Speakers and Entertainers

Shahaab Quraishi


Shahaab Quraishi is a creative professional specializing in entertainment and fashion. A proud graduate of The University of Michigan and hailing from the Motor City, Shahaab brings a unique perspective to the entertainment and fashion verticals. Simultaneously working as the VP of Creative for Sony Pictures and founder of the edgy street sartorial men's line, SHAYQ Bespoke, he has developed and created award-winning campaigns for some recent blockbusters (Spectre, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Jumanji) and established his brand as a leader within the world of men's dapper apparel. His passion for diversity in thought has allowed for new ways of working and new perspectives within the worlds that he is a part of. With a focus on controlling the narrative and leaving a legacy, his works are definitely something to be spoken about.

 

 

 

Chef Demetrios


Have presented lectures and ‘hands on’ workshops on a variety of culinary topics, including: Stocks & Sauce: From Ancient Times to Today; Evolution of Flatbread: From Ancient Egypt to Today; Working with Fillo, to numerous culinary clubs, ACF chapters, as well as non‐culinary audiences. At a National Conference of the American Culinary Federation, I presented The Greek Cuisines, and their Effects on Other Cuisines, which included cuisine sampling to over 400 participants; and have presented at a National Conference of the Research Chefs Association, Identifying Consumer Culinary Needs and Addressing Them. At the Culinary Institute of America, I was one of two chefs who presented, The Greek Cuisines, a week‐long ‘hand‐on course’ to the students, in conjunction with the Greek Trade Mission. This culminated with a festival‐style outdoor buffet, for over 250 food writers, editors, and culinarians in attendance. Have presented various

 

 

 

 

Reem El Shafaki


Reem is Senior Associate at DinarStandard, a specialized market research and advisory firm focused on the emerging Islamic markets of Halal/Tayyab food, the Muslim-friendly travel market, and Islamic/Ethical Finance. Reem leads DinarStandard’s Travel sector practice. Recent projects include, developing the Halal travel marketing campaign strategy for Indonesia, leading the team that implemented a Halal Travel Benefits Program in South East Asia for a global technology and payment processing firm, delivering a Muslim travel market opportunity workshop, developing a travel portal marketing plan and campaign, authoring the Muslim Travel section of the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2013/2014/2015/2016/2017.
Reem has worked with clients such as Thomson Reuters, MasterCard and the Marriott. Reem frequently speaks at industry events, including ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair, and the Global Islamic Economy Summit. Before joining DinarStandard, Reem provided marketing consulting to small businesses in the US, and held marketing and managerial positions within both the banking and cosmetics industry. Reem holds a BA in English from Ain Shams University in Cairo, as well as the CIM Advanced Marketing Certificate from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK.

Nura Afia


Nura Afia is an American Muslim beauty blogger, social influencer, makeup artist and model. She garnered acclaim as one of the pioneers in the makeup genre for muslim hijabi women on social media. She received viral attention when she made history as the first hijabi CoverGirl. Nura has been featured in Allure, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour and Seventeen magazines as well as The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour and television ad campaigns for CoverGirl and Starbucks. She uses her platform to further the normalization of Muslims and especially Hijabis within the broader context of American and online culture.
Nura grew up in Denver, Colorado, but her family traces itself back to Morocco, Lebanon and Switzerland. She lived in Casablanca for a period but now resides in Denver with her husband and daughter.

Mo Amer


A pioneer of Arab-American standup, Mo has already cemented his stature as an original voice in comedy. In addition to touring with Dave Chappelle, Mo made international headlines when a chance airline upgrade landed him seated next to Eric Trump just weeks after the 2016 Presidential Election. The story of an Arab-American Muslim immigrant sitting and chatting with the POTUS’ son–at a time of heightened cultural tension in America–went super viral. Mo's standup makes controversial news headlines personal. Part improvisation, part memoir, Mo humor reveals his life’s circuitous route, including how he managed to travel the world without a passport for two decades, was held at gunpoint by an American soldier in Iraq, and once had Bradley Cooper (unintentionally) save his life in the Middle East. Mo has performed in over two dozen countries on five continents––including as the first and only Arab-American refugee comic to perform for U.S. and coalition troops overseas. Mo has had numerous television appearances including Comedy Central’s @midnight and recently made his late night debut on CBS’s Late Night with Stephen Colbert. He's also appeared on Bassem Youssef’s ‘Al-Bernameg’ (The Daily Show of Egypt) and served as co-host of Comedy Central Presents (CC Arabia). Mo has been interviewed by over 100 major world media publications including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian. He was also recently listed n Rolling Stones 2017 “Comedians You Should Know”.

