service (2007).

Shakeer Abdullah

Shakeer Abdullah is the Director of the Multicultural Center at Auburn University. He has worked at Auburn since July 2008. In his position, he is responsible for the programming, operations, and management of the Multicultural Center and he also advises its various student organizations. In addition to his work in the Center, Mr. Abdullah has also taught courses at Auburn and has served on a number of campus committees. Prior to coming to Auburn, Shakeer was the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Capital University Law School. In that position, he was charged with facilitating the success of students of color at the Law School and supporting students with disabilities. Previously, he worked at The Ohio State University as the Coordinator of New Diversity Initiatives in the Multicultural Center. Abdullah earned his Masters in Higher Education from OSU. Before going to OSU, Shakeer was Director of Minority Recruitment at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where he received his Bachelors in Business Management. He is currently completing a PhD in higher education Administration at Auburn. Originally from Canton, Ohio, He is one of 17 children. His hobbies include attending live musical events, movies, reading, maintaining an active lifestyle, and traveling. He has traveled to more than 10 countries and looks forward to visiting even more. Shakeer and his wife Alida are the proud parents of a son and two daughters.

Baraka Blue

Baraka Blue is an emcee and spoken word artist residing in Oakland California. Part of aMuslim musicians collective Remarkable Current, Baraka Blue has performed all over the US as well as the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. His first album, “Sound Heart” was released in 2010. He is acclaimed for his original synthesis of spoken word poetry with the tradition of Sufi poets such as Rumi and Hafiz. His book of poetry, entitled “Disembodied Kneelings,” was recently published by Remarkable Current Collective Editions. In addition to his performances he has taught classes and led creative writing workshops internationally. Baraka Blue is currently pursuing his Masters Degree with a focus on Sufism and Psychology. His sophmore album “Majunun’s Lost Memoirs” will be released soon.

Tynan Power

Tynan Power is a progressive Muslim leader and educator, as well as a professional writer and communications specialist. As the founder of Pioneer Valley Progressive Muslims, he is deeply committed to non-sectarian community building and encourages full participation and inclusion of those often traditionally excluded from congregational life and leadership, including women and LGBTQ individuals. His writing and expertise cover a range of topics including contemporary Muslim concerns, interfaith understanding, LGBTQ issues, transgender rights and realities, and disability rights. He is the parent of two young adult sons.

Aziz H. Poonawalla

Aziz H. Poonawalla, Ph.D. is a Medical Physicist specializing in diagnostic imaging. His scientific research is published in academic journals including Radiology, Multiple Sclerosis, and the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. He holds an honorary fellowship at the University of Wisconsin and is also an adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Houston. A member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, he has authored the City of Brass blog for over eight years. He also co-founded the annual Brass Crescent Awards for muslim blogs and bloggers, and administers TalkIslam, a global muslim debate forum. He lives near Madison, WI with his wife and children. Follow him on Twitter as @azizhp or visit about.me/aziz for more information.

Kamran Pasha

Kamran Pasha is a screenwriter and director, and is one of the first Muslims to succeed in Hollywood. Kamran recently served as Co-Executive Producer for Disney’s new “Tron” animated television series. Previously he served as a writer and producer for NBC’s television series “Kings.” His other credits include serving as producer on NBC’s remake of “Bionic Woman,” and co-producer of Showtime Network’s Golden Globe nominated series “Sleeper Cell,” about a Muslim FBI agent who infiltrates a terrorist group. Kamran is a published novelist as well. Simon and Schuster recently published “Mother of the Believers,” a novel showing the rise of Islam from the eyes of Prophet Muhammad’s wife Aisha. His second novel, “Shadow of the Swords,” follows the conflict between Richard the Lionheart and the Muslim leader Saladin for control of Jerusalem during the Crusades. Kamran’s Hollywood career launched when he sold his first movie script to Warner Brothers Pictures, an historical epic on the love story behind the building of the Taj Mahal. He is currently writing an epic film entitled “The Voyage of Ibn Battuta,” which follows the adventures of the famous Arab traveler who journeyed to China in the 14th century.

