Religions & Identities
Aamina Ahmed| Paperback|
Aamina Ahmed coordinates and manages programs and alumni for New American Leaders. A deep commitment to creating spaces where everyone feels like they truly belong led Aamina to a multitude of community groups and nonprofits. She has straddled life in the Midwest and Pakistan and understands what it feels like to teeter between othering and belonging. Formerly, she led APIA Vote MI. To her, building power means commitment to deep relationships and hard work. Her confidence that we can all create the change we need seeds her commitment to ISPU.
Afraz Khan| Paperback|
Afraz Khan works for the American Civil Liberties Union in the Racial Justice Program as a member of their legal support staff. Previously, Afraz served as a community liaison at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, where he worked alongside elected officials and community boards to develop reforms on local issues, such as affordable housing and access to mental health resources. Afraz currently serves part-time as a Religious Life Adviser at Columbia University, where he works with university staff to build out programming and resources for the Muslim community. He also travels across the tri-state area delivering speeches and facilitating workshops for various organizations and schools on topics such as institutionalized racism, Islamophobia, and the American Muslim experience.
Allison K. Ralph| Paperback|Allison K. Ralph, Ph.D., is the Assistant Director of the Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute. Allison is a scholar of history and religion with a special interest in societal boundaries, publishing on religion, history, society, rhetoric, and justification of coercion in the social body. She has a broad range of experience in academic and administrative settings, including academic expertise in teaching, researching and editing, and administrative expertise in managing grants, major events and operations, and developing database systems. Prior to joining the Inclusive America Project as Assistant Director in 2019, she served the Project as consultant and advisor for two years, including as editor of Pluralism in Peril: Challenges to an American Ideal. She began her career in the non-profit sector at the El-Hibri Foundation after earning her doctorate in Church History from The Catholic University of America in 2015. She also holds a B.A. in History from the University of North Florida and an M.Phil. in Church History from the University of Cambridge. At heart, she is still the blue-collar farm girl and custom picture framer she was raised as at the family home and business.
Azka Mahmood| Paperback|
Azka Mahmood is a Pakistani-American advocate for human and civil rights. She has a background in research, policy analysis, and social inequalities. Azka believes in creating research-informed social change and policy reform. She holds a master’s degree in Sociology and a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Azka’s focus is on American Muslims and their engagement in social and political spheres. She has been an activist for social justice in a personal capacity as well as through interfaith and inter-minority collaborations. Azka has spearheaded several interfaith outreach activities through her local mosques. As part of CAIR Florida, she designed and conducted a teacher training to create culturally sensitive classrooms. She also worked with ISPU to organize and facilitate educational workshops for journalists and educators in the Midwest.
Chris Murray| Paperback|
Chris Murray is a National Board Certified Teacher of social studies who has taught in public schools and independent schools since 2005. As a professional development facilitator, Chris has consulted and presented for numerous organizations on the importance of religious literacy in schools. In 2016, Chris created the nation’s first district-level religious literacy course, which has trained over 250 educators and been covered in the Washington Post. Chris’s teaching on American Muslims has been featured by Teaching Tolerance Magazine and CBS News, and has been recognized by the 9/11 Tribute Foundation and Tanenbaum Center for Religious Center for Religious Understanding. Chris holds an MA in Holocaust Studies, MEd in Special Education, MS in Curriculum Design, and BA in History.
