Our Staff

Staff | Board | Interns


Ahmed Rehab is CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director. Rehab is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Public Radio. He has been interviewed hundreds of times by newspapers, radio, and TV venues, both national and international. Rehab lectures at various University campuses in Chicago and around the nation. Rehab is the founder of MyJihad Inc., a global PR and outreach campaign that seeks to take back Islam from Muslim and Anti-Muslims extremists alike. He is also the founder of theChicagoMonitor.com, The Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium, and the Co-founder of Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University. Prior to joining CAIR in August of 2004, Rehab was a freelance speaker, writer, and activist in the fields of interfaith collaboration, education, and community outreach. Between 1999 and 2002, Rehab served as a consultant for Arthur Andersen LLP – a global consulting firm. Rehab served on the board of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). He also served on IL. Governor Pat Quinn’s Muslim Advisory Council, and as vice-chairman of RegugeeONE, Illinois’ premiere refugee resettlement organization. He is a former board member and secretary of the Egyptian American Society, a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ (CCGA) Muslim task force, an Eisenhower fellow of the American Assembly, and alumnus of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.

 


Sufyan Sohel is CAIR-Chicago’s Deputy Director & Counsel. Sufyan is a trained mediator and speaks frequently on social justice, civil rights and diversity issues. Before CAIR-Chicago, he worked with DePaul University‘s International Human Rights Law Institute where he researched and collaborated extensively on women’s rights issues and rule of law projects in the Middle East and Asia. Sufyan also worked with the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights in Cairo, Egypt where his focus was to educate and empower women while working with policymakers on gender reform and inclusion. Sufyan earned his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and a Master of Science in Finance (M.S.) from DePaul University. Sufyan is a Vice President of the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of North America where he also chairs its Advocacy Committee. Sufyan proudly sits on the DePaul Law Alumni Engagement Board, is a diversity trainer with the New Leaders Council (NLC), a founding member of the Chicago Trust Collective, and serves on the Associate Board for LIFT USA. Sufyan is a member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leader Network, a 2013 NLC-Chicago Fellow and a recipient of the 2017 Chicago Bar Association’s Vanguard Award and the 2017 DePaul College of Law Young Alumnus Award. In 2016, Sufyan was reelected as a Community Representative of the Local School Council at South Loop Elementary School and is a 2018 Fellow with Leadership Greater Chicago.

He can be reached at ssohel@cair.com.


Phil Robertson is CAIR-Chicago’s Litigation Director. Phil received his Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marquette University and his law degree from Northern Illinois University. After passing the bar, Phil opened his own law practice in DeKalb, Illinois, focusing on personal injury, criminal and family law cases. In 1993, he took an appointment as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois in the General Law Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office in Chicago. There, he focused on civil rights cases on behalf of several departments and agencies in the state. Since then, Phil has worked in a variety of areas – in both the private and public sector – including real estate, land use and zoning, municipal, government and administrative law, labor and employment security, charitable trust law, whistleblower cases, health care and pharmaceutical law, elder law, estate planning, tax law and debt collection. In 2002, he became the Director of the Rockford Regional Office for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Prior to joining CAIR-Chicago, Phil opened his own law firm in Crystal Lake, Illinois, where he served businesses in and around McHenry, Lake, Kane, Boone and DeKalb counties. He can be reached at probertson@cair.com.


Saadia Pervaiz is one of CAIR-Chicago’s Communications Coordinators. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in History from the University of Chicago in 2017. Since 2014, Saadia has been working with various organizations in documenting oral histories of first generation Partition survivors in the United States. In addition to her historical work, Saadia has been tapped by numerous institutions for graphic design and illustrative commissions, including premier sports start-up ClutchPoints. She has helped curate exhibits focusing on the South Asian diaspora in collaboration with the Field Museum and Indian American Heritage Museum. Her artwork has been published in-print and online on multiple media platforms.

Saadia can be reached by email at spervaiz@cair.com


Asha Binbek is one of CAIR-Chicago’s Communications Coordinators. As a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Asha earned two Bachelor’s degrees in English and Communication. Concurrently, she served as the Undergraduate Student Government Interpersonal Relations director and as the first Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement Fellow, overseeing the UIC’s efforts around the 2016 election, Asha helped the campus earn one of the inaugural Voter Friendly Campus Designations along with being recognized as the Most Engaged Campus by the All in Democracy Challenge. Additionally, through her advocacy efforts on campus, she was able to see the creation of the first Arab American Cultural Center at a university, serving on its advisory board until graduation. She was also one of several student leaders that organized the Stop Trump Rally in March of 2016 which had over 15,000 people in attendance. Asha plans on attending law school in the next year and becoming a civil rights attorney with the hope of protecting the rights of minorities who cannot always protect themselves against injustices.

Asha can be reached at abinbek@cair.com.


