MuslimARC’s Advisory Board is comprised of representatives from partner organizations, community organizers, scholars, researchers, education leaders, community leaders and activists, and representatives from our faith community’s racial and ethnic groups, as well as interfaith partners. They are experts who represent a diversity of opinions and experiences that help balance cultural, ethnic, age, and gender representation in leadership. Their role is to mentor, support, and offer advice on various aspects of the organization based on their skill-set and expertise.
2016-2017 Advisory Board:
Kalia Abiade is the Advocacy Director at the Center for New Community, an advocacy and research organization that tracks racist movements in the United States. She spearheads the organization’s work to equip and mobilize grassroots organizations and national coalitions to challenge discrimination in public discourse, practice and policy. Kalia brings to her work more than a decade of experience as a newspaper editor and reporter. She is the managing editor of CNC’s blog Imagine2050 and a copy editor at In These Times. Kalia has also taught high school students for three years in the Upward Bound program in Southwest Virginia and developed programming for the children of Muslim converts in Chicago. Her analysis has been cited by the Associated Press, Washington Post, The Hill, NPR, and Wall Street Journal, among other media outlets. She lives with her husband and their three children on Chicago’s South Side.
Rosa Aqeel is an Associate Director at PolicyLink, and works with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Rosa worked for PICO California, a statewide faith-based community organizing network, where she shaped the legislative agenda as the Statewide Legislative Director for the preceding two years. Rosa is proud to have co-led a statewide campaign to get AB 953 signed into law last year, a bill that will collect information on racial profiling by law enforcement from across the state. She also walked 285 miles, from Sacramento to Bakersfield, in 2013, as part of the Campaign for Citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans. Rosa has also worked in the Labor Movement for nearly 10 years, and has organized workers in California, Oregon and Washington State. Even though Rosa has a J.D. from UC Davis School of Law, she knew early on that she had no desire to practice law, and so pursued a career in organizing. Her work with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color is her passion, and is blessed and grateful to work with incredible community organizers from across the state that share a common vision to improve the life outcomes of our Boys and Men of Color.
Donna Auston is a doctoral candidate in the department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, where she also received her B.A. in Linguistics and Africana Studies. Her research interests include race, ethnicity, gender, the body, religion, language, media representation, and Islam in America. Her dissertation is an ethnographic exploration of Black Muslim activism and spiritual protest in the Black Lives Matter era. She has been researching and writing about the history and experiences of American Muslims for nearly two decades, with a particular focus on the African American Muslim community. She has a book chapter entitled “Color Me Invisible: The Hidden Legacy of African American Muslims,” which appears in The Black Experience in America, Second Edition. Her forthcoming book chapters include works on the intersections between Islamophobia and Black Lives Matter, on African American Muslim women working as professional undertakers, and a study of the Nation of Islam’s religious transition in the aftermath of Elijah Muhammad’s passing in 1975. She has also published a number of short essays, including, “Mapping the Intersections of Islamophobia and #BlackLivesMatter: Unearthing Black Muslim Life and Activism in the Policing Crisis,” and “Recalled to Life: On the Meaning and Power of a Die-In.” In addition to her written scholarship, she lectures regularly at universities and other venues on subjects relating to her research. She has appeared on television and radio outlets including Al Jazeera and BBC World Radio, and her work has received coverage from national media outlets including NBC News and The Huffington Post. She has penned editorials for Anthropology Now, Al Jazeera English, and The Washington Post.
Khaled A. Beydoun is an Assistant Professor of Law at the Barry School of Law. He previously served on the UCLA School of Law faculty, and currently serves as affiliated faculty with the UC-Berkeley Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project. Professor Beydoun has extensive experience as an attorney, working within the realm of civil rights, criminal defense, and international law practice in Dubai. A Critical Race Theory scholar, Professor Beydoun examines Islamophobia from a legal, race-based and intersectional perspective. His scholarship examines the racial construction of Arab and Muslim American identity, criminal and national security policing, and the intersection of race, religion and citizenship. His work has been featured in top law journals, including the Harvard Journal of Race & Ethnicity, the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, the Howard Law Journal, and more. A native of Detroit, Professor Beydoun earned his law degree from the UCLA School of Law, and his BA from the University of Michigan. He also holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Toronto. A commentator on pressing issues, Professor Beydoun contributes regularly to Al-Jazeera English, serves as an expert consultant for the US Census, and has featured his opinion pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Salon.