Davi Barker

Davi Barker was born in California, but spent much of his childhood traveling with his family. On this journey he was struck by the wonders of nature. A lightning storm over a primordial desert in Arabia, the cherry blossom petals sprinkling on the floating markets in Thailand, or snorkeling the coral reefs of the Maldives. The sun setting on the Bay Area always reminds him that God is a better painter than him. Back home he felt alienated, and spent his adolescence as an outsider. He is realizing recently that his sense of separation is not the result of uniqueness, but of a universal similarity that crosses all cultures, and creeds. We can only be as alienated from each other as we are separated from our true self, and we can only be as alienated from our self as we are separated from nature.

Dawud Walid

Dawud Walid, who is a revert to Islam particularly due to the influence of conscious hip-hop music of the late 1980’s, is a student of the late Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, the son of the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Walid has traveled to 16 different countries including making hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca twice and speaking twice at the Malian Conference for Peace and Tolerance in Bamako, Mali.

Hasan Minhaj

Hasan Minhaj is a comedian, actor, and writer based in Los Angeles, California. He currently plays the role of “Seth” on ABC Family’s “State of Georgia” and is a series regular on MTV’s improv comedy show “Disaster Date.” Hasan has appeared on E!‘s “Chelsea Lately,” Fox’s “The Wanda Sykes Show,” and Comedy Central’s “Legend of Neil.” His debut album “Hasan Minhaj: Leaning on Expensive Cars and Getting Paid to Do It” is now available on Itunes/Amazon.

Mazen Asbahi

Mazen Asbahi is an attorney and community organizer based in Chicago and Washington D.C. As an attorney, he practices in the areas of business, healthcare and nonprofit law, counseling a wide variety of clients on transactional and regulatory matters. In addition to his legal practice, Mazen serves as a policy advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council and on the boards of the Council of Islamic Organization of Greater Chicago and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. In addition, Mazen remains active in the Democratic Party and is a co-founder of the National Muslim Democratic Council.

Aziz Hasan

Aziz Hasan has a personal goal to win the ultimate slashie award. While that may be a fictitious award, he strives to always learn new skills. He eventually wants to say, “I’m a designer-slash-marketer-slash-dancer-slash-etc, etc.” But in the meantime, to keep some consistency and a day job, Aziz is the Marketing and Brand Director of the fashion line, Eva Khurshid and a Digital Media and Creative Strategist at SAY Media, an advertising and media company. With Eva Khurshid Aziz focuses on the vision behind the brand ranging from it’s brand positioning to it’s visual expression. At SAY Media, Aziz is part of a niche creative department specializing in building custom programs aimed to help brands communicate their message in the digital space through engaging ad experiences. Beyond the desk, Aziz is a freelance graphic designer building brand identities for emerging companies. He builds their brand concept, visual identity and marketing collateral. Another passion point is dance. Aziz is an avid hip-hop dancer focusing on popping and waving.

Sami H. Elmansoury

Sami H. Elmansoury is a political activist, entrepreneur, orator, and community leader. While a student at Rutgers University, Elmansoury co-founded the Human Development Project, an apolitical organization dedicated to Judeo-Muslim unity through the shared values of improving one’s world and empowering communities through service. In 2005, he was the first recipient of the People of the Book Award, presented by Rutgers University for his persistent work in bridge-building, for promoting a stronger appreciation for the strength in America’s diversity, and for positively altering the campus climate. In 2008 and 2009, Elmansoury actively served with national and state political campaigns, each time focusing in part on the strengthened involvement of traditionally disenfranchised groups. In 2010, he was one of just 70 young people nationwide to be invited into the Department of State’s Generation Change initiative, which included an inaugural reception with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. An avid writer and public speaker, Elmansoury has spoken at events and conferences throughout the United States, and has been featured in various media outlets. He also serves on the boards of several local and national organizations. Elmansoury graduated from Rutgers University in 2006, and currently resides in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, with his family.