Khoshal Azami


Khoshal Azami is the creator of "Body By Khoshal.” He is the most sought-after Personal Trainer in the Chicagoland and North Shore areas. His work encompasses structural and fitness assessments, nutrition counseling, interval & circuit training, cardiovascular/endurance training, and strength training. In addition, Khoshal highly specializes in weight loss and competition prep. Khoshal is a Certified Master Personal Trainer (CPT), Professional Bodybuilder, and certified Nutrition Consultant.

Nadia Azmy


A true New Yorker at heart, Nadia Azmy is a graduate of The New School Parsons and is currently an Art
Director at Maison MRKT.
Her interest in design peaked in 2011 when she began lifestyle blogging under Winnie Detwa in Michigan.
Since then, Nadia has graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and has worked with renowned names such
as Moda Operandi, Stuart Weitzman and Oribe and has been featured by Harpers Bazaar Arabia, New York
Public Radio and Refinery 29. Most recently, Nadia has launched MINAAZINE, a platform that explores and
cultivates the cultural narratives of MENA youth in the region and abroad, alongside Alaa Balkhy.
With a passion for art and culture equally, her work is constantly inspired by her diverse surroundings between
the East and the West

 

Nour the Barber


Nour the Barber is Chicago’s top source for men’s grooming needs, a role he has held for more than 10 years. But the true story is that Nour unknowingly began his journey toward becoming a master barber all the way back at the age of 17 years old. He started off by freshening himself up at least twice a week in order to achieve his desired style.
Nour has been cutting hair for 15+ years now and is a licensed barber and esthetician in the USA and UAE. He is a self taught barber who wanted to expand his techniques by going to school and getting licensed so he can one day open his own Barbershop. Nour is now the owner of two shops in the Chicago area known as “Studio Cuts Barbershop.”
Nour is also the founder of the online business “Certified Line” where he offers different skin and hair care products for barbers, cosmetologists and everyone worldwide. He is known for expanding the barber industry for barbers to be able to help them provide more than just an average barber experience. Nour is invited to over 20 trade shows world wide yearly to talk and present his work and products to barbers and cosmetologists everywhere. He was featured for his work on ABC 7 news, Insider and Insider Beauty, as well as many other Facebook pages with millions of shares and views and also featured in the TV show F*** that’s delicious.

 

Rod Bashir


Mr. Roderick “Rod” S. Bashir is a former elected trustee of the Village of Hazel Crest where he served two terms. He is also former Vice President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1 in Chicago, IL. Rod is a former candidate for mayor of the Village of Hazel Crest.
As trustee, Rod Co-Chaired the educational task force that brought home rule to the Village of Hazel Crest. At SEIU Rod negotiated the first contract with the City Colleges of Chicago that provided maintenance staff with paid sick days. Rod introduced then-Candidate for US Senate- Barack Obama to the AFRAM members of the SEIU Executive Board. SEIU eventually endorsed Barack Obama for his senate campaign and his historic 2008 presidential campaign.
In 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn appointed Mr. Bashir to the Illinois Finance Authority and in 2010 the Governor appointed him to the Illinois State Board of Investment. Rod currently serves as a Board member of SEIU Master Trust Pension Funds and, after serving as President for a 4 year term, he now serves as President Emeritus of the SEIU Caucus for people of African Descent (AFRAM). At AFRAM, he was instrumental in persuading SEIU to include minorities and women in the management of their equities portfolio. His work led towards the current management by minorities of 60% of SEIU’s $2 Billion equity portfolio.
Mr. Bashir is an active member of Masjid Al-Taqwa in Chicago, Chicagoland Shura Council, and Muslim Democrats. He resides in Hazel Crest with his wife Gloria.

Marlo Broughton


Marlo Broughton (born 1987) known professionally as MARLOBRO, is an Muslim American contemporary artist and designer. Who got his start by working with his cousin and founder of Detroit VS Everybody by Tommey Walker and linking up with members of Finally Famous which ultimatly lead to working on mixtape artworks and branding for  Big Sean's early indie career.
He began as a graffiti artist, moving on to studying industrial design at WSU (Wayne state university), and now makes acrylic paintings on canvas and large scale mural paintings. He also collaborates commercially, predominantly on promotional materials, and also clothing, music production and other forms of branding.
His work is exhibited in galleries, outdoors in local and international environments, you can find his work displayed on 1XRUN, PLAYGROUND DETROIT, MURALS IN THE MARKET and avidly collected by individuals. He lives and works in Detroit, Michigan.

