MuslimARC's MEREI Directory
Below is our directory of Muslim Experts on Race, Ethnicity, and Islam (MEREI) for organizations seeking speakers, media outlets requesting interviews, and so on.
This list is crowdsourced. MuslimARC does not endorse any of the individuals listed, nor vouch for their credentials, so this directory is best used as a starting point of investigation for selecting a guest for your event or interview.
For contact information or to make corrections to the information listed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘MEREI’.
To submit information regarding an expert, please fill out this form: click here.
Project Launch Date: March 5, 2014
Last Updated: May 8, 2014
Expert’s Last Name, First Name
Location | Organizational Affiliation(s) (if any)
Area(s) of Expertise
Cambridge, MA | Harvard University
Islamic Finance, comparative religion
Taha bin Hasan Abdul-Basser is an independent scholar of Islamic ethics and law who has acted as a shari`a compliance reviewer, examiner and consultant to investment funds, investment banks, retail banks, financial advisories, legal advisors and other for-profit and not-for-profit entities since 1998. He was lead contributor to the Harvard Islamic Finance Information Program’s database software on Islamic financial ethics and jurisprudence, independent study course instructor (“Principles of Islamic Finance”) at Harvard Business School and a Senior Tutorial Advisor at Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Language and Civilizations. He is currently the Harvard Islamic Society Chaplain and a member of the Harvard Chaplains. He is the managing partner of Straightway Ethical Advisory.
Abdul Khabeer, Su’ad
West Lafayette, IN | Purdue University
Islam, Hip Hop, American Muslim Communities
Assistant Professor of Anthropology/African American Studies. Dr. Abdul Khabeer’s latest research examines how Chicago Muslim youth construct their religious, racial and cultural identities at the intersection of hip hop and Islam. She is also interested in identity and subjectivity, diaspora and gender studies, performance ethnography, Islamic thought and practice, Arabic and Spanish language and literature.
Philadelphia, PA | National Movement to Save Black Boys
Education psychology, Pan-Africanism
Dr. Umar Abdullah-Johnson is a certified School psychologist who practices privately throughout Pennsylvania and lectures throughout the country. He is an expert on learning disabilities and their effect on Black children. Author of Pyscho-Academic Holocaust Against Black Boys.
Philadelphia, PA | Temple University
Islamic Studies, Islam and the West, African Diaspora Studies, globalism and cultural diversity, urban studies, transnational migration, inter-group relations
Zain Abdullah holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology from the New School for Social Research in New York City. He is Associate Professor in the Religion Department at Temple, and a faculty affiliate in the Department of Geography & Urban Studies. A God of Our Own: Malcolm X and His Battle for the Soul of America (forthcoming book). Temple 25: Black Religiosity and the Rise of American Islam (forthcoming book). Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010). His current work focuses on the interplay of race, religion and ethnicity, and his writings cover an array of topics including Islamic Studies and contemporary Islam, African American Muslims and Islam in America, religion and society, African Diaspora Studies, globalization and transnationalism and inter-group dynamics.
New York, NY | Columbia University
Immigration and youth movements in Europe
Lecturer at the School of International and Public Affairs and the Institute of African Affairs. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University. He has also worked as a consultant on UNDP’s Human Development Report. In 2010, he was a Global Fellow at the Open Society Foundation. Written on African and Afro-diasporan affairs for various magazines including Africana, The New African, ColorLines, Souls, Socialism and Democracy and MERIP. Author of Rebel Music.
New York, NY | Women in Islam, chomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
African American History, Muslim women
Aisha al-Adawiya is the founder of Women In Islam, Inc., an organization of Muslim women which focuses on human rights and social justice. Ms. al-Adawiya organizes and participates in conferences, symposia and other forums on Islam, Gender Equity, Conflict Resolution, Cross-Cultural Understanding, and Peace Building. She also represents Muslim women’s Non-Governmental Organizations at United Nations forums. Ms. Al-Adawiya coordinates Islamic input for the Preservation of the Black Religious Heritage Documentation Project of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She also serves as a consultant to numerous interfaith organizations and documentary projects on the Muslim American experience. Additionally, she serves on the boards of numerous organizations related to the interests of the global Islamic community. Ms. al-Adawiya is a guest host and producer of Tahrir, WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York City.