Justin Mashouf

Justin Mashouf is a filmmaker and artist living in Los Angeles, California. Justin’s most recent documentary Warring Factions follows him to Iran where he meets a group of young Iranian breakdancers for an impromptu boy battle. Justin’s work deals with the blurring of borders and his unique interactions with the Muslim world.

Mohamed Geraldez

Mohamed Geraldez (aka Mohamed Yahya) is an American Muslim entrepreneur, businessman and investor in a few companies in different industries such as the first and largest vegan necktie company in the world www.JaanJ.com, and the digital technology platform www.ScholarView.org that allows Muslim lecturers to monetize their media content libraries. He also serves as an advisory board member to several entities like the Information Technology Consulting Firm, GeniusCo, and the American Muslim Consumer Conference group that hosts the most important yearly gathering connecting leading American companies with American Muslim entrepreneurs, companies, businessmen/women and investors. Mohamed was recently tapped to be the first Executive Director for Co-Founder, Dr. Sherman Jackson’s ALIM Institute where strategies are being developed for the future of Islam in the modern world. Mohamed hopes to transform ALIM Institute from a traditional non-profit to a trailblazing, hybrid non-profit that can better serve the American Muslim community. Mr. Geraldez converted to Islam during his junior year in college. Upon graduating, he went overseas to study the Islamic sciences for nearly four years in Syria, Morocco, Mauritania and the Saharan Desert with some of the most renowned scholars of the Muslim world. After studying abroad, he returned to the U.S. to obtain his Master’s degree in business (MBA). Mohamed currently resides in Southern California and travels throughout the world for business and speaking engagements. Find Mohamed on Facebook and Twitter.

Obaid H. Siddiqui

Obaid H. Siddiqui is a writer based in Philadelphia. He was trained as a journalist, but upon realizing he was the only one interested in reading his byline, he changed fields and is now a marketing professional for a global firm. Born the youngest of four children to Indo-Pakistani immigrants, multiple relocations in his youth led him from the deep South to the Mid-Atlantic region, where a lone year spent in a South Jersey Italian neighborhood eviscerated his strong southern accent. With the soul of a Bedouin and the appetite of a Viking, he is a voracious consumer of conversations with friends and family, quality journalism, self-reflection, Alabama football, and cheese steaks. When not with loved ones, Obaid can be found slowly stroking his beard and staring off into the distance, while thinking of cheese steaks and world peace. He plans to retire at the age of 35 and move to Greece. He’s also a poor planner.

Khaled A. Beydoun

Khaled A. Beydoun is a lawyer, author and consultant. He is Arab American, with roots in Egypt, Lebanon, and Detroit. He graduated from the University of Michigan, earned his JD from the UCLA School of Law, and an LLM from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Mr. Beydoun is an experienced attorney, education consultant, and avid writer. He has published scholarship and a book addressing affirmative action and education, human trafficking and human rights, multiculturalism, and Islam. He is most proud of being the son of Fikrieh Beydoun, his mother and hero. Khaled can be reached at kabeydoun@gmail.com.

Sameer S. Sarmast

Sameer S. Sarmast is a New Jersey native where he is an active member of his local community. Sameer’s educational background includes a B.S. degree in Finance and Management Information Systems from Rutgers University in N.J. and a M.S. degree in Management from Northeastern University in MA. While working in financial services as a VP of Investments, Sameer also maintains a Halal food web show, “Sameer’s Eats” with his Creative Director, Saad Malik. Sameer strives to share his passion for Halal food by delivering quality episodes as a guide to the best Halal restaurants throughout North America. Sameer aspires to make it to the Food Network as the face of the Halal Food industry. He is also the Treasurer and Events Chair for the Rutgers University Muslim Alumni Association. On his spare time, Sameer seeks Islamic knowledge, travels, BBQs and spends quality time with his family and friends. Catch Sameer at: http://www.sameerseats.com or contact him at eat@sameerseats.com.