Riz Eats


Rizwan is that one friend who can’t start his meal until he’s captured a photo of it first. Combining his passion for
photography and unrelenting love for great food, he documents and shares all of his mouth-watering adventures on @rizeats — a halal foodie’s visual dream and go-to for the newest and most delicious places to eat. And his food goals go beyond his native Detroit base. Whether he’s backpacking across Europe, taking a last minute road-trip, or simply meeting up with friend for lunch, the only question he always needs an answer to is, “Where are we gonna eat?”.
To explore some of Riz’s amazing eats, check out @rizeats on Instagram. Caution: drooling may occur.

Reem El Shafaki


Reem is Senior Associate at DinarStandard, a specialized market research and advisory firm focused on the emerging Islamic markets of Halal/Tayyab food, the Muslim-friendly travel market, and Islamic/Ethical Finance. Reem leads DinarStandard’s Travel sector practice. Recent projects include, developing the Halal travel marketing campaign strategy for Indonesia, leading the team that implemented a Halal Travel Benefits Program in South East Asia for a global technology and payment processing firm, delivering a Muslim travel market opportunity workshop, developing a travel portal marketing plan and campaign,
authoring the Muslim Travel section of the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2013/2014/2015/2016/2017
Reem has worked with clients such as Thomson Reuters, MasterCard and the Marriott. Reem frequently speaks at industry events, including ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair, and the Global Islamic Economy Summit. Before joining DinarStandard, Reem provided marketing consulting to small businesses in the US, and held marketing and managerial positions within both the banking and cosmetics industry. Reem holds a BA in English from Ain Shams University in Cairo, as well as the CIM Advanced Marketing Certificate from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK.

Melanie Elturk


As the founder and CEO of the leading US hijab brand, Haute Hijab, Melanie Elturk is highlighted as a significant thought leader in modest fashion. She made waves earlier this year when her brand created a new category in fashion – Luxury Hijabs.
As a former civil rights attorney, Melanie brings her passion for social justice into the fashion industry as she sets out to normalize hijab in the mainstream and build the world's first global hijab brand.
In addition to speaking around the world as a modest fashion expert, she is a regular contributor on ELLE.com and has been featured in the New York Times, NBC Today, USA Today, Glamour, InStyle and others.

Qais Essar


Qais Essar is a contemporary Afghan composer, instrumentalist and producer who channels his melodic designs through the rabab, a 2,500 year old instrument from Afghanistan. He has toured extensively, sharing his new genre of music nationally and internationally. Essar has released two LPs, four EPs and one live album. His first LP, The Green Language (2014), quickly became an Amazon #1 bestseller, followed by his second LP, Tavern of Ruin in 2016. He has contributed original music to feature films also. In 2017, Qais was recruited by director Nora Twomey to compose an original song for her Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated film, The Breadwinner (produced by Angelina Jolie). He earned a Canadian Screen Award nomination for “Best Original Song” for his piece The Crown Sleeps. Additionally, he orchestrated a sold-out run of the musical Tear a Root from the Earth at the OBIE award winning Ice Factory at the New Ohio Theatre in New York City. Essar continues to be featured in festivals and venues around the world including the Newport Folk Festival, SXSW, The Kennedy Center, Treefort Music Festival and more. Essar is planning to tour and release his 3rd LP in 2018.

Mos Gen


Alongside his progressing acting career, Akram commonly known as his stage name Mos Gen is a well sought out artist & poet from Brooklyn, New York. He has been writing and performing Spoken Word for over a decade. His poetry has been featured on Def Poetry Jam, websites, magazines and in art galleries. He hosts and performs at multiple poetry events in cities such as New York, D.C, Miami, Chicago and Dubai.
He is the creator of the Be Poetry clothing brand as well as being cast on films such as Oceans 8, several commercials including Comcast and Seamless, hit shows like Homeland, Quantico and most recently The Looming Tower on Hulu. He is a street artist that his work in art galleries in New York and is commissioned to do art pieces for influencers and celebrities. He wrote and directed his first short film that has been submitted to several film festivals including Cannes and now he’s currently writing for HBO and Starz.

Sara Hamdan


Sara Hamdan was raised in the Chicagoland area, with roots in Palestine. In 2011, Sara graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Anthropology and is graduate student at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Prior to joining IMAN, Sara worked with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights administering programs and working in the field with community-based organizations across the state. Sara currently manages IMAN’s Corner Store Campaign.