Karima Al-Amin is an attorney at law and the wife of political prisoner Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. In addition to her private practice, Mrs. Al-Amin continues to work with attorneys in appealing her husband’s conviction and in working on his civil lawsuits challenging First Amendment and religious violations. Mrs. Al-Amin is a member of several legal and community organizations, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Clarkston Business Association, and the Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers (GAML).
Swarthmore, PA | Swarthmore College
Islamic social history and law, with a particular focus on Shi’ism
He has conducted research on Sunni-Shi’i relations and can address issues related to the academic study of Islam and the social history of Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. His published works and research interests include: Islam and inter-communal violence, pre-modern religious identity, religious dissimulation, the transmission of knowledge in Islam, and women in Islamic jurisprudence. Al-Jamil received his B.A. from Oberlin College, M.T.S. from Harvard University, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.
New York, NY | Columbia University
Twentieth-century African-American history and religion
Doctoral student in History. Served as one of the project managers and a senior researcher of the Malcolm X Project (MXP) at Columbia University, a multi-year research initiative on the life and legacy of Malcolm X. taught courses on Islam and Black America, Malcolm X, the African American Experience, and surveys in American history; Dissertation work: Nation of Islam’s Temple/Mosque No. 7 in Harlem, New York, from 1954-1965, during the time of Malcolm X’s ministry.
Ali Khan, Nouman
Dallas, TX | Bayyinah Institute
Arabic language and Quran studies
Nouman Ali Khan is the founder and CEO of Bayyinah Institute, which is renowned for Arabic language and Quran studies. Based out of Dallas, Texas, Khan serves as a lead instructor for several programs including the Dream Arabic study project, traveling seminars, and Bayyinah TV, which is an online video library for Quran and Arabic language learning resources. Khan’s serious Arabic training began in the U.S. in 1999 under Dr. Abdus-Samie, founder and former principal of Quran College in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Khan taught Arabic at Nassau Community College until 2006, when he decided to commit himself full-time to Bayyinah Institute. He has served more than 10,000 students through traveling seminars and programs. His focus is on teaching his students, developing Arabic curricula and filming material for Bayyinah TV.
Rutgers, NJ | Rutgers University
Islam, Race, History of Islam in US
Ph.D student in the department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. In addition to her academic work, she has been an activist and organizer American Muslim community for nearly 15 years, having worked with a wide variety of local and national Islamic organizations over the years. Research: intersections of race and identity production among Muslims in the San Francisco Bay area.
New York, NY | Brooklyn College
“Him and Professor Kazi at Queens College helped me think about Race and Islam in some awesome courses at CUNY.” – submitter
Berkeley, CA | University of California – Berkeley
Islamic Law and Society, Islam in America De-Constructing Islamophobia and Othering of Islam, Religious Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies.
Member of Board of Trustees and Faculty at Zaytuna College. He also serves as Chair of the Northern California Islamic Council, co-founder and Chair of American Muslims for Palestine, co-founder and Board Member, Dollar for Deen, Board Member of Islamic Scholarship Fund, and Board Member of the Muslim Legal Fund of America.
Los Angeles, CA | University of California – Los Angeles School of Law
Immigration law, criminal law, critical race theory, and legal history
Professor Beydoun earned his J.D. from UCLA School of Law, and holds a B.A., with distinction, from the University of Michigan. In addition, he earned an LL.M. with an emphasis on Islamic Law from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Professors Beydoun’s work has been featured in the Berkeley Journal of International Law, the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, and his forthcoming work will be featured in the NYU Survey of American Law. He is a founding member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association, which promotes the rule of law and democracy in Egypt. His insight on domestic and international legal matters has been featured on television and radio, including CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, Voice America, and the Washington Post
Rutgers, NJ | Rutgers University
Race, religion, gender, and sexuality
Assistant Professor of American and Women’s and Gender Studies. Forthcoming: ‘A Part of Islam’: Race, Gender, and the Making of Muslim America, 1959-Present. Her teaching interests: Muslim Studies, the cultures of 9/11, transnational American Studies, Afro-Asian intersections, Asian American and Diaspora Studies, Islamic feminisms, and critical & comparative ethnic studies.
Irvine, CA | University of Southern California
Muslim Studies, Black radicalism and internationalism, critical race studies, U.S. imperial culture, cultural studies, decolonization
Associate Professor at USC.
