Imam Hamzah was born and raised Muslim in New Haven, Connecticut and has a passion for maintaining the intergenerational continuity of Islam.
He is al Azhar graduate who has studied and taught Islam for over 15 years. He has memorized the Holy Quran, and served as a teacher for Islamic schools and Masjids in Georgia, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and in the Middle East. He also obtained a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies and Leadership from Bayan Claremont.
He founded Miraaj Academy in 2017 to teach Qur’an, and leadership skills to Muslim American youth within an American context. He conveys knowledge and religious teaching through experiential learning with focus on internalization of concepts learned. Experiential learning projects include urban gardens, food pantry, Youth Leadership Institute and Islamic Studies Curriculum Development.
He also co-founded Midtown Mosque in 2015 as an effort to revitalized blighted areas in Memphis, Tennessee and with the aspiration of creating a model of spiritual-based activism, in which sacred knowledge and application are cultivated and harmonized.
Imam Hamzah is also a founder of UMMAH (United Masjids Making American History) which is a national collaborative of Imams from inner-city masjids that collaborate to uplift grassroots communities. He is currently the President of Mirage Academy and Imam of Midtown Mosque in Memphis, Tennessee.
Imam Dr. Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid has been the religious and spiritual leader (Imam) of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc. since November 1989. The mosque, located in Harlem, New York City, is the fifty-three-year-old lineal descendant of the Muslim Mosque Inc. founded by the late El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) in 1964. Imam ‘Abdur-Rashid is also a former Ameer (President) of the Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan New York. Currently he is its Special Assistant for Restorative Justice, Civil and Human Rights. Nationally, the imam currently serves as the Deputy Amir (Vice President) of The Muslim Alliance in North America.
A Muslim social justice activist, the Imam’s mission of service has been rich and varied over more than three decades:
Imam Nadim Ali is originally from Chester, Pennsylvania and has resided in Atlanta, Georgia since 1979.
He reverted to Islam in 1978 in Philadelphia, PA. Under the auspices of the Darul Islam Movement, and is currently a part of Al-Ummah.
He is the Imam of the Community Masjid of Atlanta and the former Convener for the Metro Atlanta Majlis Ash-Shura and founding member of MANA (Muslim Alliance of North America.)
Imam Nadim works as a licensed professional & master addiction counselor and serves Muslims and the general community. Offering counseling services consisting of Pre-Marital, Marital, and Individual counseling. He is a therapist and consultant in Stress Management, Violence Prevention, and Tai Chi. He has been educating communities about the dangers of addiction, counseling patients on relapse prevention, and how to make healthier life choices. He also uses alternative methods such as Tai Chi, (ancient Chinese slow-motion exercise), as intervention treatment for addiction, stress reduction and anger management.
He has the unique ability to incorporate spiritual teachings, community activism and holistic “approaches” to deep seeded problems in the community. This unique combination had made him a bedrock in communities on which thousands have relied on for decades.
He has authored numerous articles on counseling, and family matters, and he is also the co-founder of the Spoken word acapella Group Dawah Ensemble.
He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Shippensburg State University, a Master’s degree in counseling psychology from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Master of Addiction Counselor.
Dr. Ihsan Bagby is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky (2002-present). He holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Michigan (1985) where he studied under Dr. Umar Farooq Abdallah.
Dr. Bagby’s research for the past 25 years has focused on the Muslim community in America, the American mosque, and the African American Muslim community. He has conducted two comprehensive studies of mosques in America (2000 and 2010) resulting in four monographs and seven articles or chapters in edited volumes. A third survey for 2020 is underway.
Dr. Bagby served as lead researcher for ISPU’s Remaking Muslim Spaces which led to the monograph “Creating the Welcoming, Inclusive, and Dynamic Mosque.” He has recently produced two articles in referred journals on giving in mosques and on mosque governance.
Bagby is a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, serves as Chair of the SHARE Center in Lexington, KY, is a Board member of Masjid Bilal, Lexington, and a Board member of CAIR-KY.
He is a native of Cleveland. He became Muslim in 1969 with the Darul Islam Movement. He is married to Waheedah Muhammad with whom he shares 10 grandchildren.