Zainab Ismail


With over 23 years of experience as a movement therapist, nutrition coach, personal trainer, and national speaker, Zainab Ismail has been helping clients achieve their goals in health and fitness for over two decades in New York City. She is a graduate Fellow of Applied Functional Science from The Gray Institute and Nutrition for life coach. Zainab has been a national facilitator for The National Academy of Sports Medicine and International Master Trainer for Free Motion Fitness. Zainab has lectured in several fitness centers here in the US as well as in Hong Kong and Malaysia. As a full-time therapist, she integrates an eclectic approach to soft-tissue therapy, movement conditioning and nutrition coaching in New York City.
Zainab has presented at the national conferences ICNA and ISNA, teaching exercise/nutrition for Muslim women. Zainab has also presented for various organizations and institutions like the University of Toronto’s Muslim Chaplaincy, The Al-Maqasid Annual Summer Retreat, Sakina Collective's Conscious Consumption, Safina Society's Convert Conference, and the Mecca Center in NYC as a regular teacher.

Zainab Johnson


Zainab Johnson, a stand-up comedian and actress, is quickly being propelled as one of the most unique and engaging performers on stage and screen. Zainab’s comedy is based on her unique point-of- view, which was shaped growing up in Harlem as one of thirteen siblings in a Muslim family. After getting a degree in math and taking a job as a teacher, she quickly learned that she had a different calling. Zainab can most recently be seen in her breakout appearance on HBO’s All Def Comedy and has made appearances on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Arsenio, BET’s Comic View, MTV’s Acting Out, AXSTV’s Gotham Comedy Live! and just recently starred in a new web series titled Avant-Guardians premiering November 19th. She is a regular at the Improv Comedy Club in LA and the Comedy Cellar in NY. Zainab has performed in the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival as one of the 2014 New Faces of Comedy and returned this year to appear on Kevin Hart’s LOL network tapings.


 

Sadaf Javaid


 Sadaf Javaid is a scientist, educator and entrepreneur, focused on designing social experiences centered around community and creativity. She holds a masters from the University of Illinois in Instructional Leadership and is involved in initiatives that reimagine the Muslim narrative. Her passions lay at the intersection of cultural programming, education reform and the digital landscape. Apart from molding young leaders in the field of science, she is most well-known for co-founding illMuslims. She is currently the Director of School Programs at Academic Approach

Hoda Katebi


Hoda Katebi is a Chicago-based angry daughter of Muslim-Iranian immigrants. She is the voice behind JooJoo Azad, the radical, political fashion online publication hailed from BBC to the New York Times, and author of the book Tehran Streetstyle, the first-ever in-print documentation and celebration of illegal fashion in Iran. Offline, Hoda is an abolitionist and community organizer, currently a part of campaings to end surviellence programs and police militarization, and is also developing a sewing co-operative of refugee women in Chicago. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2016 where her research focused on intersections of gender, resistance, feminism, & the state in Iran, and will be starting law school in the fall of 2018. She runs on saffron ice cream & colonizer tears.



Faiza Kalam


Faiza has 10 years of experience in the nutrition field and developed her counseling style to contrast with restrictive diet regimens preferring to apply positive counseling and education approaches. Faiza is a Co-founder of Livewyd LLC which is among the first online nutrition counseling in Arabic with more than 1000 clients worldwide where she provides counseling one on one and in groups. Since 2014 Faiza has led the weight loss and wellness program at Family Medicine of Merrillville, IN. 
Fiaza is a Ph.D. candidate at UIC working on Intermittent Fasting research. She earned a Clinical Research Certificate from Northwestern University, a Master in Nutrition Science from Jordan University of Science and Technology (Jordan), and a bachelor in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Kalamoon (Syria). Faiza has also published articles in international scientific journals.  
She is one of the leaders on the Healthy Corner Store initiative that works under a collaboration between UIC and Inner-City Muslims Action Network (IMAN). Faiza also worked at UI health for Chicago partnership for health promotion (CPHP). Also, she has a unique experience in coffee as she worked for a coffee company for 3 years as a Quality and Food Safety Manager.



Atif Kazmi


The founder of Por Homme, Atif's first entrepreneurial pursuit came in 2008 when he launched a digital media company focused on men's lifestyle which reached a global audience interested in news and discussions around auto, fashion, travel, design, and more. After working in digital advertising and leading on social media strategy for brands like Michael Kors, Colgate, Maybelline, and others, Atif left corporate to pursue his passion for storytelling full-time. And while fostering deep relationships with countless luxury brands like BMW, Rolls- Royce, The Peninsula Hotels, Atif has become a trusted advisor for storytelling and content-first strategy.
In 2016, Atif co-founded networkgray, a creative agency of his own that works with brands like Kodak and Polaroid. This year, he's also co-founded Almost Always, a premium streetwear brand that's available in select stores globally.