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is a New York native, who has had ample adventures in the woods of Upstate NY, Oakland, CA, the Joshua Tree Desert, Boston Harbor, and Rhode Island. He would most likely beat you in a (short) foot race. He sings Marvin Gaye to his infant son, blogs about social justice, sports, the environment, music, and other pedestrianism related topics. He has been described as artistic and socially conscious. Ibrahim rides a fixed-gear bicycle, reads comic books, loves cold weather, black people, and his native New York State. He also very seriously works as a policy advisor to Mayor Bloomberg and is the author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet (buy it). Ibrahim is a regular contributor to WNYC’s “The Takeaway” (listen to the show) and one day you will read some of his fiction (insha’llah!). If you see him on the subway, don’t act like a stranger. Ibrahim lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Fatima Ashraf, and their son Ismael.

Aamer Jamali

Aamer Jamali, MD, is an interventional cardiologist in private practice in the Los Angeles area and an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA School of Medicine. Born in Detroit, Michigan to Indian parents, he moved to California when he was ten years old and has never left. With an undergraduate degree from Berkeley, his medical training was at UCLA and Stanford University, where he received awards in medical research for his contributions to the medical literature. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Sakina, and their two daughters. He is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Ismaili Shi‘a Muslims. He is active in the Los Angeles chapter, and he has received the honorific status of “Mullah.” He is indebted to the spiritual guidance of his Da’i, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS), who served as a beacon during the tumultuous times he has described. When he is not working, he enjoys golf and training in the martial arts.

Umair Khan

Umair Khan is Counsel to New York State Senator Kevin Parker. He previously served as the Assistant Counsel in the office of the Majority Whip. He started in the NY Senate as a Graduate Fellow with State Senator Bill Perkins. Umair graduated from Albany Law School, where he was the founder/director of the Appellate Advocacy Project. Umair and his classmates filed amicus curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in Safford v. Redding and Ashcroft v. Iqbal. He published a law review article titled, “Tortured Pleadings: The Historical Development and Recent Fall of the Liberal Pleadings Standard.” His work was cited by the House Judiciary Committee on its hearings on the Iqbal decision. He has also worked for U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn, U.S. Magistrate Judge Randolph Treece, and the Albany County District Attorney’s Office. Before going to Albany, Umair served as a Legislative Assistant on foreign policy to Congressman Bob Filner. He also coordinated ethnic outreach for the Kerry Presidential campaign and served as the APAICS-Frank Horton Fellow with Congressman Mike Honda. Umair was also a founder of the Congressional Muslims Staffers Association. Umair received his BA in Government and Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University in 2003.

Wahid Momand

Wahid Momand is an IT professional. He is a graduate of San Jose State University and has worked in Silicon Valley as an IT professional since 2000. Ever since Wahid arrived in the United States at a very young age, he wanted to tell a story: A story of an Afghan families struggles in post-Soviet invasion Afghanistan, a story of escape through the mountains, deserts, and mindfields of Afghanistan, under the watchful eyes of Soviet gunships across the border and finally settling in California. Wahid finished writing his story in1996. After the events of 9/11 he decided to share his story to the world, and is currently working to polish the manuscript for publication. He currently resides in in Newport Beach, California.

Michael Muhammad Knight

Michael Muhammad Knight is the author of eight books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel, The Taqwacores, and his hajj narrative, Journey to the End of Islam. His work has been translated into multiple languages and taught in numerous college and university courses. He earned an MTS (Master of Theological Studies) degree from Harvard University, and is presently a PhD student in Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ehab Zahriyeh

Ehab Zahriyeh is an independent multimedia journalist based in New York. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY to Palestinian parents, Ehab studied Political Science, Journalism, and History at Baruch College, CUNY where he graduated in 2008. Since then, he’s work for NY1 News as a video journalist and has had his work published in various other outlets. He has traveled to Palestine/ Israel, Jordan, and Morocco, and recently to Egypt to freelance report for Press TV about the nation after the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s presidency.