New York, NY | Chomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
History of Islam in America, African American History
Sylviane A. Diouf is an award-winning historian specializing in the history of the African Diaspora, African Muslims, the slave trade and slavery. She is the author of Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (NYU Press, 2013) and Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America, and the editor of Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies. Dr. Diouf is a Curator at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of The New York Public Library where she has curated digital and physical exhibitions on Africans in India, African American migrations, the abolition of the slave trade, the African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean world, and the black world in the 20th century.
El Hamel, Chouki
Tempe, AZ | Arizona State University
Islamic culture and Islamic institutions in Africa
His research interests focused on the spread and the growth of Islamic culture and the evolution of Islamic institutions in Africa and investigating the subaltern relationship to ruling institutions, power, race and gender politics. His research is evidenced in his published articles and a book concerning intellectual life in pre-colonial Islamic West Africa. He taught courses in African History at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and at Duke University from 1994 to 2001. In 2001-2002 he was a scholar in residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City and in 2002 he joined the History Department at Arizona State University. He has just finished a book entitled Black Morocco: a History of Race, Gender and Slavery. The Internal African Diaspora and Slavery in the Islamic Discourse
Chicago, IL | ALIM
Shariah, Islamic Learning, Journalism
Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans is ALIM’s first Scholar-in-Residence. He converted to Islam while in high school. Upon conversion, Ustadh Ubaydullah began studying some of the foundational books of Islam under the private tutelage of local scholars while simultaneously pursuing a degree in journalism from Columbia. Since then he has studied at Chicagoland’s Institute of Islamic Education (IIE) under the rectorship of Maulana Abdullah Saleem, in Tarim, Yemen, and Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he is the first African-American to graduate from its Shari’a program. Ustadh Ubaydullah also instructs with the Ta’leef Collective and the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) at times.
Race and gender in the media, social media
Fatemeh Fakhraie founded Muslimah Media Watch in 2007. She wrote for Racialicious from 2008 – 2011. Since stepping down as Editor-in-Chief in 2011, she has gone on to explore social media and marketing.
New Haven, CT | Yale University
Muslims, Race, US
Expert on anti-Muslim racism in US & racial conflicts among Muslims; “Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Crisis of Authority” (NYU Press 2014); Documentary film “By the Dawn’s Early Light: Chris Jackson’s Journey to Islam” (2004).
Hamid Ali, Abdullah
Berkeley, CA | Zaytuna College
Islamic Law, Theology, and Hadith Science
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is a full-time faculty member at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, CA. He is a lifelong student of the Islamic tradition. Born to Muslim parents, he began a serious study of Islam in his early teens. He attended Temple University for two years (1995-1997) prior to pursuing studies that culminated in a four-year collegiate license (ijaza ‘ulya) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fes, Morocco (1997-2001). He holds a BA from Al-Qarawiyin University’s Faculty of Islamic Law (Shariah) and an MA in Ethics & Social Theory from The Graduate Theological Union (2009-2012) of Berkeley, CA. He is also pursuing his PhD in Cultural & Historical Studies at GTU, as one of the institution’s Presidential Scholars.
Durham, NC | University of North Carolina
Genetics, demographics history, dietary patterns, researched health disparities, African and African-American health
Jackson served as director of UNC’s Institute of African American Research from 2009 to 2011
Jackson, Sherman “Abdul Hakeem”
Los Angeles, CA | University of Southern California
Classical Islamic Studies, modern Islam in the West
His research interests begin in classical Islamic Studies, including law, theology and intellectual history, and extend to placing this legacy in conversation with the realities of modern Islam in the West, most especially Muslim communities in America. This implicates issues of race, immigration, liberalism, democracy, religion in the modern world, pluralism, constitutionalism, Muslim radicalism and related areas of inquiry, again, all in conversation with the classical and post-classical legacies of Islam.
Atlanta, GA | Spelman College
Black Muslim women
Jamillah Karim, Ph.D., assistant professor of religious studies, is the author of the new book, “American Muslim Women: Negotiating Race, Class, and Gender Within the Ummah.”
Dr. Karim investigates what it means to negotiate religious sisterhood against America’s race and class hierarchies, and how those in the American Muslim community both construct and cross ethnic boundaries. Forthcoming Women of the Nation: Between Black Protest and Sunni Islam.
