295. Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad (Founder, Muslim Wellness Foundation)

Kameelah

Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad joined the Office of the Chaplain in January 2013 and is thrilled to be back at her alma mater, serving the Muslim community on campus. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology (CAS’ 00) and M.Ed in Psychology Services (GSE ’01). She has also pursued further graduate education, completing a post-Masters certificate in Family Therapy and obtaining a second Masters in Restorative Practices and Youth Counseling. Kameelah has gained extensive clinical and program development experience in the behavioral health field and most recently served as the Manager for Community Development for Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS).

Kameelah is the Founder of Muslim Wellness Foundation, Inc., an organization dedicated to reducing stigma and raising awareness regarding the unique behavioral health needs and concerns of American Muslims stemming from trauma, addiction and mental illness. As Chaplain, Kameelah plans to focus on mental health, faith and diversity on campus, as well as building strong relationships with the wider Philadelphia community.

Kameelah was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and currently resides in the Philadelphia area with her husband Qasim Rashad, Amir of United Muslim Masjid in South Philadelphia, her two children Laila and Bilal and three stepchildren Hakim, Layla and Sanaa.

294. Shannaan Dawda (Financial Coach, True Financial)

SD

An Atlanta Native, Shannaan Dawda was born at Grady Memorial Hospital in 1986. Although a proud Grady baby and Southerner, his parents moved from Accra, Ghana to Georgia in the spring of 1982 to experience a different way of life. Growing up in a household that valued education, hard work and perseverance, Shannaan graduated from Georgia Southern University 2009 Cum Laude with degrees in Accounting and Finance. From there, he began working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, GA before moving back to Atlanta in 2012 to work for Frazier and Deeter CPA Firm. He officially passed all parts of his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam in February of 2013 and soon afterwards founded True Financial LLC. True Financial was founded in order to empower people to regain financial control of their lives by providing the necessary coaching and tools to help them become financially self-sufficient. In September of 2013 Shannaan was trained by Dave Ramsey to be an even better financial coach. Shannaan is actively involved in the community through organizations such as Alpha Phi Alpha, Atlanta Muslim Young Professionals, and Camp Horizon. He currently resides in Atlanta.

Website: http://truefinancialcoaches.com

293. Abrar Omeish (Co-Founder, GIVE)

American Flag Hijab

 

Abrar Omeish is the co-founder of the non-profit organization GIVE: Growth and Inspiration through Volunteering and Education. This is a youth-led and youth-run group that works to provide youth with resources to excel in education and leadership.

Abrar also holds several student positions in her county, most recently serving as the President of the FCPS Superintendent Student Advisory Council, the highest council position for a student in the county. Abrar also launched the two-year “Bring it On” issue campaign through which she amended policies of the Fairfax County Public School System. The campaign measurably increased student political efficacy in the governance process. Because of her involvement, Abrar was asked to host a video on important issues that was aired to over 100,000 students and that earned the county a Telly Award. She was also asked by several School Board members to serve on county advisory committees including ones on advanced academics and student discipline.

      Abrar also serves as the chairwoman of the Fairfax County Government Student Human Rights Commission and as a representative to the Fairfax County Youth Leadership Program, a bridge between the school system and the county government.

     Abrar is also an active Girl Scout, currently elected as a GSCNC Board of Directors member and as a GSCNC National Delegate. She was awarded the President’s Award in Honor of Ethel G. Harvey (one out of 65,000) and earned the rank of a Gold Award Girl Scout. As a result of her work, Abrar was nominated to join IYAG: the Interfaith Youth Action Group of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation that worked to foster dialogue and implement projects using the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as a platform.

http://www.muslimlinkpaper.com/community-news/community-news/2284-va-girl-scout-attends-white-house-womens-day-dinner.html

http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2012/mar/22/eleven-students-receive-peace-awards/

http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20111220/NEWS/712209963/0/fairfaxTimes&template=fairfaxTimes

 