Himmad Khan


Himmad Khan is a restauranteur, foodie, jet-setter, and avid photographer. His love for travel and halal food led to the launch of  the internationally recognized halal food blog, Haloodie (2013). In 2017, the blog evolved into a robust app, providing users the best halal options nearby. Today, his love for donuts knows no bounds. When he isn't tending to his restaurants, or cycling the country, you can find Himmad mapping halal options, one haloodie at a time.


Mo Khan


Mo Khan is a 24-year-old social media influencer best known for his Vine “Modern Day Aladdin” that went viral and got +100 million views. It was also nominated for best Vine of the year. He is also a host, model, actor and continues to influence and entertain his +500K followers on Instagram. As an entrepreneur, social media marketing has helped him build his marketing company where he uses his network to conduct marketing campaigns for several companies. 


Marissa Kuehn


Marissa Kuehn is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who holds a Master of Science in Nutrition Science from California State University, Long Beach. She is a Regulatory Analyst for global nutrition products for Amway NUTRILITE.


Haroon Latif


Haroon is Director of Strategic Insights at DinarStandard, and leads the Food practice, overseeing consulting projects, investment mandates and leading thought leadership development. Haroon is a seasoned strategy and investment consultant with an MBA with Distinction from Cornell University, and an MSc Economics from the London School of Economics.


Zubair Mohajir


Chef Zubair Mohajir is the Founder of Wazwan Supper Club – a new socially conscious high end dining experience in Chicago. Trained in classical French Fine Dining, Chef Mohajir brings together the flavor profiles of his Indian heritage and the finesse of French fine dining. Chef Mohajir worked his way up at the Pump Room by Jean George in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. In his next move, Chef Mohajir moved out west to Yountville, CA, to work at Thomas Keller’s 1 Michelin Star Restaurant, Bouchon. Upon his recent return to Chicago, the urge to accomplish more with food became an obsession; as a result Wazwan Supper Club was born.  For every meal his diners enjoy, the Wazwan Chef team sources fresh produce for distribution and executes community dinners in various neighborhoods across the city.  You can currently find his Spring menu offerings in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Yvonne Maffei


Yvonne Maffei is a travel-obsessed food writer, cookbook author, e-commerce entrepreneur and Founder of MyHalalKitchen.com, a halal food and cooking website. Her book titles include: Clean Your Kitchen Green (2010), Summer Ramadan Cooking (2013) and My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, Lifestyle Inspiration (2016). She lives in Chicago and is working on her next book and eating her way around the world on global culinary adventures.
Maffei will perform live cooking demonstrations using halal certified products from Saffron Road and Organic Valley.

 

 

Christina Phelps


Christina Phelps is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Regulatory Policy Associate at Amway Nutrilite. She has worked in the food and supplement industry since 2010, applying food and nutrition science to product development and global regulatory policy. She holds a degree in Medical Dietetics from The Ohio State University.





AMJAD QUADRI


Amjad Quadri, Regional Manager and joined Saturna Capitol in June of 2015. Before joining Saturna Amjad has 12 year of Islamic finance experience with two of the market leaders in that space. Amjad most recently was the vice president of Community Relations at Guidance Residential. Guidance is the market leader in Islamic home financing and is one of the most recognized brands in the Muslim community in America. Before moving into his current role, Amjad helped form advisory councils of local community leaders in three states and started two new offices, the latter which he supervised as Vice President of Business Development and New Markets at University Islamic Financial.
Amjad graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree from the college of Business in Information Decision Sciences. Before entering the world of finance, he worked in the information technology industry. He worked on Y2K conversion projects for several large corporations, including IBM, McKinsey & Company, and CNA. He then spent three years as a release engineer/project manager for Cyborg Systems, now owned by Hewitt Associates. Amjad's first foray into Islamic finance was as a field sales consultant for Guidance Financial Group in 2003. In his spare time, amongst other things, he has served as Vice President of one of the largest Mosques in America.

 

 

ASH-HAR QURAISHI


Ash-har Quraishi is an Emmy Award-winning television journalist, producer and filmmaker with more than 15 years of international, investigative and long-form reporting/production experience. He currently reports for NBC5 in Chicago. Before that he was the Chief Midwest Correspondent for Al Jazeera America. Previously he reported for WTTW’s flagship nightly news magazine show Chicago Tonight and was a CNN international correspondent and bureau chief. His reporting and photography have been featured on CNN, The PBS NewsHour, Al Jazeera, A&E, The Oprah Winfrey Show and in The New York Times.