Imam Saffet Abid Catovic is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions Climate Action Task Force. He serves on the Clergy Council and Board of Directors of Faith in New Jersey, is Senior Muslim advisor to GreenFaith, Chair and Co-founder of the Green Muslims of New Jersey (GMNJ), founding member of ISNA Green Initiatives and the Global Muslim Climate Network (GMCN), and was co-drafter of the Fiqh Council of North America “Fatwa” on fossil fuel divestment. Imam Saffet serves as the Muslim Chaplain at Drew University where he received his MA in Religion and Society specializing in Religion and the Environment.
Imam Saffet has been a board member of several New Jersey Masjids, including Newark’s largest masjid, Islamic Cultural Center (ISEC). He helped organize the Muslim Community Leadership Council (MCLC), that brought together all greater Newark masjids, to respond to the illegal NYC Police spying and surveillance of Newark Muslims and their institutions (2012).
In the 1990s Imam Saffet served the Bosnian Government and its Mission to the United Nations, where he dedicated himself to ending the genocidal campaign against his ancestral Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was a key organizer of the Bosnia Task Force USA (BTF)—an alliance of ten organizations including: the National Islamic Community, the Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, the Islamic Society of North America and the Islamic Circle of North America), whose advocacy included historic protests in Washington DC (1993) and in New York at the UN (1995).
Imam Mujahid is originally from Colombia, South America and grew up in Houston, Texas from the age of eight.
He is an Entrepreneur, John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach, International Public Speaker, Multimedia and Film Honors Graduate of the Art Institute of Houston and founder of the global leading Non-Profit Organization IslamInSpanish.
As a Filmmaker he has obtained specialized certifications on Story from Hollywood’s Screenwriting Doctor Robert McKee and is a long-standing member of NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) in Hollywood. He is part of Harvard University’s HIVE Global Leaders Network and Owner and CEO of his own award-winning advertising agency “FocusPoint Studios.” He is a media analyst on Univision, Telemundo, CNN in Spanish, and others.
He accepted Islam months before September 11th, and studied Arabic and Quranic studies in Cairo, Egypt’s Fajr Institute. He learned classical Islamic texts from diverse national and international notable scholars.
He is fluent in English, Spanish and Arabic and having lived and studied on four continents (South America, North America, Africa and Asia) he is equipped to communicate with diverse audiences, which give his storytelling-writing a unique flavor.
He was a former gang member provides gang intervention services and mentors youth from underprivileged communities to become productive citizens.
He established the only-Latino-Led Islamic Center in the U.S. leading a crowdfunding campaign raising over a million dollars to purchase a two acre property with a 10,000 square foot in Houston, Texas.
Even though educating Latinos about Islam in a thriving-welcoming manner is the main intent and not proselytization, over 500 people have embraced Islam over the past four years through culturally relevant media production and grassroots outreach worldwide.
Hazel Gómez is a coalition internal organizer with the LIVE FREE Detroit Coalition, part of a national campaign of Faith in Action to build a safer and freer Detroit.
Sister Hazel also serves as a curriculum developer, trainer, and mentor with the Muslim Power Building Project, a comprehensive community organizing and leadership development program for Muslims nationwide in which an Islamic framework is core to the curriculum. Additionally, the labor of love for her and her husband is Dream of Detroit, a nonprofit that combines community organizing with strategic housing and land development to build a healthy community and empower marginalized neighborhoods.
A Puerto Rican and Mexican convert hailing from Chicago’s west side, Hazel graduated from Loyola University Chicago with double bachelor’s degrees in Forensic Science and Biology. She is currently studying the Islamic sciences at Ribaat Academic Program and Seminary under the tutelage of Shaykha Tamara Gray and other Muslim women scholars.
Hazel is a volunteer, advisor, and board member to several nonprofits ranging from community development and convert care to anti-racism work and bail reform. She is an avid reader of all things about Muslims in America and is interested in the research and creation of an authentic Latinx Muslim experience.
Imam Sulaimaan Hamed serves as the resident Imam of the Atlanta Masjid of Al Islam, one of the largest Islamic centers in the southeast, affiliated with the community of his late teacher, Imam W. Deen Mohammed.