Irfan Rydhan

Irfan Rydhan is a “Multi-Media” Muslim activist who lives in the Bay Area. He is an architectural designer by profession (B.A. Architecture, 1997 U.C. Berkeley), but a passionate enthusiast in media arts and activism. His background includes non-profit management, film/video production and graphic art/design. In 1998, Irfan co-founded with Javaid Malik of Jam-Productions, an international video/film company, which was the first Muslim owned independent video and film production company in the Bay Area. Irfan, along with his partner, created several Muslim themed projects, most notable was the 45 minute documentary: “The Aftermath: American-Muslims After Sept. 11 th”, which aired locally on San Jose and Oakland television channels as well as was featured in the ISNA Film Festival in Chicago in 2003. Irfan is one of the founding members of the SBIA Media Committee (www.MediaAndIslam.com), which conducts training programs and classes on how to effectively interact with the Media in it’s coverage of issues relating to Islam and Muslims in the Bay Area. Irfan is currently serving as the Public Relations Director for ILLUME Magazine (www.IllumeMagazine.com) and has his own featured blog about Architecture, Islamic Art, Media and Halal Food called: Al Mihrab: The Place of War (http://almihrab.wordpress.com).

Kofi Rashid

Kofi Rashid describes his conversion to Islam as very anti-climatic. For him it just felt like the right thing, the most logical thing to do, given how he was raised and what he was learning about this amazing way of life. Born to a Jewish mother and an atheist father, he nonetheless converted to Islam at 19 and says that it forever clarified his outlook on life. At the age of 26, Kofi was given the opportunity to work and live in Malaysia and jumped at the chance to fulfill a new longing to stretch his horizons beyond the shores of North America. While overseas, Kofi was very fortunate to have worked on projects, which directly served three prime ministers (Malaysia, Vietnam and UAE). As an American Muslim who lived for 11 years in a Muslim majority country (UAE) and worked for the private office of a Muslim leader (His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum), Kofi’s perspective about the world, Islam, his community and his life went through many evolutions. Now back in America, Kofi is taking the opportunity to use his experience, knowledge and values to have a more direct impact on the Muslim American community and still stay connected to the global network of friends and colleagues he built over the years. This essay is a brief introduction to Kofi’s experience becoming a Muslim and the impact and influence it has had on his life.

Atif Moon

Atif Moon was born in 1985 with a late stage cancer of the spinal cord and had little chance of survival. Despite 3 surgeries at the age of 1 month and 4 more surgeries, one lasting 14 hours, he moved forward with his life and graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics in 2007 and received his Master’s degree in Sport Management in 2011 with 4.0 GPA. He has worked for prominent organizations, including Fox Sports, NBC and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the Los Angeles Clippers. In 2006, Atif also had the great honor of working for the President as White House Intern. Since his early childhood, Atif has been involved in wheelchair tennis and was ranked among the top Junior players in the nation by the United States Tennis Association (USTA). Atif was the first Muslim to receive the Ten Outstanding Young Americans award by the United States Junior Chamber in 2009. He is also the Co-founder of the Center for Global Understanding (CFGU), a non-profit educational organization to encourage under-represented minorities, including Muslim American college students, to participate in civic engagement. Atif is currently pursuing a career in Sports Marketing and lives in Southern California.

Basim Elkarra

Basim Elkarra is Executive Director of the Sacramento Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Elkarra was re-elected in 2011 to the California Democratic Party’s Executive Board and Chairs its Arab American Caucus and Affirmative Action Committee. Elkarra chairs CAIR-California’s Muslim Youth Leadership Program (MYLP) Conference at the State Capitol. Elkarra appears regularly in the media as a commentator on issues of civil liberties and foreign affairs. Elkarra serves on the American Civil Liberties Union-Sacramento Chapter Board, New Leaders Council (NLC-Sacramento) Advisory Board, Sacramento Police Multicultural Advisory Committee and Chairs the Los Rios College Bond Oversight Committee . Elkarra, a San Francisco native, holds degrees in Political Science and Middle Eastern studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Southern California’s American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI). Elkarra is currently a senior fellow with the American Leadership Forum.