 

 

Amanda Saab


Amanda was born and raised in Dearborn Michigan, where she learned her love for cooking and baking from her mother and grandmother. Amanda earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from Wayne State University and began her food blog, amandasplate.com at the encouragement of friends and family.
Amanda’s passion for food and sharing led her to compete on MasterChef; the world’s largest food competition. She was the first woman in hijab to appear on the American version of the show. Amanda earned a MasterChef apron and continued to shine in the competition, impressing Gordon Ramsay not only with her creativity in food, but her positive attitude and teamwork as well.
Amanda and her spouse, Hussein began Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor in January 2016, after Amanda experienced hate speech online and saw the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the presidential campaign. She later partnered with Michael Hebb, founder of Death Over Dinner, to share Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor with the world.
Amanda’s recipes and food photography have been featured in The Detroit Free Press, HuffPost Religion, Seattle Met Magazine, Fox 2 Detroit, Q13 Fox Seattle, Eater.com, and Star Pulse.
Amanda received the 2016, Arab American Professional Network Rising Star Award.
Amanda wishes to share Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor globally to create a safe space for
conversation a strong sense of community, and for neighbors to share their love for food with
one another!

Zeinab Saab


Zeinab Saab is a Chicago-based artist currently working towards their Master of Fine Arts degree from Northern Illinois University. She received her BFA from Bowling Green State University in 2015, with an emphasis in print media. Her current work deals with one’s relationship to the Arabic language in a time where globalization halts the ability for one to connect to their country of origin. Her work also tackles the personal relationship to Islam through language, ritual, and spirituality. Zeinab’s work has been displayed both nationally and internationally, in places such as Texas, New York, Hawai’I, Dubai, and Chicago to name a few, and well as recent permanent collections at Zayed University in Dubai, UAE, and the University of Iowa Special Collections library in Iowa City, IA.



 Lema Safadi


Lema Safadi is a dietetic intern from Chicago. She graduated from BenU with a bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics. She also received her master’s in food and nutrition from SIUC. Lema recently joined MIDAN and is excited to contribute to the group activities and projects. She decided to go into dietetics because she believes in using food/nutrition and fitness to vitalize the body and mind.

Sameer Sarmast


Sameer Sarmast is the Host and Executive Producer of “Sameer's Eats,” the popular Halal restaurant review show on YouTube. In 2013, Sameer and his team launched "The Halal Food Tour" in 5 U.S. cities across the country. The tour was a series of Halal Food Festivals highlighting local Halal restaurants while Sameer and Yvonne Maffei of My Halal Kitchen entertained the attendees by hosting cooking demos and “Iron Chef” style cooking challenges.
Sameer has been recognized for his efforts in promoting Halal cuisine through several media outlets and publications such as Fios1 News, Fusion, Al-Jazeera and the U.S. State Department. Although Sameer has had cameos on Food TV shows such as “Bizarre Foods” and “Restaurant Redemption,” he hopes to see a segment highlighting Halal cuisine on the Food Network one day!
Sameer graduated from Rutgers University's Business School with a B.S. Degree in Finance and an M.S. Degree in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University. Sameer currently resides and works full time in New Jersey as a Vice President in Wealth Management.

Irene Sarah


Irene Sarah is a self-proclaimed 'Jill of all Trades' constantly evolving, learning, and taking on new things. A once professional photographer, Irene's passion now lies in creating content surrounding her life's experiences to connect with her audience in a meaningful way - whether it be through a makeup tutorial or travel diary. She passionately advocates for women to find happiness & success on their own terms breaking free of their cultural & societal gender inequalities. Irene has worked with top beauty, travel, & lifestyle brands all the while proudly being a work-from-home mom; she believes that women can not only have but handle it ALL no matter what society says!

Elwa Saleh


Elwa is a beauty and fashion blogger! She has worked as an influencer for 2 years, and has had a passion for hair, makeup, and fashion for as long as she can remember. As a blogger, she enjoys connecting and building relationships with her supportive community. Elwa loves to inspire and to be inspired by them. This is what truly keeps her going.

Adnan N Samia


Adnan N Samia, are your typical American Muslim couple who started their Travel Adventure from 2010. Both consider themselves AVGeeks with a Passion for Traveling. Adnan comes from a background in Criminal Justice / Law while Samia has a background in Government & Politics, together they created Adnan N Samia which started just for Family/Friends and now has a fan following from Muslims/Non-Muslims around the world.
Furthermore, these New Yorkers started their own non-profit organization in 2012 called Act of Goodwill, Inc to help those who are less fortunate by utilizing their passion for travel to help orphans and widows in each country they visit. They have donated over 750,000 miles and sponsored over 300,000+ meal. They believe in being a #Force4Good by doing an #ActOFGoodwill.
Adnan N Samia have been invited to various opportunity events such as YouTube for Halal Travel Show; The Points Guy in promoting the use of Points/Miles the Halal way and by Airlines / Hotel Industries with Exclusive VIP access to their events. Adnan N Samia Blog is for anyone who has an interest in traveling, looking for adventure down the block or around the world!