New York, NY | Queens College, Department of Urban Studies
Race, Settler Colonialism, Multiculturalism
New York, NY | University of New York
Caribbean, Latin America, race and ethnicity, religion (particularly obeah, Islam, Afro-Atlantic religions), theory and method in diaspora studies, creolization
Aisha Khan is a cultural anthropologist in the Anthropology Department at New York University. Her research interests include Asian and African diasporas, Atlantic studies, postcolonial societies, social inequality, and the construction of identities (particularly racial, ethnic, and religious). She has conducted ethnographic research among the Garifuna (Black Carib) in Honduras and among South Asians in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She is the author of numerous articles as well as Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad (2004), and co-editor of Ethnographies, Histories, and Power (forthcoming) and Women Anthropologists: Biographical Sketches (1989).
Chicago, IL | DePaul University
Islam in America, African American Islam, Islamic law
Dr. Aminah McCloud is the founder and chair of the Islamic World Studies Program at DePaul University, and she is one of the preeminent scholars on Islam in America. Her research, writing, and teaching focus especially on global Muslim cultures, Islam in America, Islamic law, African American Islam and Muslim women in the United States. Among her many published books and articles, she has most recently edited a multi-author volume entitled An Introduction to Islam in the 21st Century (published by Blackwell, 2012). McCloud is currently editing The Handbook on African American Islam (pending publication from Oxford University Press in 2014). McCloud founded the Journal on Islamic Law and Culture in 1995, and she remains its Editor-in-Chief.
Urbana, IL | University of Illinois and Urbana-Champaign
African American Studies
He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. He is co-author (with James G. Spady and H. Samy Alim) of The Global Cipha: Hip Hop Culture and Consciousness (2006), co-editor of New Perspectives on the History of Marcus Garvey, the U.N.I.A., and the African Diaspora (2011), and his writings have appeared in The New York Times, Black Arts Quarterly, and The Western Journal of Black Studies, among other places. He is currently completing a book entitled Between New York and Paris: A Transatlantic History of Hip Hop.
Atlanta, GA | Fawakih
Islam in West Africa, Islam in America
Muhammad Adeyinka (pronounced: ah-day-yin-ka) Mendes was born in the United States and spent some of his youth Nigeria. At the age of 17, he embraced Islam after a life changing journey to Israel. While in college pursuing a BA in Arabic, he began studying the sciences of Islam with scholars from various countries around the United States. Upon graduation, he traveled to the Middle East and West Africa to sit at the feet of a number of notable scholars. After returning to the United States, he established the Annual Rawdah and has focused on translating and teaching rare Arabic manuscripts concerning theology, jurisprudence, ethics, spirituality, and the uplifting of the weak and oppressed authored by some of West Africa’s greatest spiritual and intellectual giants.
Austin, TX | Islamic Ahlual Bayt Association in Austin, Texas (IABA)
Classical Arabic, Persian, and Urdu literature and specifically in Arabic literature in medieval Sicily
He completed ten years of Islamic seminary training in America and Iran in 2001 and completed his MA in Religious Studies at Duke University in 2005. He spent three years at the University of Texas at Austin completing work towards a PhD in Arabic Studies. Since 2005 he has owned and managed his own translating and interpreting service business. With over 14 years experience in translating, teaching, and public speaking Sheikh Muhibullah has made significant contributions to the Arabic translation of Encyclopedia Britannica’s Learning and Discovery Libraries, Harper’s Magazine, UNC Kenan-Flager Business School & The Egyptian Institute of Directors, Zachary Karabell’s “Peace Be Upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence”, as well as other projects. He is currently managing a K through 12 Arabic and Islamic Studies curriculum development project for the Al-Hadi School in Houston, Texas.
London, UK | London School of Economics
Muslim Youth and Everyday Life
Work concentrates on Canada, multiculturalism, young Muslims, belonging, and issues of race and ethnicity and the everyday ways in which they are negotiated.
Washington, DC | Howard University
Political Science and Public Administration: West Africa ; Islam; Political Party Development
Originally from the Republic of the Gambia in West Africa, his career as an Africanist and professor of African Studies spans more than 32 years. Professor Nyang has published profusely on a variety of issues affecting Africans in Africa, the diaspora, and beyond. He has written or collaborated with other Africanists to write 11 books, and more than 70 articles on Islam, African political, cultural, and development affairs. He is a dedicated scholar who works tirelessly for African causes, and mentors younger scholars, through intellectual collaboration, and encouragement to foster continuity in the field.