Abid Husain

Abid Husain is a middle school math teacher who resides in Tacoma, Washington. He was born and raised in Laramie, Wyoming, and is proud of his Wyoming roots. Abid is the youngest of five children of one of the earliest known Muslim families in the sparsely populated state. He studied Civil Engineering throughout his college years; has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He eventually made a transition to teaching in order to find a career that led to more personal fulfillment by impacting the lives of those around him. More importantly Abid one day hopes to mold the middle school basketball team he coaches into a dynasty akin to his beloved Showtime-era Los Angeles Lakers.

Preacher Moss

Preacher Moss has long been an advocate of a positive social message in the Muslim and non-Muslim communities. His ideologies on social activism, and community life directly mirror that of the African-American Muslim community under Imam W. D. Muhammad to the recognition of the need for indigenous and immigrant Muslim sustainable development in the United States and abroad. A Hollywood comedy writer, and a successful mainstream college, and comedy club circuit comedian, Moss has traversed the many levels of speaking truth to power and with God’s mercy and favor continues to do so. His principles explained with the least of complexity. He begins as he ends, “Allah is God. Keep it Simple.”

Rashid Dar

Rashid Dar recently graduated with Honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He majored in Global Security, with certificates in both Middle East and South Asian Studies. His interest areas include geopolitical strategy, Islamic legal and political theory, and Islamist movements. The evolutions of modern Muslim identity hold are of particular interest to him — more specifically the potential impact that the development of a spirit of modern Muslim cosmopolitanism can have on global affairs, from citizenry on the ground to leaders at the highest of echelons of power. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, music, film, baking, and contact sports. What he prefers perhaps more than all of this though is engaged conversation with good people, preferably over hot beverages and cookies.

Imam Omar Suleiman

With his youth and dynamic style of speaking along with his unique depth and grasp on Islamic sciences, Imam Omar Suleiman is a national figure in the Muslim community and an up and coming speaker at Islamic events worldwide. For the past 6 years, he has served as the Imam of Masjid Abu Bakr (Jefferson Muslim Association) in New Orleans, a member of the Islamic Circle of North America Shariah Council, and a Professor of Theology, Qur’anic Exegesis, History, and Heresiology at various University level institutes including the Islamic University of North America and the Islamic Learning Foundation. He is also the outreach director of Muslims for Humanity in Louisiana and one of the founders of the East Jefferson Interfaith Clergy Association.

Humza Ilyas

Humza Ilyas is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. He attended Penn State University before pursuing his medical education at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA. After concluding his post-graduate training in New York and Wisconsin, Humza moved to the Atlanta area where he is a practicing dermatologist and Mohs surgeon (for the treatment of skin cancer). Humza is an active participant with several interfaith groups, both in his native Pittsburgh as well as in Georgia. He enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family. He resides in Atlanta with his wife and daughter.

Suhail A. Khan

Suhail A. Khan is a DC-based attorney and conservative activist who serves as Chairman of the Conservative Inclusion Coalition (CIC), an organization dedicated to promoting the conservative message to Americans of all ethnic, racial and faith backgrounds. and has experience serving on Capitol Hill, the Executive Branch including the White House, political campaigns, and on the boards of various advocacy organizations including the American Conservative Union and the Buxton Interfaith Initiative. In 2010, Suhail led a delegation of major Muslim American faith and community leaders to Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps. Upon returning to the U.S., the delegation issued a statement and testified before Congress condemning Holocaust-denial and anti-Semitism. Suhail earned a BA in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and his JD from the University of Iowa.