A student of religious studies, he has taught Arabic and Islamic sciences at the Mohammed Schools and Islamic Theology and Islamic Law for the Faith Institute in Atlanta. He represents the new generation of teachers of Islamic Studies in America.
Educated primarily in private Islamic Schools in the US, Hamed received his specialized training under the tutelage of the Grand Mufti Sheik Ahmed Kuftaro of Damascus, Syria at the Prestigious Abu Nour University. Completing courses in Jurisprudence, Arabic, Prophetic traditions, and Theology. His studies and teaching have afforded him travel opportunities to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Senegal.
He served as Imam of Masjid Fresno in California and assistant to Masjidul Waritheen of Oakland. Fluent in Arabic, he is currently the co-owner and operator of Professional Hajj and Umrah Guides, LLC, “Hajj Pros”, a religious-based travel agency specializing in the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Sulaimaan is passionate about the improvement of Islamic institutions of education. He is noted as a respected leader in the Muslim American community often called upon to assist with programs establishing a commitment to religion for the future generations. His publications include “Ramadan: The month of purification and self-restraint.” Sulaimaan currently resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and children.
Assad Koshul is originally from Pakistan and grew up in New York Metro area.
He Is an Accounting/Finance, Organizational Development, Change Management, Leadership and Human Capital Development Professional with experience in diverse industries in developed and emerging markets.
He has been a community activist since an early age and has worked with diverse groups for social justice causes. He is a board member of Challenge Foundation, Inc., a member of the Advisory Board for The Humanity Project Orphanage in Haiti, President of ICW Toastmasters, and served as President of Rutgers University MSA.
He has been involved in several projects to benefit his ancestral home of Pakistan, including: East West Consulting and Training Lead Facilitator In Pakistan, Lahore Women’s College and University Workshop and Training Sessions for professors and department heads, and the Ansar Management Corporation, where he developed a financial model for the largest low income housing development projects in Pakistan.
His diverse professional experience and cross cultural competency equips him to create intellectual and emotional alignment in diverse environments and situations.
His current work focuses on knowledge integration, concept and framework development for professionals and activists. He also focuses on bridging the gap between academia and industry for young professionals as well as curriculum and workshop development for diverse audiences.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and PROSCI Change Management Certified.
Imam Salahuddin accepted a version of Islam (Nation of Islam) at the tender age of thirteen, which started his journey on becoming a bona fide Muslim. Originally from Harlem USA, he has been involved with community activism, and bridging the divide between diverse communities.
An avid student of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (RAA) he is passionate about overcoming artificial barriers that separate communities and is classified as a “peacemonger” by those who have interacted and worked with him over the past 40+ years.
He served as chaplain at NYS Department of Corrections for thirty years, providing spiritual guidance and empowering Muslim inmates to break the vicious cycle of recidivism.
He has led urban, suburban multi-ethnic and multi-cultural communities through his decades of service including Masjid al Ikhlas (Newburgh, NY), As Salam Islamic Center (Raleigh, NC).
He served as president of the Association of Muslim Chaplains for the past seven years and now president in Emeritus. He has also been an adjunct professor at four colleges teaching world religions and Islam.
He is presently the vice president of the Muslim Endorsement Council.
He obtained a Doctor of Ministry degree in Islamic Studies-Christian/Muslim relations from Hartford Seminary and an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from Global Workers of God Seminary and University.
Daughter of a Jamaican immigrant activist father and religious Louisiana Creole mother, Waheedah
Muhammad is a dedicated Muslim activist, who was born and raised in New York. After high school,
Waheedah moved to California where she become involved in Black Nationalist movements—including
the Black Panther Party and later the Nation of Islam. Under the leadership of Imam W.D. Mohammed,
she embraced universal Islam.
Waheedah is the Director of Operations for MANA and a MANA Diwan member. She has been involved
with MANA from its earliest stages and served as Conference Coordinator for two very successful
national and several regional MANA conferences. She serves as Board Chair for CAIR-Kentucky and
served as member and secretary of the Central Kentucky Majlis (ISCK).