Dalia Mogahed| Paperback|Dalia Mogahed is the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where she leads the organization’s pioneering research and thought leadership programs on American Muslims. Mogahed is former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led the analysis of surveys of Muslim communities worldwide. With John L. Esposito, she co-authored the book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. President Barack Obama appointed Mogahed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009. She was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about U.S. engagement with Muslim communities. Her 2016 TED talk was named one of the top TED talks that year. She is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. She is also the CEO of Mogahed Consulting. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Brian J. Grim| Paperback|Brian is founding president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. Brian is the world’s leading expert on the relationship between religious freedom and the economy. Brian holds a doctorate in quantitative sociology from Penn State and is author of scores of academic articles and books. He is former chair of the World Economic Forum’s global council on the role of faith and a speaker at Davos. Brian was previously a senior researcher and director of international data at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC. He lived and worked in China, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the former USSR, where he was instrumental in setting up the first western-style business school in the Soviet Union, which was dissolved in his office building. Brian’s recent widely reported research finds that religion contributes $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, more than the combined revenues of the top 10 technology U.S. companies including Apple, Amazon and Google. Brian also supports and works closely with the “Business for Peace” platform of the United Nations Global Compact. He is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a regular speaker at the annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion. Brian is a global expert on international religious demography and the socio-economic impact of restrictions on religious freedom. He is a research associate at Boston University’s Institute on Culture, Religion & World Affairs (CURA) and a Non-Resident Scholar at the Institute for the Studies of Religion (ISR) at Baylor University. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute in Washington, DC. Brian was previously an advisor for the religion & geopolitics project of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and an associate scholar at the Religious Liberty Project at Georgetown University. He was a speaker at the first-ever Vatican TEDx event at the Vatican. Prior to becoming the Foundation’s founding president in 2014, Brian directed the largest social science effort to collect and analyze global data on religion at the Pew Research Center. His books include The Price of Freedom Denied (Cambridge Univ. Press), The World Religion Database (Brill), The World’s Religions in Figures (Wiley) and The Yearbook of International Religious Demography (Brill). Brian has appeared as an expert on global religion on numerous media outlets, including CNN, BBC, Fox, CBS, C-SPAN, and regularly presents to high level audiences throughout the world including the White House, State Department, European Parliament, the Vatican, and various the United Nations bodies including the Human Rights Council, and the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the UN Global Compact. Brian is the recipient of many academic and civic awards, including: – 2018 World Peace Award – 2017 Korean Peninsula Peace Prize – 2017 Pontifical University Religious Freedom Award – 2016 Distinguished Article Award from the American Sociological Association – 2016 Religious Freedom Award, from the North American Religious Liberty Association – 2012 European Population Association Research Award – 2010 World Association for Public Opinion Research outstanding research article award – 2009 Distinguished Article Award from the American Sociological Association
Erum Ikramullah| Paperback|
Erum Ikramullah is the Research Project Manager at ISPU, where she manages the day-to-day activities of the organization’s research studies. Previously, she worked at Child Trends as a Research Analyst on both quantitative and qualitative research studies on topics related to reproductive health, risky adolescent behavior, and fatherhood. Erum has co-authored several academic journal articles and has presented research at the Society for Research on Adolescents and the Population Association of America. She has a BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland.
Hind Makki| Paperback|
Hind Makki is an interfaith and anti-racism educator who holds a degree in International Relations from Brown University. A former fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, Hind is the founder and curator of Side Entrance, an award-winning website documenting women’s prayer experiences in mosques. Hind served on the Islamic Society of North America’s Mosque Inclusion Taskforce and was an advisor to the ISPU project Reimagining Muslim Spaces, consulting with American mosques on gender, economic, and convert diversity. In 2018, Hind was featured as one of CNN’s 25 Influential American Muslims. Locally, Hind serves on the advisory boards of the Br. Jeffrey Gros, FSC Institute for Dialogue, Justice, and Social Action at Lewis University and the Chicago History Museum’s exhibit “American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago.”
Lida Azim, MA|Lida is a product of the Bay Area in Northern California and received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from San Jose State University followed by a master’s degree in Intercultural and International Communications from American University’s School of International Service. Lida has always looked for a way to give back and empower her community. The formation of the Afghan Diaspora for Equality and Progress did exactly that. While continuing in her efforts to be an active and involved member of the community, Lida also joined the Afghan-American Conference Organizing Committee. She currently works at America Indivisible as a Program Coordinator.
Liz Kineke| Paperback|Liz Kineke is an award-winning journalist and television producer. During her fourteen-year tenure as producer and writer for the CBS Religion & Culture series she created 45 half-hour shows that looked at faith and religion as they relate to racism, white supremacy, climate change, immigration, and cultural heritage, among other timely issues. Her most recent reporting can be found in Religion News Service (RNS), Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and AP Global Religion. A graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, she spent the early part of her career working for foreign broadcasters in the US as well as pioneering TV journalist Linda Ellerbee and the Associated Press Television News. She is the recipient of seven Religion Communicators Council Wilbur Awards and three Religion News Association awards. She also received a Henry Luce Foundation Public Theologies of Technology and Presence grant. She lives in New York City with her cat Harry.