292. Aitzaz Hasan (Student, Pakistan)

Aitiaz

Aitzaz Hassan, aged around 14, died in hospital after stopping a suicide bomber, who blew himself up, at the gates of his school in the northwestern district of Hangu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

http://elitedaily.com/news/world/pakistani-teenager-saved-lives-2000-students-sacrificing-tackling-suicide-bomber/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/aitzaz-hasan-hero-pakistan-teenager-3007263

http://www.smh.com.au/world/pakistani-boy-aitzaz-hasan-hailed-a-hero-for-stopping-suicide-bomber-entering-school-20140111-hv80g.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25663992

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2536545/Schoolboy-14-hailed-hero-sacrificing-life-save-classmates-Pakistan-suicide-bomber.html

291. Yasmin Turk (Project Director, HOPE for Senegal)

yasmin2

Yasmin Diallo Turk is a passionate advocate for women, parent to two young children, and geographer making her way from GED to PhD. Ms. Turk graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Sociology from Huston-Tillotson University, a Master’s in Global Policy from the University of Texas (LBJ School of Public Affairs) and is now in her third year as a PhD student at Texas State University in the Department of Geography.

In addition to her work in academia, Ms. Turk is in her twelfth year working directly with survivors of sexual and domestic violence at SafePlace. Through Ms. Turk’s commitment to volunteerism, she serves as a Girl Scout co-leader, an Arabic language interpreter for American Gateways, mentor to girls who will be first generation college attendees, and as project director for HOPE for Senegal.

In her role with HOPE for Senegal, Ms. Turk has raised more than $40,000 to grant scholarships to girls, build a science lab, and bring drinking water to a school of more than 4,000 students.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84RXKfBS2x4

290. Syed Shadman Hossain (Freshman Student, John Hopkins University)

pictureface

Syed Shadman Hossain won the  Alternate Grand Prize in the Medicine and Health Sciences category in the 2012 Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair for his project entitled, Cytotoxicity of TQ on Bacteria and Cancer Cells.

He is currently a freshman at Johns Hopkins University studying biomedical engineering and computer science and hopes to integrate his two areas of interest to hopefully one day develop novel methods of disease detection and treatment.

His publication of his research is here: http://www.jes2s.com/pdfs/hossain_et_al.pdf

http://www.muslimlinkpaper.com/myjumla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2962:nova-youth-wins-fairfax-science-fair-by-showing-black-seeds-effect-on-cancer&Itemid=17

MH Exclusive: Dr. Jaber Hassan

Jaber

Dr.  Jaber Hassan,  is a pulmonary and critical care doctor born and raised in Syria. He is part of a team of doctors who belong to the Syrian American Medical Society, make regular trips back to Syria to help with medical treatment of Syrian civilians.

MH: Can you tell us a little a bit about yourself and what got you interested in providing free healthcare in Syria?

My name Jaber Monla-Hassan, medical doctor, born in Aleppo Syria, American citizen by naturalization, specialized in critical care medicine which is taking care the eminent life threatening illnesses such as shock and acute respiratory failure. I have been involved in volunteering my country of birth for many years as part of the non-for profit organization SAMS. When the crisis in Syria erupted, I had no hesitance to continue my obligation toward fellow humans in even more dire need for help.

MH: What inspired you to go to Syria and provide free healthcare there?

The collapsing medical system in Syria which left an entire population in dire need for medical aids has urged SAMS members to render the maximum they can do to alleviate the escalating suffering of the population.

MH: What is the Syrian American Medical Society and what does it do?

SAMS is a non-governmental professional and humanitarian organization consists of Syrian American medical professionals of various specialties which was formed 14 years ago and have been providing volunteering work all over the world and since the Syrian crisis erupted almost exclusively focusing on Syrian civilians trapped in the raging war violence. WWW.SAMS-US.net explains about its activities which includes and is not limited to supporting and building hospitals to serve the civilian population all over Syria, building mobile medical and dental clinics both inside and outside Syria to support the refugees and trapped civilians, dispatching medical professional inside Syria and in the camps to support the remaining existing health providers, conducting training courses for the purpose of improving the skills of the remaining doctors and nursing staff, delivering medical equipment and ambulances to the deprived areas among many other things.