Gerald Hankerson is CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Coordinator. Gerald administers CAIR-Chicago’s internship, volunteer activist and youth programs, interfaith engagement, public awareness and education initiatives, community outreach, and civic engagement efforts.  He currently serves as a board member of ARISE-Chicago and is a representative of its Faith Labor Solidarity and Workers Justice programs. Given his years of service and activism, North Park University in Chicago recognized Gerald as a “Man of Excellence” in 2012. While an undergraduate at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where he studied Communications with a minor in Theatre, Gerald was active in the Muslim Student Association, the Black Student Union, and served as the UIC Ambassador to the African American Action Network (AAAN). Gerald is committed to bridging gaps between diverse communities. Gerald can be reached at ghankerson@cair.com.


Siham Naser is CAIR Chicago’s Operations Coordinator. She recently graduated in 2017 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Siham was an Honors College student and graduated with a degree in Finance. A CAIR-Chicago intern alum, Siham returned to our office to fill the position in the Operations Department. Throughout her undergraduate career, she served as the Senior Vice President of the Business, Finance, and Entrepreneur Association. She is also a Tau Sigma Honor Society inductee, where current social justice topics where addressed around campus. She admires being involved and making a difference in any way she can. As a member of the Management Leadership Association, Siham placed heavy importance on leadership and change. She joined CAIR-Chicago because of its strong mission and purpose of existence. Not only is the work at CAIR-Chicago impactful and meaningful, it also aligns with her personal and professional goals. She is honored to be part of an organization that defends the rights of humanity. In her free time, Siham enjoys shopping, writing, and getting involved in her community.

She can be reached at snaser@cair.com

 


Tauseef Akbar is CAIR-Chicago’s Research Director. Tauseef Akbar studied Arabic and foundational Islamic disciplines in Cairo, Egypt at the Al-Fajr Institute, affiliated with Al-Azhar University. He received a BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Chemistry at North Park University. He is slated to receive his MA in Islamic Studies from American Islamic College in Spring 2017. His research work has primarily focused on Islamophobia and demographic trends within the Muslim American community. As a researcher he has worked with leading Muslim American organizations and was also a past consultant to Georgetown Univesity’s Bridge Initiative for the study of Islamophobia. He has written and been published on the topic of Islamophobia, the War on Terror and the genocide against the Rohingya Muslims in various news media outlets. He can be reached at makbar@cair.com.

 

AUXILIARY STAFF MEMBERS

 

 

Sanjana Lakshmi is a Paralegal at CAIR-Chicago. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Legal Studies at Northwestern University, where she wrote her undergraduate thesis on the prosecution of national security whistleblowers under the Espionage Act. Sanjana was involved in race and gender justice-focused activism throughout college, and served as the Co-President of International Gender Equality Movement at Northwestern. She has also interned at the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic and at the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute. She was drawn to work at CAIR-Chicago due to her interest in legal advocacy and non-profit work to advance the rights of marginalized communities. Sanjana plans on attending law school in the coming years and working in immigration or civil rights law.

She can be reached at slakshmi@cair.com.

FELLOWS

 

Zachery recently graduated from the University of Chicago, having majored in Geographical Studies and Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies, with a minor in Human Rights. During his time at UChicago, he was active in Palestine solidarity advocacy and wrote his undergraduate thesis on the construction of the public in Israel through urban planning, land laws, and citizenship. With support from the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, Zach was awarded the Dr. Aizik Wolf Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship in Human Rights. He chose to work with CAIR-Chicago because he is motivated by the role of the legal profession in advancing the human rights of disenfranchised members of our society. Following his fellowship, Zach hopes to matriculate to law school and pursue a career in immigration law and anti-poverty work.


 
 

As a Muslim student living in the Netherlands Waqas noticed an increase in Islamophobia, intolerance and discrimination. Not only in the Netherlands but in the West in general, especially in the United States. It is why he chose to study Public Management, so he can help his community. In the Netherlands he saw a few bright individuals that came forward, however he noticed that there were very few organizations that came forward with a reply to this bigotry. The organizations that did are often lacking on many levels. Thus, when the Public Management program that he currently is studying under offered the opportunity to do an internship, he chose to do it at CAIR-Chicago. CAIR-Chicago has shown how to effectively defend civil rights, fight bigotry and promote tolerance. His goal is to learn how CAIR-Chicago works and to connect with other organizations in the American Muslim community in order to have a proper understanding of the organizational structures, professionalism and networks that are present. After finishing his internship he will return to the Netherlands with the hope to benefit the Dutch Muslim community, improve and help the existing organization and maybe start his own NGO.

Maaria Mozaffar is CAIR-Chicago’s Legislative Attorney. Mozaffar is a civil rights attorney, policy drafter and legislative consultant. She has spearheaded civil rights coalition building, advocacy programs and consulted political citywide campaigns. She has drafted statewide legislation on criminal justice reform, food justice and academic diversity. Mozaffar is the principal attorney of The Law Office of Maaria Mozaffar where she focuses on policy development, advocacy and mediation. Mozaffar received her JD from University of Illinois at Urbana and is licensed to practice in the state of Illinois. Mozaffar is the Senior Policy Advisor at IMAN and a member of the Human Rights Watch Committee of Chicago.