Zahra Sandberg


Zahra Sandberg is a wife, mama of two, YouTuber and Editor of Conscious Lifestyle blog, Love Zahra - featured worldwide on major television networks such as WGN, Fox, and NBC as well as in Marie Claire, Splash, and Chicago magazines among others.  Zahra is passionate about diversity and inclusivity in the Fashion and Beauty Industries, and strongly believes in challenging the status quo. Love Zahra the blog started in 2012, back in the day when there were very few successful style blogs featuring women of color. A lifelong advocate for social justice and female empowerment, Love Zahra also covers topics such as cultural and religious taboos, colorism, and gender roles. When she has down time, Zahra likes to write dad jokes that she aptly calls ‘mom jokes

Reem Sayes


Reem Sayes is a former Chicago Public Schools teacher turned mom- entrepreneur. Inspired by having witnessed Islamic holidays go unnoticed in public schools and becoming a mother unable to find quality Ramadan & Eid decorations. Reem decided to sketch out her own ideal Eid light decoration, built a team and, develop the first Eid Mubarak LED sign. Seeing her idea come to life made her believe that this was something every Muslim home in North America should have thus, the birth of Days of Eid™. Days of Eid™ was created to help Muslim mothers educate and inspire their children to celebrate and be celebrated and InshaAllah (God-willing) become the driving force into making Eid a nationally celebrated holiday.

Sahar Shafi


Dr. Sahar Shafi is a Board Certified Periodontal and Implant Surgeon based in Los Angeles, California. Born in Peshawar, Pakistan, Dr. Shafi and her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was 2 years old, and settled in central California. She was raised in a traditional Pakistani household and was very involved in her community growing up. Dr. Shafi attended University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for all of her graduate and post-graduate training where she has conducted and published research, specifically involving growth-factor based bone regeneration. She cares tremendously for her patients and is a true advocate for education, demonstrated by her appointment as Lecturer and Clinical Instructor at UCLA’s School of Dentistry, along with lecturing to other dentists about various aspects of Periodontal Surgery. She is currently practicing in Santa Monica, California. As much as Dr. Shafi enjoys dentistry, she has always said it was a means to an end and is currently expanding her knowledge in the world of health, wellness, and skincare. She is a true advocate of empowering women to be the best version of themselves, and to stay true to themselves focusing on self love and positivity. In her spare time, Dr. Shafi takes an interest in fashion while assisting her husband with his custom bespoke suiting company, ShayQ Bespoke. She is an avid yogi, with plans to begin teacher training to become a yoga instructor. She also creates a mean smoothie and enjoys sharing meal and snack ideas with her friends.

Zaid Shakir


Zaid Shakir is a Muslim American scholar and co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California. He teaches courses on Arabic, law, history, and Islamic spirituality. He is co-founder and chairman of United For Change, whose stated goal is to leverage the diversity of the Muslim and interfaith community and address divisive obstacles.

Kamraan Siddiqui


Kamraan Siddiqui is the founder of Holiday Bosnia, which delivers trips and programmes in Bosnia - Herzegovina for the more discerning traveller. He is a pioneer of `Islamic tourism’, and with Holiday Bosnia, he aims to revive the thousand-year old traditions of the ‘Classical Muslim Traveller’. Holiday Bosnia is open to people of all backgrounds and faiths but follows Islamic principles in delivering uniquely Islamic experiences that cover the 3 aspects of a Muslim’s lifestyle; the spiritual, the physical and the social.
Kamraan’s involvement with Bosnia goes back over 21 years and sparked his passion for helping communities. His firm belief is that the globalised Muslim traveller of today, with access to resources and social networks, along with strong ethical values, a desire to learn and help others is ideally placed to help the recovery of post-war societies like Bosnia - Herzegovina.
Bringing people of all faiths and backgrounds together for a journey of a lifetime that involves enjoying the beauty of Bosnia - Herzegovina, shared experiences, learning, interfaith dialogue and philanthropic activities is the driving force behind Holiday Bosnia, which is also a social enterprise. A percentage of all company profits go to charitable causes in Bosnia - Herzegovina.
Kamraan's professional background is as a government reform and development expert. He currently works as advisor for the Government of Dubai. On a personal level, Kamraan actively supports youth projects and advises several philanthropic organisations on a pro- bono basis.
He has a degree in Civil Engineering from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (London) and an MA in Post War Recovery Studies from York University (UK).