Luna Banuri| Paperback|
Luna Banuri is a seasoned consultant in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors with a background in legal education and 25 years of experience in strategy, community, and organizational development. Some of her former clients include UNDP, UNICEF, ADB, and the World Bank. She is the founder and director of TeleTaleem, a nonprofit that leverages the power of technology, innovative approaches, and partnerships to solve the toughest global development challenges in education in her native country of Pakistan. Since relocating to Salt Lake City from Chicago in 2014, Luna has been deeply involved with her local community. She is currently a founding board member and executive director for the Utah Muslim Civic League, where she has established a network to amplify Muslim voices across the state. She was appointed to the Mayor of Salt Lake City’s Human Rights Commission in 2018 and to the Governor of Utah’s MLK Commission in 2019. Luna is also a board member at the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, Spy Hop, and ISPU, among others.
M. Arsalan Suleman, JD, MPhil|M. Arsalan Suleman is a counsel in Foley Hoag’s International Litigation & Arbitration Practice. His practice focuses on representing sovereign States in international disputes, including before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, UN treaty bodies, U.S. courts, and other tribunals and dispute resolution forums. He primarily advises sovereign States and State-owned companies in Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South and Southeast Asia. Arsalan is the U.S. Department of State’s former Acting Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world’s second largest international organization after the United Nations. He engaged with the OIC and its member states on bilateral and multilateral foreign policy issues, including via remarks before and participation in Heads-of-State Summits and Ministerial Level Meetings. Arsalan launched the first-ever U.S.-OIC annual bilateral consultations, institutionalizing the U.S.-OIC relationship via an annual dialogue process. He engaged with the OIC, OIC member countries, and relevant civil society on a broad range of foreign policy issues, establishing partnerships in areas of mutual interest such as human rights, countering violent extremism, health, education, entrepreneurship, and science and technology.
M. Naeem Nash| Paperback|
M. Naeem Nash has spent more than 25 years working in higher education and has more than 20 years of classroom experience teaching history. He started his teaching career as a public school social studies teacher and later took on assignments as an adjunct history professor at Hudson County Community College. Nash presently serves full-time in the Department of History at Essex County College. He earned an MA in history from Fairleigh Dickinson University and two BA degrees—one in African American and African studies and another in history from Rutgers University–Newark. Nash is the author of Islam Among Urban Blacks: Muslims in Newark, New Jersey: A Social History and Islam and the Black Experience: African American History Reconsidered. He is known for his writing and public programs on African American Muslim history in New Jersey and the greater Newark, NJ community.
Marwa Abdalla| Paperback|Marwa Abdalla is a researcher and community educator in the fields of communication, culture, and religion. She received her bachelor’s in political science from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and her master’s in communication from San Diego State University, and studied Islam and Quran with the American Open University. Marwa has received numerous awards for her work, including the President’s Award for Research, the Outstanding Graduate Student Award, and ISPU’s Young Scholar Award for Outstanding Research on American Muslims. Marwa co-authored Covering American Muslims Objectively and Creatively: A Guide for Media Professionals, published by ISPU. She has been invited to speak on the diverse experiences of American Muslims and the challenges of xenophobia and Islamophobia in various contexts throughout the nation.
Meira Neggaz| Paperback|
Meira Neggaz is the Executive Director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where she is responsible for the institution’s overall leadership, strategy, and growth. Meira works to build and strengthen ISPU, to cultivate relationships with community leaders, policy makers, scholars, partner institutions and stakeholders, and to broaden the reach and impact of ISPU’s research. Before joining ISPU, Meira served as Senior Program Officer for Marie Stopes International (MSI), a leading, UK-based organization working in 42 countries. There, she led and managed programs in multiple countries, developed partnerships with key stakeholders and partner institutions, provided technical advice, and managed key grants and donor relationships. Formerly, Meira was the first Executive Director of WINGS in Guatemala, where she grew the organization from its infancy to become a national leader in the health sector, and the Guatemala Country Representative for Curamericas, establishing country presence and leading a USAID funded child survival project. She holds a BA from Huron University in London and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Huron University and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.