Iman Boundaoui is CAIR-Chicago’s TAP Coordinator. Boundaoui is an associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, where she litigates commercial class actions and represents clients in other civil litigation. As a litigator, she also works on pro bono asylum and immigration cases with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). While in law school, Boundaoui was a judicial extern to the Honorable Ann Claire Williams for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Illinois. She also served as president of the Muslim Law Students Association and president of the Moot Court Honor Society. Boundaoui received her Juris Doctor magna cum laude from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from

 

  


Fatima Ahmed is the Operations Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. Majoring in Political Science with a minor in Arabic Studies, she expects to attain her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in 2015. While spending most of her time as a teen avidly involved in IHSA speech competitions as a competitor, she now works as an IHSA Speech Judge during the high school season. She also works at IQRA-foundation as a researcher and book editor, striving to help educate the Muslim youth. Previously heavily involved in mentoring and leadership programs, she hopes to use her past experiences to help educate and assist the Muslim youth to strive and live up to their full potential, so that they too can one day give back to their community. While politics and current events are her passion, in her spare time, she likes to read and travel, work on various culinary projects and stay up to date with her favorite sports teams.


Layne Hillesland is the Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2016 with a BA in Communication Studies while also minoring in international studies and visual communications. She was the Arts & Entertainment Editor for her school newspaper, the Loyola Phoenix for two years and has volunteered for Human Rights Watch the past three years. Layne is committed to social justice work and is excited to apply her combined knowledge of communications, international studies, and visual communications to her job at CAIR-Chicago.


Renner Larson is the Communications Director at CAIR-Chicago. In 2013 he graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in graphic design. Having taught English in Tanta, Egypt, he continued practicing volunteerism through the global leadership program Up With People and more recently as Secretary of the Board of Directors for Families In Vietnam, an NGO working to alleviate poverty through education in northern Vietnam. After working professionally as a graphic designer, Renner is excited to apply his expertise in creative problem solving and design thinking to further the mission of CAIR-Chicago.


Rabya Khan is the Staff Attorney at CAIR-Chicago. Rabya received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the College at the University of Chicago, and her Juris Doctorate from DePaul College of Law. Rabya is a former volunteer attorney with CAIR-Chicago, and previously worked in a variety of areas including family law, domestic violence, and in house corporate counsel. In her current position, Rabya focuses on asylum and immigration matters, employment discrimination, national security and civil liberties issues, hate crimes, and know your rights community education. Rabya also works on policy and advocacy issues related to immigrant rights, constitutional rights, and government surveillance. Rabya’s favorite movie is Ghostbusters. Rabya is excited for the opportunity to work on promoting social justice and protecting civil rights.

Kevin Vodak is the Litigation Director at CAIR-Chicago. In this position, Kevin analyzes all of the complaints received in the Civil Rights Department and determines the best strategy for reaching the most successful resolutions, as well as working to strengthen policies in the public and private sectors to combat Islamophobia. Kevin has a Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University College of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from North Central College. Prior to joining CAIR-Chicago in July 2008, Kevin dedicated his legal career to protecting individuals’ civil rights by working in small law firms for 8 years, gaining extensive experience in litigating employment discrimination matters. Outside of his work in private law firms, Kevin has been committed to working with the National Lawyers Guild, the only bar association which has the primary goal of valuing human rights over property interests.

Mohamed Abdelati is CAIR-Chicago’s Finance Manager. He is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Biological Sciences and English. Mohamed is a former communications intern with CAIR-Chicago. Mohamed works daily to keep a fully functional office. His primary responsibilities include working along outside vendors to fulfill administrative and operational needs for the office. He works with many IT specific issues and financial records for CAIR-Chicago. Mohamed appreciates the opportunity to work with the fantastic staff at CAIR-Chicago to promote a civil equality and a higher understanding of Islam to the community.

Alaa Abdelati is the Auxiliary Staff at CAIR-Chicago. Alaa is a current student at DePaul University who is majoring in Computer Science. Alaa, who also goes by the name Al, is a contemporary Egyptian-American who is dedicated to lending a hand at CAIR whenever possible. Al makes up for his reservedness with gleams of spontaneity and an awe-inspiring sense of perceptibly which aids his self-driven, yet selfless nature. Outside of work and school, Al is a Chicago sports fanatic, who continuously roots for his Bears and stays up to date on the latest in computer technology.