Boston, MA | Harvard Law School
Islamic law and History
She previously served as an Associate Professor at NYU Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and at NYU Law School, as Visiting Associate Professor of Islamic Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, and as a member of the law faculty at Boston College Law School—where she has taught courses in criminal law, legislation and theories of statutory interpretation, and Islamic law. She also served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She was named a 2010 Carnegie Scholar for research on issues of Islamic constitutionalism and contemporary law reform through processes of “internal critique” in the Muslim world, and a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard for a project designed to add scholarly context to ongoing discussions of Islamic law in new media. She has published on Islamic law in historical and modern contexts, including an edited volume, Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought
Rashad, Kameelah Mu’Min
Philadelphia, PA | University of Pennsylvania
Family Therapy, Psychology
M.Ed in Psychology Services (GSE ’01). She has also pursued further graduate education, completing a post-Masters certificate in Family Therapy and obtaining a second Masters in Restorative Practices and Youth Counseling. Kameelah has gained extensive clinical and program development experience in the behavioral health field and most recently served as the Manager for Community Development for Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS). Kameelah is the Founder of Muslim Wellness Foundation, Inc., an organization dedicated to reducing stigma and raising awareness regarding the unique behavioral health needs and concerns of American Muslims stemming from trauma, addiction and mental illness.
Fairfax, VA | George Mason University
Classical Islam, Islam in the Modern Age, Islam, Democracy and Human Rights, Islamic Bioethics and Muslim Theology
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England | University of Leeds
Racism, Ethnicity, Post-colonialism and “Political Islam”
Chicago, IL | Loyola University Chicago
African Studies, Islamic Studies
Kim Searcy (Ph.D., Indiana University, 2004; B.S., University of Indianapolis, 1989) is Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago where he teaches courses on Islam, Islam in East Africa, African history, slavery in Muslim Africa, and Islam in the African American experience.Prof. Searcy has written extensively on the Sudan and the historical impact of African slavery in the Sudan. His first book The Formation of the Sudanese Mahdist State: Symbols and Ceremony, 1882-1898 (Brill, 2010) is part of Brill’s “Islam in Africa” series. Prof. Searcy has examined Sufism, the Mahdi’s attitudes on slavery, the slave trade, and emancipation, as well as the impact of charismatic authority on the Khalifa. His current research examines the Muslim Brotherhood in northern Africa, specifically comparing the evolution of the Brotherhood in Egypt and the Sudan in the second half of the twentieth century.
Hayward, CA | Zaytuna College
Islamic Law and History
He moved to California to serve as a scholar-in-residence and lecturer at Zaytuna Institute in 2003. He co-founded the Lighthouse Mosque, Oakland, CA. in 2007. He co-founded Zaytuna College in 2009, where he now teaches Islamic law and history. Zaid Shakir is one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding. Known to the world as Imam Zaid, he has authored numerous articles on a wide range of topics, becoming a voice of conscience for American Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Recently, he was ranked as “one of the western world’s most influential Scholars The 500 Most Influential Muslims, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin, (2009).
Houston, TX | Islamic Learning Foundation
Tafseer, seerah, aqeedah, fiqh, dawah, and hadeeth
Director of the Islamic Learning Foundation (www.ilmflix.com) – Resident Scholar at Valley Ranch Islamic Center – Instructor and Academic Advisor at Mishkah University – Instructor at Al Maghrib Institute – Instructor at Bayyinah Institute. He has been heavily involved in community work. A strong advocate of community service, interfaith dialogue, and social justice, he served as the field coordinator of ICNA Relief in Hurricane Katrina and also co founded the East Jefferson Clergy Interfaith Council. In 2010, the Mayor and City Council of New Orleans awarded him for “Outstanding Civic Achievement”. He is a current member of the ICNA Shariah Council. Born and raised in the United States, he embarked on a journey to study traditional Islamic Sciences.
Ware, Rudolph (Butch)
Ann Arbor, MI | University of Michigan
Premodern Africa, Islam in Africa
Butch Ware (PhD University of Pennsylvania, 2004) specializes in West African history. His research interests include Islam, popular religious culture, and race. His dissertation, “Knowledge, Faith, and Power: A History of Qur’anic schooling in 20th Century Senegal,” interrogates the role of Islamic education in shaping Muslim identities, and examines the ways in which Qur’anic schools have articulated with Sufi orders, Muslim reformers, and the state in the recent past. He is currently revising his dissertation for publication, and beginning work on a study of the history of racial and religious identity in Senegal and Mauritania, a history which exploded into a series of bloody international riots in 1989. He also has a strong interest in exploring the interwoven histories of continental and Diaspora Africans in his teaching and research.