Shaykh Jamal Diwan
Shaykh Jamaal Diwan was born and raised in Southern California. He currently serves the Muslim community with Institute of Knowledge through which he works as a Muslim Chaplain at UCLA, UCI, and USC. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Third World Studies from UCSD in 2005. He then traveled to Egypt where he spent the next 6 years studying Arabic and Islamic Studies. In 2012 he completed a law degree in Sharia from al-Azhar University in Cairo. While in Egypt he also nearly finished an MA in Islamic Studies at the American University in Cairo. He is a regular speaker at universities and Islamic centers on issues pertaining to Islam and Muslims in America. In 2014 the OC Weekly chose him from among Orange County’s most fascinating people and the OC Register chose him from the Top 100 Most Influential People in OC. He served as the Resident Scholar of the Islamic Center of Irvine for two and a half years before moving onto his current position with the Institute of Knowledge.
Raymond Elias is a Puerto Rican Muslim convert born and raised in Northern California. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science and History from the University of California, Davis, and as a full-time student served a year on the board of the Islamic Center of Davis, CA. During the first year of his chaplain studies, he served as a Youth Coordinator at the Islamic Institute of Orange County (IIOC) in Anaheim, CA and as a youth mentor for the past 2 years. He has given periodic khutbahs at local MSA’s including Cal Poly Pomona and UC Riverside as well as Middle Ground Muslim Center and Islah LA. He completed his Master of Divinity in Interfaith Chaplaincy and Certificate in Islamic Studies and Leadership at the Claremont School of Theology and Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School in May 2016. In the Summer of 2015 he completed the equivalent of 400 hours of supervised Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at LAC/USC Medical Center through the St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care and will begin a one-year CPE Residency at John Muir Medical Center beginning Fall of 2016, inshaAllah.
Tia Faisal is a mother of two teenage girls, aged 18 and 15. Originally from Malaysia, she has called Southern California home since 2001. She worked as an engineer for Motorola Inc for almost 9 years before she decided to become a stay-at- home. Since then, she has served on the PTA board of her daughters’ schools for 10 years and is currently a director for a non-profit organization called MIFNA (Malaysian Islamic Foundation of North America). She is very passionate about children’s education and reading.
Todd is the founder and principal attorney of Gallinger Law. He has a life long interest in the law, and how to use it to bring positive change for individuals and society. Todd is licensed to practice law in California and New York. He attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he earned a B.A. in Religious Studies, and the George Washington University Law School, where he earned a Juris Doctorate in Law, both with honors. Since founding Gallinger Law in 2005, Todd has assisted businesses, individuals, and nonprofits with many different legal issues. This includes complex, multi-district, and international business litigation. Todd presently focuses on providing transactional services to clients to assist in achieving their business or personal goals. Todd has also served as a nonprofit executive, management consultant, intellectual property licensing professional, and board member. He uses this diverse experience to understand the multiple aspects of clients’ legal issues or challenges, which is necessary to craft best legal solution.
Hazel Gómez graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science. Currently, she is studying the Islamic sciences with Rabata.org’s Ribaat Academic Program under the tutelage of Shaykha Tamara Gray and other women scholars specializing in various Islamic sciences. Hazel is currently a research assistant on the Muslims for American Progress study at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. She also dedicates her time as a volunteer and advisor to various nonprofits such as Dream of Detroit, a community development project; Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA); Muslim Enrichment Project, a convert care program in southeast Michigan; MPower Change, a grassroots a digital organizing platform for American Muslims; ISNA’s Masjid Development Initiative, and Michigan Faith in Action, a PICO chapter in Detroit. Previously, Hazel spent time as a community organizer with the InnerCity Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago focusing on the intersection of immigration and criminal justice reform. She also worked as the lead research assistant at the Alternative Education Research Institute focusing on the analysis of the criminal justice systems, reentry programs, and conversion to Islam of certain Latin American countries. She is an avid reader of all things Muslims in America, and is interested in the research and creation of an authentic Latino Muslim experience. Hazel intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Islamic Chaplaincy. She is married to Mark Crain, and is the mother of two sons, Musa and Haroon.
A native of the city of Compton, Umar A. Hakim serves as Executive Director of ILM (Intellect Love Mercy) Foundation. After a 13 year career in telecommunications, Umar shifted careers to become an urban entrepreneur, which opened him to social and community service. He earned a business management degree from the University of Phoenix and a master’s degree in Ethical Leadership from Claremont Lincoln.
Umar is now responsible for facilitating ILM’s social-preneurial vision for social change, where change means providing an intuitive educational experience that empowers local Angelinos. Umar draws on the key principle of Facilitative Leadership to coordinate ILM’s programming, which include Humanitarian Day, Go Beyond the G.A.M.E, and SEED. Umar says, “we organize these heterogenic components, for human and leadership development… which also encourages interfaith dialogue and developing relationships across a wide scope of positive people.”