Hanaa completed her undergrad at Loyola Chicago and majored in accounting. She graduated summa cum laude and just graduated from Northwestern law school with honors, focusing on litigation. Hanaa gathered a lot of experience in law school. She externed with federal judges in the Northern District of Illinois and in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She also worked in the immigration clinic and in the civil rights clinic. Hanaa has participated in women’s leadership coalitions and the Muslim Student Association. She has worked as a summer associate at Kirkland & Ellis, where she will begin work in the litigation department in the fall. Hanaa grew up attending CAIR-Chicago events and wanted to give back to a community she long was a part of and that is why she decided to join CAIR-Chicago as a summer Fellow. Her hobbies include traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Hind Makki is an interfaith educator who develops and delivers trainings on civic integration and community empowerment. An internationally recognized speaker, Hind has been invited to deliver speeches and workshops on interfaith cooperation, civic integration and developing Muslim women’s leadership throughout North America and Western Europe. She is involved in building Muslim-Jewish relationships in Chicago and is an alumna of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and is focused on challenging misogyny, racism and sectarianism in Muslim communities across the country.
She is the founder and curator of Side Entrance, a crowd-sourced website that documents women’s prayer experiences in mosques around the world. This site won the “Best Female Blogger” Brass Crescent, an award that honors the best of the Muslim blogosphere and has helped to catalyze a national conversation on the spaces women occupy in American Muslim congregations, organizations and communities. Hind is also a founding member of MuslimARC, a collective of Muslim activists who develop tools and educational resources to address racism within their communities.
An alumna of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, Hind has appeared on Al Jazeera’s “The Stream,” Chicago Public Radio and Huffington Post Live; her work is featured in Alarabiya News, AltMuslimah, Common Ground News, The Economist, The Huffington Post, Islamic Horizons, National Public Radio, PolicyMic; and she has published pieces in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Hind holds a degree in International Relations from Brown University.

Austin is the Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. He is a graduate from Robert Morris University in Chicago with a degree in Graphic Design. A self-proclaimed “Renaissance Man” in regards to design, Austin has no plans on stopping the train that is his creative mind. He was previously a Communications Intern at CAIR-Chicago before accepting the Coordinator position. In addition to being a member of AIGA, the professional association for design, he is also the Art Director for The Eagle – Robert Morris’ school newspaper. In his free time, Austin enjoys playing golf, collecting records, making candles, and has watched every season of The Office at least eight times.

Josh Tikka is the Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. Josh graduated from DePaul University in 2012, receiving a bachelor’s in Communications and two minors in Arabic and Mandarin. He has previously authored two children’s books, consulted on behalf of various non profits and NGOs, administrated a homeless outreach initiative, as well as taught abroad in Palestine for a semester in 2013. Josh has spoken extensively on issues of housing in Chicago and Palestine and has stayed active in activist communities domestically and abroad since 2008. In his free time, Josh enjoys writing, designing clothes, riding bicycles, and eating everything in sight.

 

Nour Zein is a Youth Development Fellow at CAIR-Chicago. She is an alumna of the Illinois Center For Broadcasting with a focus in radio and tv production. She plans on pursuing a baccalaureate degree in Islamic Studies and a minor in Communications. Passionate about helping others, Nour strives to make a difference whether it’s through inspirational videos or through articles. A freelance producer and lyricist, Nour actively volunteers at relief organizations, such as the Zakat Foundation and in community engagement such as MAS Outreach Chicago. Some of her broadcast experience includes internships at WGN-TV as an Entertainment Producer for Dean Richards, WBBM-FM B96 as a Promotions Intern and WVLI as a Producer. She plans on using her interests in television and radio to educate people of all ages and nationalities about Islam.

With the desire to assist the Muslim youth to gain experience in leadership roles, live up to their full potential, and become more involved within their communities, MYLS drew Nour to CAIR Chicago. She is excited to use her communication skills to extend her experience and excel within CAIR-Chicago, knowing that the organization has a huge impact on the lives of many. You can tweet her @nourzein23

Agnieszka is the Communications Coordinator at CAIR Chicago. Agnieszka Karoluk graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Geography and spent one year studying at the New School University in New York. She previously has worked in the Islamic World Studies department at DePaul as an administrative assistant and interned at CAIR Chicago’s Communications department. Agnieszka has been a regular contributor and editor for the New School Free Press, DePaulia and more recently The Chicago Monitor. In 2011 Agnieszka traveled to India to conduct research on people’s movements in Mumbai and has taken this research to various conference presentations in Chicago and abroad. In her free time she enjoys attending lectures, concerts and movies.

Milos is the Office Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. He recently completed his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Journalism at DePaul University. A dual citizen (Serbian-Australian), Milos moved to Chicago in 2009 as an international student. He previously lived in the Middle East for over a decade with his family. Outside of CAIR he is a contributing writer and photographer for the music blog Brooklyn Vegan Chicago. A shameless geek, in his free time he collects vinyl records, reads comic books, and tries to put a dent in his large Steam backlog of video games.

Feras is the IT Consultant at CAIR-Chicago. He recently graduated from the Faculty of Information Technology of Damascus University in Syria with a Bachelor’s degree.

Maryam graduated from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies with a Master’s in Post/Colonial Studies. She is also a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she studied History modified with African and African American Studies with a minor in Gender Studies. She is passionate about race, gender and identity politics and is interested in issues of neo-imperialism and human rights. In her free time, she enjoys reading literary fiction and poetry; some of her favorite authors and poets include Haruki Murakami, Nazim Hikmet, bell hooks, Kurt Vonnegut, and Kishwar Naheed. She also has a penchant for art and design and is an avid music appreciator.

Noor Salahuddin is the Office Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. Noor has a Bachelors degree in English literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has volunteered and trained under various non-profit organizations. Noor’s responsibilities include enabling staff and interns to perform at their highest professional level by maintaining an organized work environment. Aside from operational duties, Noor also assists the Executive team with day-to-day tasks and special projects in order to keep the office running smoothly. Prior to this position, Noor has worked as a Communications intern at CAIR-Chicago and has written extensively on topics related to civil rights and social advocacy. As a young activist, Noor believes in CAIR-Chicago’s mission of promoting tolerance and fighting bigotry, and is excited to become a part of the CAIR-Chicago team.