Waheedah studied Early Childhood education, ESL certification, and Educational Administration in the
University of California system. She taught at Sister Clara Muhammad Schools in Los Angeles and
Oakland, California and was co-founding board member and principal for the Sankore School in North
Carolina. She studied Arabic language, Usul ul Fiqh, Islamic Philosophy and Seerah at American Islamic
College and served as Assistant Administrator for adult education summer intensives at ISNA’s Islamic
Waheedah Muhammad is the devoted wife of Dr. Ihsan Bagby and the proud grandmother of 10.
Ndidi Amatullah Okakpu is a community advocate, social entrepreneur who creates equity in interfaith and civic engagement spaces. She served as the Convener of the Chicagoland Shura Council, a 501(c)(3) federation of Masajid (Mosques), businesses, and community organizations largely representing the Chicagoland community of the late Muslim American scholar and leader Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. She is also principal consultant of N. Okakpu Consulting which offers business solutions for the needs of small businesses, non-profits and community based organizations.
Inspired by the pioneering community activism of her late mother, Amatullah Sharif, her roots began in Muslim youth organizing in school and in the Masjid. She joined the inaugural delegation sent by Imam Mohammed, to study Qur’anic Arabic at Abu Nour University in Damascus, Syria under the auspices of the late Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro. Upon returning to The States, she was appointed National Youth Coordinator and Organizer for the Youth Da’wah training program- which trained Muslim youth for leadership roles as teachers, Imams and propagators of faith.
Ndidi earned degrees in both Finance and Business Administration from DePaul University. Continuing her drive for community development, she worked at Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). There she focused on community organizing and nonprofit capacity building and became the Chicago lead to the IMAN- DC initiative (now called DC Project REACH). She later served as their Finance Manager overseeing the non-profit’s $2.5 million dollar budget.
She notably consulted as director of operations for the historic 2015 Chicago Mayoral campaign of Jesús “Chuy” Garcia. Ndidi has been featured for her organizing work by the US State Department in its documentary on the contributions of Muslims in America along with other noted Americans such as Congressman Keith Ellison. Ms. Okakpu is honored to be a Clara Muhammad School alum, a native of Washington, DC, and a proud Chicago resident of over 17 years.
Ustahda Ieasha Prime is the Director of Women’s Affairs at Dar al Hijrah Center in Virginia and the Scholar-in-Residence and Associate Chaplain at The Islamic Center of New York University (ICNYU).
Ustadha Ieasha converted to Islam over 20 years ago after visiting Africa as a Youth Ambassador to Morocco and Senegal. While in Africa, she developed a thirst for Islamic knowledge which lead learning from top Islamic scholars. After participating in several circles of knowledge in the US, she decided to pursue religious studies abroad, including the study of Arabic and Quran at the Fajr Institute in Cairo, Egypt. Later, Ustadha Ieasha moved to Yemen, where she enrolled in Dar al Zahra, an Islamic University for Women. There she studied Aqeedah, Qur’an, Hadith, Arabic, Jurisprudence (Fiqh), Islamic law, Purification of the Heart, and other religious related subjects. For her efforts in pursuit of Islamic knowledge, she has received several scholarly licenses (ijaza).
The work that Ustadha Ieasha enjoys and is committed most is the development of Islamic programming, Islamic Studies curriculum and Rites of Passage programs for youth and adults.
In addition to her full-time work, she is co-founder and Executive Director of Barakah INC, an organization committed to training Muslim women in traditional Islamic sciences with a focus on modern application. She is recently known for her participation in the National Women’s March, and for the courses she teaches on traditional knowledge and the challenges of race and gender in the Muslim community and Spirituality.
Ustadha Ieasha Prime is a proud wife and mother of three children.
Imam Mika’il Steward Saadiq has been an instructor at Al-Ikhlas Training Academy in Detroit since 1999, where he teaches Social Studies and Islamic Studies. He was born and raised on the west side of Detroit and went on to study sociology and political science at Prairie View A&M University. After accepting Islam at the age of 21, Imam Mika’il immersed himself in Islamic activism and began studying Islamic ‘Aqeedah (Creed) and Fiqh (Deductive Reasoning) under the late Imam Luqman Abdullah. He also studied at Islamic Open University and continues his studies under the guidance of local and internationally recognized imams and scholars. Imam Mika’il is a former Police Chaplain and a member of the Michigan Imam’s Council and is heavily involved in community organizing and activism. In addition, Imam Mika’il serves as a Detroit City Council Liaison, where he advocates for civic engagement and empowerment.
