Speakers Appearing on ICNE Conference 2017:

Amer F. Ahmed
Director of Intercultural Teaching and Faculty Development at University of Massachusetts – Amherst

      • Dr. Amer Ahmed serves as Director of Intercultural Teaching and Faculty Development at University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Faculty at the Summer and Winter Institutes for Intercultural Communication and a member of SpeakOut: Institute for Democratic Leadership and Culture. An individual with eclectic personal and professional experience, he is a social justice educator, Hip Hop activist, diversity consultant and college administrator, channeling his diverse experiences into work geared towards facilitating effective intercultural development.
        He has been featured on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris Perry” show and in Dr. Shakti Butler’s film on racism entitled “Cracking the Codes.”


Marwa Abdulhai
Massachusetts Institute of Technology student majoring in Computer Science

      • Marwa Abdulhai is a sophomore at Massachusetts Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science. Having seen the challenges of Muslims living in India, Saudi Arabia, UAE and United States, Marwa has made it her personal mission to help end the struggles of women and poor children globally. As a co-founder of the New Jersey chapter of Indian Muslim Relief & Charities (IMRC), she has committed herself to a life-long goal to help the underprivileged. She has raised funds and supported many causes such as the One Thousand Orphan project, the Kashmir Water Well project and the Bihar Skill Development project. She is also a writer for MuslimGirl, an online magazine for young Muslim women living in western societies. Marwa takes every opportunity to immerse herself in the cultures of many and identifies herself as a citizen of the world. 


Atty. Tahirah Amatul-Wadud
Attorney who runs a law practice with focus areas in civil rights and domestic relations law

      • Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is an attorney who runs a law practice with focus areas in civil rights and domestic relations law. She was a White House invitee in December 2015 for a program on Celebrating and Protecting America’s Tradition of Religious Pluralism. As an activist who devotes significant amount of her time engaging in community service, Atty. Wadud is a public speaker and addresses aspects of family law, women’s issues, civic engagement, interfaith solidarity, children’s issues, race, and religion.  A graduate of Elms College in Chicopee, Atty. Wadud earned her Law degree from the Western New England University School of Law.


Nazia Ashraful
Government Affairs Director of CAIR-MA

      • Nazia Ashraful is a committed advocate for minority populations and women’s rights. As Government Affairs Director of CAIR-MA, she has made historic advancements in bringing the Muslim community voice to the Massachusetts’s State House. She was formerly the Legislative Affairs Coordinator of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, where she focused on government relations. Ms. Ashraful holds a Masters of Public Health from Boston University where she specialized in minority women’s reproductive health, and a bachelors from Drake University, where she found and was President of the Muslim Students Association.


Imam Basheer Bilaal
Imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell (ISGL)

      • Basheer Bilaal is Resident Imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell (ISGL). He delivers Friday sermon, leads five-time daily congregational prayers, conducts the Qur’anic study sessions and lecture programs. He also performs other religious duties as well as provides social and family services to the ISGL community.


Colin Christopher
Director of ISNA’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances in Washington, D.C

      • Colin Christopher is the Director of ISNA’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances in Washington, D.C. He brings over a decade of experience working in politics, media, and international development. He served as a writer for The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates project where he published articles, facilitated education panels, and co-created content for the Inside Islam Radio Show on Wisconsin Public Radio. During his time in India, he organized diverse constituencies to develop better bicycle infrastructure in Bombay and produced a documentary film exploring the market failures of India’s micro finance crisis in 2010. As a researcher for the World Organization for Resource Development and Education, he evaluated Muslim non-profit organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan that used religious education to delegitimize extremism. He served as Policy Education Coordinator at NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice where he advocated for tax-based poverty alleviation programs and other economic justice policies. As Executive Director of Green Muslims, he initiated the organization’s expansion, including eco-Islamic education programming for youth, environmental advocacy, and interfaith partnerships. As Deputy Director of Government Affairs at Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center, he increased civic engagement within the broader Northern Virginia Muslim community and brought together five of the largest masajid to partner with V.O.I.C.E., the region’s largest interfaith power-building organization. Colin received his Bachelors from The George Washington University and Masters in International Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Dr. Joseph Kelley
Co-chair and Professor in the Department of Religious and Theological studies and director of the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack

      • Dr. Joseph Kelley is Co-chair and Professor in the Department of Religious and Theological studies and director of the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack.
        He holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Boston University, a D.Min. in clinical pastoral psychology from Andover Newton Theological School, an M.A. in theology) from the Catholic University of America, and a B.A. in philosophy from Villanova University.
        Since his arrival at Merrimack in 1974, he has also served as provost, vice president for mission, vice president for student life and director of campus ministry. He has taught theology and religious studies at Merrimack and elsewhere.
        He has authored books in his discipline and is a licensed clinical psychologist and musician. He frequently addresses parish and community groups in the US, European countries, and Australia.


Dr. John Robbins
Executive Director

      • John Robbins, Executive Director, is a dedicated and experienced community organizer, nonprofit leader, and public intellectual. He holds a Ph.D. in English and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Tufts University. A dedicated educator, he has taught algebra to high-risk youth at a public high school in Maryland, English to refugee and orphan children in Turkey, and literature at Cornell and Tufts Universities. His writings have appeared in numerous outlets including Fortune, Time, Muslim Matters, the Hill, the Jewish Journal, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald, and he is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Dr. Robbins sits on the board of directors of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, the greater Boston area’s oldest interfaith social justice network.


Linda Sarsour (Keynote Speaker)
Executive director of the Arab American Association of New York

      • Born, raised and educated in in Brooklyn, NY, Linda Sarsoure has served as executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. She was one of the organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. In 2001, she began to volunteer for the Arab American Association of New York (AAA/NY). Her efforts were focused on defending the civil rights of Muslim Americans following the tragedy of 9/11. She worked to have Muslim holidays recognized in New York City’s public schools, and later gained wider attention protesting police surveillance of Muslim Americans. Sarsour was appointed as director of AAA/NY in 2011. In that capacity, she advocated for passage of the Community Safety Act in New York, which created an independent office to review police policy and expanded the definition of bias-based profiling in New York. In 2011 Sarsour participated in the Women’s Media Center’s Progressive Women’s Voices Media and Leadership Training Program. Named as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People“, Sarsour has spoken of the importance of her former organization in building a progressive movement in the United States. She became a frequent television commentator on feminism and has tackled issues like immigration policy, mass incarceration, stop-and-frisk and NYPD’s spying operation on Muslims. The Obama administration recognized her as a “champion of change.”Sarsour was a co-chairwoman of the “Day Without a Woman” in 2017, organized to mark International Women’s Day.

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