M. Yaser Tabbara, an attorney by profession, served as the executive director of CAIR-Chicago until 2006. During his tenure, he helped to establish CAIR-Chicago as a vibrant institution that continues to foster cutting-edge professional activism today. Yaser has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Juris Doctor degree from the DePaul University College of Law. Prior to joining CAIR-Chicago, Yaser initiated the Post 9/11 Immigrant Legal Rights Project, which provided legal representation, outreach and education on immigration law and civil liberties to the Chicagoland Muslim and Arab communities. Later, he taught at the college of International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Kalamoon in Damascus, Syria. He has received awards for his academic excellence and community service including a State Proclamation presented by Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter. Tabbara is currently the Director of Chapter Development at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and serves as a board member at CAIR-Chicago, the Arab-American Bar Association, and the Muslim Educational and Cultural Center of America.
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Maaria is CAIR Chicago’s Legal Advisor. Maaria founded and currently chairs the Civil Liberties Coalition of Illinois (CLCI), a coalition of 13 legal/advocacy organizations whose focus is to lobby Illinois elected representatives on the US Patriot Act and other civil liberties issues. Maaria also serves as legislative consultant for the Developing Justice Coalition (DJC), an interfaith community based coalition, on sentencing reform. In addition, Maaria serves as legislative consultant and member of Project Restore, the legislation/lobby arm of the Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).Maaria also works on advocacy issues relating to the Muslim refugee commmunity in Illinois via combining coalition building and the medium of film. Prior to her joining CAIR Chicago, Maaria clerked for the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, working on low income housing and welfare issues. Maaria graduated with a JD from the University of Illinois at College of Law in 2003, and received her Bachelors degrees in English and Political Science from University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999.

Sultan Muhammad is CAIR–Chicago’s Communications Coordinator. His professional background and life experience have been highly concentrated in the field of audio-visual communications and the development of Islamic media as educational tools. Sultan produced ‘Muslim Daily Prayers – A learner’s Guide,’ is a multi-media producer by trade, having trained in broadcast editing and production at NBC/Universal and is the co-founder of MPD studios based in Chicago. At an early age Sultan studied Arabic and Islamic studies, on scholarship, at the Minaret al-Riyadh International school in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. His experiences abroad and a seventy-five year family tradition of prominent Islamic activism in America have contributed largely to his life-long focus on building understanding through education, cultural dialog, and accurate representation of Muslims and minorities in America. Sultan is the son of the late Imam Sultan Muhammad, nephew of Imam W.D. Muhammad, and the grandson of Elijah Muhammad. He is married to a Mexican-American Muslim convert and currently resides on Chicago’s South side.

Haady Taslim is the community organizer for CAIR-Chicago and runs a voter registration drive and get-out-the-vote campaign in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. His main reason for becoming an organizer was to give Muslim and Arabs throughout Chicago a greater voice in our political landscape. Haady holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from the George Washington University in political science and French language and literature. Haady’s prior organizing experience includes a breif stint with UNICEF working in Tamil Nadu, India. Before coming to Chicago, he also taught early elementary school for two years in inner-city New Orleans with Teach for America.

Amal Khan is CAIR-Chicago’s Operations Coordinator. She is a graduate from the University of California at Berkeley, with a degree in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian History. A native of California, she feels that giving back to the community is vital in creating an environment conducive to self-preservation; for this reason Amal has been considerably involved in the Muslim community, volunteering with organizations such as Muslim-American Society (MAS), Islamic-Networks Group (ING), and Human Development Foundation (HDF.) As Operations Coordinator, Amal works closely with all inter-office departments in order to cultivate an environment which galvanizes energies to ensure a fully functional and efficient chapter. Amal brings her charismatic charm, animated personality and admiration for the cause to CAIR-Chicago.

Musabji is CAIR-Chicago’s Staff Attorney. She is a graduate of the DePaul University College of Law. Previously, Heena initiated the Women and Human Rights Law Initiative at DePaul, and served as director of the Sex Trafficking Opposition and Prevention Project with the International Human Rights Law Institute. Heena has also worked with the Midwest Immigrant Human Rights Center where she provided legal assistance and outreach to asylum seekers and immigrant survivors of violence, and is still involved with the organization as a pro bono attorney. She is dedicated to serving the community and advocating for those who are denied equal access to justice.