Imam Mika’il is known for his down-to-earth yet sophisticated, lectures and writings on minority and youth social issues. In 2013, he became the first Muslim to offer the invocation for a Michigan State Senate session. Imam Mika’il gained international recognition when he organized a 24-hour social media blackout called “The National Black Day of Silence” to protest the exploitation of violence against Blacks and marginalized peoples in which 65,000 people participated.
Imam Jihad Saafir is the Imam, President, and founder of Islah LA. Islah LA, located in Southern California, is a non-profit organization that provides social services to inner-city Los Angeles and surrounding communities. In his role of Imam and President, Imam Jihad is the director of several projects that fall under the Islah LA umbrella, including: Islah Academy (fulltime Islamic education for K-8th grades), Islah LA Housing (housing for the homeless) and Islah Community food pantry (filling a food desert). Islah LA’s community center is the first of its kind and under Imam Jihad’s leadership has spawned a new wave of civic engagement within the Southern California Muslim American community. In recognition for his service to the community, in 2018 Imam Jihad was awarded the prestigious KCET Local Hero’s Award.
Imam Jihad has earned a bachelor’s degree in Arabic Studies, a master’s degree in Islamic Leadership and is presently working to complete a doctoral degree in Practical Theology.
Imam Zaid Shakir was born in Berkeley, California, in 1956, one of seven siblings. He was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and New Britain, Connecticut. During his school years he was active in sports, focusing on football and track. He converted to Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force.
Even before converting to Islam, he was concerned about communal change, leading him to briefly embrace communism and working on the cases of Joan Little and the Wilmington Ten. His desire to effect meaningful change after converting led to his assisting in founding three masjids in New Brunswick, New Jersey, New Haven, Connecticut, and Oakland, California, as well as other organizations such as the Connecticut Muslim Coordinating Committee and the Tri-State Muslim Educational Initiative.
Imam Zaid is a spiritual philosopher, aligns different intellectual traditions and creates intellectual frameworks, with which to harmonize individuals, families, and societies. He is a visionary leader who is a change agent who places emphasis on spiritual, mental and physical health.
He is a graduate of the US Air Force Supervisory Training Program, ESL Teacher’s Training Program, American University, and Rutgers University Graduate School, where he obtained a Masters Degree (MA) in Political Science.
Imam Zaid is passionate about education and writing, having authored four books and a plethora of articles dealing with various subjects. He is a cofounder of Zaytuna College, the country’s first accredited Muslim College liberal Arts college.
He is a signatory of a declaration in support of the Paris Climate Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and authored the Muslim response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change, Laudato si’. He is an urban gardener as well as an artist and poet. His goal is to see a strong and viable Muslim community, whose roots are firmly planted in the soil tilled by the African Muslims whose sacrifices were so instrumental in building this country, and whose branches provide shade for the entire community in all of its diversity.
Imam Dawud Walid was born in Detroit, Michigan and was raised in Richmond, Virginia.
He is an Imam, teacher, author, and racial justice advocate.
He has special interests in youth development, connecting Muslims with the history of Black people within the Islamic narrative and teaching parameters and organizing strategies within the framework of Islamic law and spirituality.
His community experience includes being the former chair of the Education Committee of the American Society of Muslims National Young Adult Association under the leader of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (may Allah have mercy upon him) and the former Chair of the Board of Directors of Al-Ikhlas Training Academy in Detroit, a K-12 private Islamic school. He served as Imam at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and at the Bosnian American Islamic Center in Hamtramck, Michigan.
Walid authored the books Blackness and Islam and Towards Sacred Activism and co-authored Centering Black Narrative: Black Muslim Nobles Among the Early Pious Muslims and Centering Black Narrative: Ahl al-Bayt, Blackness & Africa.
He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is a member of the Michigan Muslim Committee Council Imams Committee and a Senior Fellow of the Auburn Seminary based in New York City.
He studied Islamic sciences of Arabic grammar, morphology, Usul al-Fiqh and sciences of Tafsir of the Qur’an under traditionally trained qualified teachers. He has also completed fellowships through the University of Southern California American Muslim Civic Leadership Initiative and Wayne State University Detroit Action Equity Lab.