As an active alum with American Muslim Civic Leadership (AMCLI) Institute, and he is a facilitator trainer for its national program housed at USC Center of Religion Civic Culture. Through this training, he contributed to civic-social organizations including NewGround Muslim ~ Jewish Partnership for Change, created a partnership with California/LA Voice PICO network, and is an active participant with the City of LA Emergency Operations Center for Disaster Response and Relief. In 2012, Umar founded his consultancy Baseerah, which means to “to have vision.” Baseerah is a consulting group focused on leadership development, nonprofit management, and new media content. His blog is Create-A-Voice.
Deepa Iyer is a South Asian American activist, writer, and lawyer. Deepa is currently the Senior Fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion where she provides analysis, commentary and scholarship on equity and solidarity in America’s changing racial landscape.
In November 2015, The New Press published Deepa’s first book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future. Scholar Vijay Prashad has written that Deepa “brings the head of a lawyer and the heart of a community activist to bear on her remarkable book…It is a window into the struggles of the margins that allow the mainstream to remain humane.” Deepa’s book was selected by the American Librarians Association’s Booklist magazine to be one of the top 10 multicultural non-fiction books of the year.
Most recently, Deepa served as the Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). While at SAALT for nearly a decade, Deepa shaped the formation of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), a network of local South Asian groups, and served as Chair of the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA). Deepa’s work on immigrant and civil rights issues began at the Asian American Justice Center in the late 1990s. She also served as Trial Attorney at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where with two other attorneys, she shaped an initiative to address post 9/11 backlash, and as Legal Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC), where she worked on a multiracial, community-led campaign to pass the DC Language Access Act.
Deepa has also taught classes on Asian American movements and South Asian American communities at Columbia University, Hunter College, and the University of Maryland where she served as Activist-in-Residence in the Asian American Studies Program in 2014. Deepa’s opinion editorials on issues ranging from the post 9/11 backlash to immigration reform to anti-Black racism have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Al-Jazeera America, and The Nation.
An immigrant who moved to Kentucky when she was twelve, Deepa graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School and Vanderbilt University. Deepa is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Race Forward. She blogs at www.deepaiyer.com and tweets at @dviyer.
Maryam Abdul Karim is a 3rd year Sociology major at UCLA. She is a light-hearted individual with a passion for social change. She worked on the board for her MSA during her second year at UCLA, where she organized a #BlackInMSA event, a vigil for #OurThreeBrothers, and is currently working on creating a safe space for the Black Muslim community at UCLA. On the side, she enjoys running and hiking and advocating for physical health for Muslim Women.
Fatemeh Mashouf is an employment litigation attorney in Los Angeles, California. Fatemeh is also the author of the Rafiq & Friends children’s book and edutainment series designed to enhance Muslim-American identity building. Fatemeh is a board member of the Muslim Bar Association of Southern California.
Fatemeh served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Judge Charlene Kiesselbach in the San Francisco Superior Court. She volunteered at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, where she initiated a project which sought to attain religious accommodations for inmates in state penitentiaries. As a volunteer for CARES at the Public Counsel Law Center, she advocated for individuals seeking aid at various social services agencies in Los Angeles. During her tenure at the Office of Legal Counsel under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, She headed an education reform initiative which involved collaboration between the Mayor’s office and UCLA School of Law. Her recognitions include, named, Pro Bono Society – University of California Hastings College of Law, recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in International Business Transactions and Witkin Award for International Business Transactions.
As a visiting student at UCLA School of Law, she was an editor of the Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law and a member of the Public Interest Program’s admissions committee. Prior to law school, she was a scholar in the ArtsBridge America program through which she taught art educational programs at low income schools.
Sayed Mahdi al-Qazwini
Sayed Mahdi al-Qazwini is a native of Southern California. He has studied at the Islamic seminary in Qum, Iran. After completing his undergraduate studies in Islamic Sciences, he returned to Southern California and is now pursuing a Masters degree in Islamic Studies and Leadership at Bayan Islamic Graduate school at Claremont School of Theology. He currently serves as a part-time Islamic educator at communities across North America and the UK.
Emad Rahim is an award-winning author, educator, entrepreneur, Fulbright Scholar and TEDx Speaker. He currently serves as the Kotouc Endowed Chair at Bellevue University and JWMI Fellow at the Jack Welch Management Institute. His story was turned into a short documentary and adapted into a theater production titled ‘Tales from the Salt City,’ which is an extension of the acclaimed Undesirable Elements series written by celebrated playwright and Presidential National Medals of Arts Award recipient, Ping Chong. He is a Best-Selling Author of the Book “Leading Through Diversity: Transforming Managers Into Effective Leaders” and “The Inclusive Leader: An Applied Approach to Diversity, Change, and Management.” He has been featured in the Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, IntelligentHQ, and CEO Magazine. He also appeared in a national advertisement campaign and has been interviewed on the BBC, NPR, PBS and other radio and podcast shows.