Rima Kapitan is a Staff Attorney at CAIR-Chicago. She is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law and Indiana University and a partner with Amal Law Group, LLC, a general practice law firm. Her main areas of interest and specialization are plaintiff-side employment discrimination, civil rights law, workers’ compensation and estate planning. She is active in the National Lawyers Guild Middle East Committee. Previously, Rima worked as an extern at the ACLU Racial Justice Project and at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Tawfiq Ali is CAIR-Chicago’s Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow. Tawfiq is a graduate of Harvard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and received his law degree from Harvard Law School in June 2007. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where he provided pro bono legal assistance, representation, and advocacy for indigent clients suffering sexual harassment, domestic violence, termination of benefits, and potential eviction from their homes. He now resides in Chicago, where following his fellowship, he will work as an associate with the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Bitta Mostofi is a Staff Attorney at CAIR-Chicago. She is a graduate of the DePaul University College of Law with a certificate in International and Comparative Law. Bitta has worked with the DePaul University Immigration and Asylum Clinic, providing assistance to asylum seekers and immigrant survivors of violence. Additionally, she has worked with the Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago where she provided legal representation for women seeking assistance with family law cases. Bitta is on the Electronic Iraq editorial board and has written and spoken extensively on United States foreign policy.

Shahzeen Karim is CAIR-Chicago’s Interim Government Affairs Coordinator. She graduated with honors from the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) with a degree in Criminal Justice and Philosophy and minors in Law and Society and Political Science. At UIC, she has served on the executive board of the Muslim Student Association, the Alpha Phi Sigma, and the Honors College Leadership Council. This is Shahzeen’s third and final year as the co-captain of UIC’s nationally ranked Mock Trial team. Shahzeen has served as the Chair and Editor-in-Chief for the Islamic Society of North America’s newsletter for the past five years and plans to attend law school in Fall 2008.

Amir Siddiqui is CAIR-Chicago’s Youth Coordinator. He is currently working on developing the Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium Program and is excited at its potential to motivate and facilitate civic engagement. He is a recent graduate of Northwestern University and majored in Biological Science. He served as President of the Northwestern University Muslim Cultural Students Association and helped lead the organization to the 2007 Northwestern Outstanding Group of the Year Award. His future plans include medical school and a continued commitment to the non-profit world.

Tricia Kemling is a staff attorney at CAIR-Chicago. She has a Juris Doctor degree from the DePaul University College of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Previously. Tricia worked as an intern at Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic where she provided legal assistance to low income clients on issues including family law and domestic violence and at the Center on Children, Families and the Law where she researched the outcomes of alternative dispute resolution.

Elisa K. Jillson is a PILI Fellow at CAIR-Chicago. She graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she received the Edwin F. Mandel Award for Exceptional Service at the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic’s Employment Discrimination Project. Elisa graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and French. Elisa is from New Castle, PA and will be practicing in the fall at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, D.C.

Munsoor Hussain is CAIR-Chicago’s Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow. Munsoor is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance. He also received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in May 2008. He is a former executive editor of the Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure where he researched and edited multiple areas of criminal law for publication. Munsoor has been actively involved with the Muslim Student’s Association and the American Constitutional Society. He is from and currently resides in Chicago, though he has lived in Washington, D.C., Texas and Michigan. Following his fellowship at CAIR, he will work as an associate with the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Sadiya Ahmed is CAIR-Chicago’s governmental relations coordinator. She is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies. A lifelong activist and organizer, Sadiya co-founded the Muslim Student Action Network (MSAN), a student organization focused on social and political activism from an Islamic perspective. She also has a background in journalism, serving as Editor-in-Chief and contributor for both the Islamic Society of North America Conference Bulletin and the UIC Women’s Studies Newsletter. Currently, Sadiya plans to continue bridging the gap between activism and academia through grassroots organizing and eventually by pursuing graduate studies in comparative Muslim women’s social movements and contemporary social theory.

Daniah Elharezi is CAIR-Chicago’s Operations Coordinator. Daniah works to maintain the daily functioning of the office. Her responsibilities include working to fulfill the operational and administrative needs of CAIR Chicago in order to contribute to its smooth functioning and continued professional success. Daniah is a Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) and is planning to pursue a degree in business administration. As a long time resident of Chicago and a member of the vibrant Muslim community on Chicago ‘s Southside, Daniah is excited to be a part of the CAIR-Chicago team and to contribute toward the advocacy of the Muslim community in Chicago.

Aymen Abdel Halim is the lead Communications Coordinator for CAIR-Chicago. He is also an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University teaching research and media courses as part of the Islamic World Studies program. Aymen received both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees with honors from the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts program at San Francisco State University, where he studied media research, theory, and production. More specifically, he is interested in studying effects related to media portrayals of Islam and Muslims. Aymen is the co-author of a book chapter on the impact of TV news on the self-conception of Arab and Muslim youth and continues to write and speak extensively on topics related to media portrayals of Islam and Muslims. In 2011, Aymen was nominated for the Stuart Hyde Award for Excellence in Writing About the Media Award, as well as the Excellence in Writing For and About the Media award by the SFSU Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department in 2010. Aymen is also an accomplished radio producer and videographer and produces reports and documentaries relating to Islam and Muslims. Aymen is currently working on a documentary that focuses on Palestinians living under occupation, as well as an ethnographic study on American Muslim life.

Reem Rahman is the Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. She graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. Her scholarship and work is committed to the power of ideas and ideals to transform society. Reem was one of the founding members of CAIR at the University of Illinois, the first university based chapter in the nation. She served as the executive director, coordinating media and civil rights activism, community service, interfaith dialogue, and leadership development. Reem has been selected as a Young People for the American Way Fellow and a Drum Major Institute for Public Policy Scholar.