Liliana Totoiu


Liliana Totoiu Sr. Research Scientist – Global Compliance. Over the years she had responsibilities in Research & Development, Regulatory Affairs and currently Global Compliance, where she manages AMWAY Halal & Kosher certification program for Nutrition and Wellness, worldwide.

Adam Wu


Adam Wu is a General Manager of U-Tour International Travel Group, Inc. of North
America Region. He enjoys traveling and has been to more than 30 countries. After he
graduated from college, he got into the travel industry for exploring the field deeply.
These experiences gave him an excellent value for making a travel plan and improving
vacation. As a Muslim who was born in China, he loves Chinese history and found
how Islamic culture is deeply connected to China in the past thousand years. He dreams
to show the world the influence of Islamic culture in this Eastern mysterious nation.

Ahamed Weinberg



Ahamed Weinberg is a Los Angeles based comedian from Philadelphia, who recently made his late night stand up debut on Late Night w/ Seth Meyers (NBC). He is one of Vulture’s 20 Comics to Watch and was awarded New Face at the 2016 Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. Credits include writing, directing, and starring in Ahamed’s Ramadan Diaries (Comedy Central Digital), and appearing in Comedy Bang Bang (IFC), The Eric Andre Show (Adult Swim), I Love You, America (Hulu), Comedy Knockout (Tru TV), and Insecure (HBO). His film Lovebirds premiered on Amazon Prime in November as part of their inaugural FunnyFest short films festival, and he is currently developing a television show for Comedy Central executive produced by Sarah Silverman and Reza Aslan.

Edwin C. Yohnka


Edwin C. Yohnka is the Director of Communications and Public Policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. Appointed to the post of Director of Communications in June 1999, Yohnka is the primary spokesperson for the most prominent civil rights and civil liberties’ advocacy organization in the State of Illinois, an organization with more than 70,000 members and supporters.
On behalf of the ACLU of Illinois, Yohnka appears regularly on television and radio programs in Illinois and throughout the nation to speak out on a myriad of issues. Yohnka also is widely cited in newspapers and publications on legal and legislative matters related to the ACLU of Illinois’ priorities.
In addition, Yohnka contributes to a host of ACLU publications, as well as coordinating the organization’s multi-faceted efforts to communicate through the media, in-house publications and on-line resources.
In 2013, Yohnka served as vice-chair for Illinois Unites for Marriage, a diverse, multi- faceted coalition of organizations that helped win the fight to ensure the freedom to marry for all couples in Illinois.
From 1987 until 1999, Yohnka served on the staff of the American Bar Association, spending most of that time as a Special Presidential Assistant in the ABA’s Office of the President. In that role, Yohnka directed and oversaw the development and implementation of communications’ vehicles for the elected leadership of the world’s largest professional association.

Ramy Youssef


Ramy Youssef is a comedian from New Jersey. He has a recurring role on season three of USA’s MR. ROBOT and will appear in Gus Van Sant’s DON’T WORRY. He was selected for COMEDY CENTRAL’S UP NEXT 2017 and JUST FOR LAUGH’S: NEW FACES OF COMEDY. He made his late night standup debut on THE LATE SHOW W/STEPHEN COLBERT. Ramy is currently developing an original pilot for the Emmy Award winning streaming service Hulu.

Hamza Yusuf


Hamza Yusuf is an American Islamic scholar,and is co-founder of Zaytuna College. He is a proponent of classical learning in Islam and has promoted Islamic sciences and classical teaching methodologies throughout the world. He is an advisor to the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. In addition, he serves as vice-president for the Global Center for Guidance and Renewal, which was founded and is currently presided over by Abdallah bin Bayyah. He also serves as the vice-president of the UAE-based Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies,where Abdullah bin Bayyah also serves as president.

Muslim Travelers - Huda & Zain


Zain and Huda, an American Muslim couple, launched MuslimTravelers in 2012 to provide travel inspiration to Muslims worldwide and to reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream media. While juggling their full time jobs as engineers, the 29-year-olds have jetset to over 50 countries across the globe. Their goal is to shatter stereotypes about Muslims, build bridges of understanding, and create more empathy in the world through what they love most – travel! As travel bloggers and social media influencers, Zain and Huda promote halal travel by working with brands and tourism boards across the world, including Universal Studios and Wonderful Indonesia. They have spoken at various conferences, have been featured in a variety of media outlets, and are dedicated to providing authentic content that will open hearts and bring about a more peaceful world through travel.