Kameelah Mu'Min Rashad
Kameelah is the Founder and President of Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing stigma associated with mental illness, addiction and trauma in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and training. Kameelah currently serves as the Interfaith Fellow & Muslim Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and the Muslim Religious Life Leader at the Lawrenceville School.
In addition to Kameelah’s involvement in mental health advocacy and religious life, she is a proud social justice activist and founding member of Muslims Make It Plain, a coalition of concerned Muslims working to inspire, empower and support grass roots mobilization and direct action to address police brutality, racial & religious profiling, unlawful surveillance and the over-policing of America’s Black & Brown communities. In December 2014, Muslims Make It Plain organized the first Muslim led rally and march in the country in support of #BlackLivesMatter. Kameelah serves as a member of the Advisory Council of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and educational organization and an advisory board member of the Husayn Center for Social Justice, a Muslim-run social services and advocacy center that promotes health and wellness for the residents of Trenton.
Kameelah is a 2014 Ariane deRothschild Fellow, recipient of the 2014 Student Multiculturalism and Salter Family Memorial Education Awards from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA). She also serves as the Diversity Focus Chair for PPA’s Graduate Student Board. National Council for Behavioral Health selected Kameelah for the prestigious 2015 Mental Health First Aid Community Impact Award and honored her as a “passionate, committed, and outstanding behavioral health leader”.
Kameelah graduated from UPenn with a BA in Psychology and M.Ed in Psychological Services. She has completed a second Masters in Restorative Practices & Youth Counseling (MRP) and a post-Masters certificate in Family Therapy. Kameelah is a certified instructor in Mental Health First Aid. She is pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.
Christina Tasca is a community builder and peacemaker whose experience includes a range of human rights and social justice initiatives with a focus on youth and women’s empowerment. Ms. Tasca has served on a number of international human rights and peacemaking delegations working with government, religious and civil society leaders to achieving peace and justice beyond religious, national, and ethnic lines. Currently as the Executive Director of the Muslim Community Network in New York City, she leads the organization in empowering Muslim New Yorkers to fully participate in the civic landscape and to advocate for the rights and interests of their communities.
She holds a Masters degree in Global Politics from the Royal Holloway, University of London and a certificate from New York University in fundraising, philanthropy and nonprofit management. Her passion is in building the capacity of faith-based and community organizations working to address society’s most salient social justice issues by developing systems, strategies, and the internal infrastructure to maximize their impact.
Ms. Tasca is often invited to speak on issues facing American Muslim converts, the impact of Islamophobia on Muslim women and families, and interfaith and intrafaith dialogue and collaboration.
Cristal Chanelle Truscott
Cristal Chanelle Truscott, PhD, is a published playwright, theatre director, dialogue facilitator, arts/culture consultant, educator, scholar and founder of Progress Theatre–a Houston-based, touring ensemble that uses theatre as anti-racism engagement to encourage social consciousness, cross-community dialogue, healing and cultural awareness. She holds a BFA in Theatre and Africana Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; and MA/PhD degrees from NYU’s Department of Performance Studies with a research focus on representations of spiritual diversity and Muslims in African American performance before 1950. As an artist, her work with Progress Theatre has received multiple grants and national recognition, including: Doris Duke Impact Artist Award, NEFA National Theatre Project, MAP Fund, and two National Performance Network Creation Fund grants. She creates Neo-Spirituals, her term for the a’capella musicals she crafts using her theatre-making technique of “SoulWork,” a method rooted in African American performance traditions and aesthetics. As a dialogue facilitator, Cristal leads a series of workshops entitled “Enter Faith” to engage and promote multi-faith dialogues, and inclusive faith-based artistic and community events. She has been an invited artist participant in groundbreaking national and international conferences such as “Future Aesthetics: Hip Hop and Contemporary Performance” funded by the Ford Foundation and “Diversity Dialogues,” lead by the US Embassy to the Netherlands and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund. Cristal has also served as Assistant Editor of the performance journal, TDR: The Drama Review and Associate Editor for Azizah Magazine. As an academic and educator with more than 15 years of university experience, Cristal has lectured at various universities such as Columbia University, Spelman College, NYU, San Francisco State University and, most recently, at Prairie View A&M University, where she served as Theatre Program Director and Interim Department Head of Music & Theatre for 6 years before resigning to focus on a full-time return to her work as generative artist and community activist.