Islaam Rahim is CAIR-Chicago’s Administrative Assistant. He attends Triton College where he is obtaining an Associate in Science degree and plans to complete a Bachelors degree in Business Administration after transferring in Spring 2008. Islaam plays forward for the Stugat team in the Soccercity league. He is deeply committed to community volunteerism and has interned at CAIR-Chicago since 2005.

Mokaram Rauf is CAIR-Chicago’s Youth Coordinator. He is involved in the development and growth of the Muslim Youth Leadership Symposium program, through which he hopes to empower Muslim youth with the leadership skills and knowledge tools they need for success in American society. He is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies. Now, he is concurrently pursuing his Doctorate of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees at Northwestern. Mokaram has been a dedicated member of the Northwestern Muslim-cultural Students Association’s Executive Board (McSA) and an intern with the Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN). His research interests include the formation of an American Muslim identity, justice and equity in healthcare, and spiritually motivated civic engagement. He is a native of New York and enjoys running, basketball, reading, and movies. After completing his graduate studies, he hopes to be involved in non-profit medicine for underprivileged communities both in the United States and abroad.

Ian Bushner is CAIR-Chicago’s Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow. Ian graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where he represented non-profit affordable housing developers as part of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic’s Housing Initiative. Ian also graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis earning a bachelor’s degree in Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures. At Wash U, he was a founding member of the Muslim-Jewish Dialogue Group, which was awarded the Rabbi Ferdinand M. Isserman Prize for Interfaith Leadership. Ian is originally from Kansas City, MO. Following his Fellowship, Ian will work as an associate with the law firm Jenner & Block LLP.

In her new capacity as Development Coordinator, Dina works to optimize and standardize existing and new initiatives that serve CAIR-Chicago’s mission. Dina also works to help expand the financial and human resource capacity within CAIR-Chicago as well as assist in the fomenting of strategic relationships that provide development and expansion opportunities for the organization. She is a University of Illinois at Chicago graduate with a double major in Political Science and Italian, and is currently pursuing a Master in Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Dina has served as an Americorps Intern via the Arab Resource Corps at the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) in Chicago. She has also served as the Educational/Cultural Outreach Coordinator of AAAN. Dina has extensive experience in reaching out to diverse communities.

Reema Ahmad is the Government Affairs Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. She majored in Economics and International Affairs at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At Marquette, Reema held executive board positions in multiple student groups and was a member of the Diversity Commission, an advisory board for Student Government. Under her leadership, the Arab Student Association received the Spirit of Marquette Award, the highest honor a student group can achieve for meaningful programming and activism. Reema worked with numerous activist groups in the Milwaukee area including Peace Action Wisconsin, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Muslim American Society. She interned with a rising leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Gwen Moore. As a McNair Research Scholar, Reema was invited to present her work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research for two consecutive years.

Azam Abdul Azeem is CAIR-Chicago’s Operations Coordinator. Azam works closely with all CAIR departments in order to support an office environment which is fully functional and productive. His primary responsibilities with CAIR include documenting financial records, providing IT support and solutions, and administrating personnel issues. Azam is also studying accounting in order to sit for his CPA license. In his free time he enjoys learning Arabic at Darul Qasim in Glen Ellyn, IL. Azam was the recipient of the 2007 CAIR-Chicago Community Service Award for his exceptional volunteerism in the community.

Veronica Zapata is CAIR-Chicago’s Cultural Sensitivity Speaker. She is a strong advocate for intercultural exchange and seeks to build bridges of understanding and mutual respect. In addition to her work at CAIR-Chicago, she is a co-host of AZAN on WLUW 88.7, which puts a human face on the faith of Islam, combats Islamophobia, and seeks to generate discourse on various issues within the Islamic community of Chicago. At the Inner City of Muslim Action Network (IMAN), she works as a full-time Career Development Coordinator and serves as the representative of IMAN on the International Human Relations Council. She is active member of the Teacher Advisory Panel at the Art Institute of Chicago. Veronica is pursing a second M.A. degree in Cultural and Educational Leadership Policy Studies at Loyola University Chicago. In 2004, Veronica completed an intensive summer program entitled “Islamic Civilizations: Government and Politics” at Northeastern Illinois University through the Institute of Islamic Studies. In 2005, Veronica presented a paper on multiculture education at Oxford University and in 2007 she returned to present her thesis, which examines the educational goals of minority indigenous peoples in Mexico.

Ahmed is CAIR-Chicago’s Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow.  Participating Chicago law firms sponsor incoming associates to work at an affiliated public interest agency to gain valuable hands on experience with affecting the public welfare.  Ahmed graduated summa cum laude from The John Marshall Law School. He was an editor on The John Marshall Law Review and was also the Advocate General in the Middle Eastern Law Students Association (MELSA). Ahmed also graduated from DePaul University with Honors with a Degree in Political Science and a Minor in Business Management. At DePaul he was involved with the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Ahmed has worked as a judicial clerk for the presiding judge at the Bridgeview Courthouse where he researched various issues and prepared judicial opinions. After his fellowship with CAIR-Chicago, Ahmed will be working as an associate for the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Ali is CAIR-Chicago’s 2010 New Americans Democracy Project Fellow.  He works on mobilizing the Muslim community in DuPage County for the 2010 midterm elections.  He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Finance, and a concentration on pre-health medicine.  Although Ali still plans on pursuing a career in medicine after finishing his Masters in Biomedical Sciences at Rosalind Franklin University, he found this as a perfect opportunity to get involved and build a network in the community organizing field.  After starting out college as an Art & Design major, his personal interests include drawing, as well as a strong obsession for watching his Chicago Bears play on Sundays.

Ryan is the Development Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. He is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, majoring in Romance Languages (Spanish & French). During his tenure there, he presided over the campus’ Muslim Student Association, as well as chapters of Pi Delta Phi French Honours Society and Sigma Delta Pi National Spanish Honours Society. Since graduating, he has worked with service-based organizations such as Zakat Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Rotary International, the Rotaract Club of Chicago, and the Islamic Institute for Information and Education (III&E). Ryan, also known as ‘Yusuf’, enjoys traveling, has visited Spain, Morocco, Sénégal and Germany, and plays for the Evanston Cricket Club.

Hiba Hammadi is a former CAIR-Chicago’s Operations Coordinator. Her responsibilities included fulfilling the operational and administrative needs of CAIR-Chicago in order to contribute to its smooth functioning and continued professional success. Her duties also included office organizational development, processing financial records and promoting a safe and efficient work environment for the CAIR-Chicago staff. Hiba graduated with honors from University of Illinois at Chicago with a major in Psychology. She has served as an intern at Arab American Family Services, the Zakat Foundation and Life for Relief and Development. Hiba appreciates the opportunity to partake CAIR’s great mission to better the American-Muslim relations and western society as a whole.

Lyndsey Stemm is a former Communications Coordinator for CAIR-Chicago.  Lyndsey graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College in broadcast journalism.  She has also studied Arabic, history and anthropology.  After finding herself continuously drawn to the Middle East and Muslims, Lyndsey decided to tie all her interests together by focusing her studies on foreign correspondence.  Her travel experiences, as well as studying at Al-Azhar University in Cairo have solidified her enthusiasm to work abroad.  She chose CAIR-Chicago because as a journalist, advocating for civil rights is extremely important to her.  She also knows that culturally and religiously sensitive reporting will be the most invaluable skill she will need in order to properly share the world with others.

Amina Sharif was a Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She graduated with honors from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  Amina was one of the founding members of CAIR-UIUC, the first student-led CAIR chapter in the country.At CAIR-Chicago, Amina worked with journalists and news producers in order to foster and promote accurate representations of Muslims in the media.  She also managed the organization’s marketing and public relations.

Christina Abraham is a former Civil Rights Director at CAIR-Chicago. Christina has spoken and written on issues related to Arab and Muslim civil rights, and actively works to pursue successful resolutions to incidents of discrimination through legal and non-legal channels. Christina is a member of the Advisory Board for the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights and a member of the Advisory Board of the BRussels International Tribunal. Christina holds a Masters in the Arts of Social Sciences (M.A.) from the University of Chicago where her focus was on Politics in the Middle East, and a Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law, where she received membership in the Order of the Barristers.

In his capacity as a James S. Kemper Scholar, Ibrahim served as a fellow with the Government Affairs team at CAIR-Chicago. Ibrahim was born and raised in Yemen and is an international student studying at Augsburg College in Minnesota majoring in International Relations and Business. Ibrahim served as a Nobel Peace Prize Forum Intern for 2011 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Tawakkol Karman earlier this year, acting as her direct assistant and translator. In the future, he hopes to focus on interfaith and international affairs in order to develop his skills to work effectively with various cultures. In his free time, Ibrahim enjoys playing soccer and table tennis.

Ambreen Zuberi is a Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. Ambreen obtained her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design with honors from the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. She also earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marketing & Management from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She has significant experience in both the commercial and residential design sectors. Prior to her career in the interior design industry, Ambreen worked within the marketing field where she consulted with private companies and organizations developing graphic design, increasing website presence, and building brand awareness. She plans to further her education by obtaining a Masters degree majoring in Islamic Studies. Ambreen has an energetic personality and is excited to join CAIR-Chicago’s Communication department to ensure accurate portrayal of American-Muslims through marketing initiatives and media relations. With her strong background in design and marketing combined with her passion for Islam, Ambreen has cultivated a strong foundation for interpersonal dialogue. Her passion for representing the rights of the underserved and addressing issues such as social inequality and Islamophobia has helped her realize the critical need for collaborative dialogue amongst the interfaith community and across socioeconomic lines.Originally born in Saudi Arabia, She grew up in Chicago and has strong ties to the diverse community here.  Ambreen is also a member with The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and ASID-American Society of Interior Designers. She routinely volunteers her time for community outreach programs, Islamic Relief, Chicago Food Depository and for children in need.