MH: It is extremely difficult for most Muslim Americans and the world to see the ongoing atrocities occurring against the Syrian people. What are some practical ways people can help contribute to helping ease the suffering of the Syrian people?

Please support SAMS as all the donations are channeled very promptly and by its entirety to the beneficiaries without any administrative expenses as these expenses are being taking care by SAMS members.

MH: As someone who is on the ground and has seen the trauma first-hand, what are the current updates in Syria?

Worse every day as we speak as the International aids have been dwindling and sometimes non-existent in vast areas of Syria. Unless there is a massive move by all humanitarian and aids organizations millions upon millions of civilians are left to face even worse than war and trauma, which is starvation and disseminated disease.

MH: There has been an ongoing debate on intervention and no intervention internationally. What do you feel is the best course of action based on your experience and speaking to Syrian patients who you’ve spoken to?

The main intervention the Syrian are lacking is massive medical and humanitarian aids to alleviate their suffering supported by a true international pressure on all sides to force them to stop the violence and allow the civilians to catch their breaths and dress their open wounds.

MH: How can individuals looking to support or get involved with the Syrian American Medical Society and/or other Syrian relief organization?

Any individual can donate directly to SAMS on its website or by writing a check to SAMS foundation naming Save Syrian life campaign. They can name the specific program they are interested to support among the 9 program or just leave it generic.

MH Exclusive: Native Deen

Native Deen

Native Deen is an Islamic musical group from the Washington, D.C. area.

MH: How and when did Native Deen start?

The 3 of us started performing together in 2000. Although we did not actually come up with a name until about 2002. However, the seeds were planted through the project called MYNA Raps which started in 1992. I was on the first MYNA raps with other artists. Naeem and Abdul-Malik were on MYNA raps 2-4 with other artists. And all three of us were the only artists on MYNA raps 5. We performed songs from MYNA raps 5 for 5 years until we came out with our own album in 2005 titled Deen You Know.

 MH: What topics or themes influence your music, lyrics and content?

We all have different backgrounds. And our upbringing finds its way into out music. We have home school backgrounds, Islamic School backgrounds, public school backgrounds, military backgrounds, university backgrounds, marriage, children, etc. We all have different music that we prefer and those different styles of music finds its way into our style as well.

MH: What role does music have in educating and inspiring individuals to change themselves and their communities?

Its huge. Music is a language that speaks to people on top of their regular language. A song can do a lot more than a speech for the emotional well being of a person sometimes. Music is another tool used to communicate thoughts and messages to people.

MH: Some argue that music can be dawah and can educate people of other faiths about Islam and Muslims. Should Muslim artists create music geared only towards Muslims or make music that is relatable to people of other faith too?

Both. Every artist does not have to do both. However, I think the Muslim community needs artists that do both.

 MH: Native Deen is one of the pioneers when it comes to Muslim hip hop music. Have you seen an evolution and an increase in appearance of Muslim rappers and musicians?

Oh yes. Its good to see many more artists coming on the scene. Alhamdu-lilah we were able to push the envelope a little and open some doors for the artists coming now.

MH: Many of your songs focus on Muslim American identity. How important is it to create messages for Muslim youth to be proud of their Muslim identity?

It’s very important. Muslim identity is a growing concern for many American Muslim communities.

MH: Native Deen’s traveled internationally and nationally and your music has been universally accepted and been a crucial part of the development of some Muslim youth’s identity. Have you seen common challenges for Muslim youth in the US and internationally?

Gender relations is a common problem. Youth do not feel empowered to have proper relationships with the opposite gender. Identity is another common challenge. Muslim Youth are not aware of their history and sometimes they do not think of themselves highly. And may consider the West as the advanced society because of today’s reality.

 MH: Many people complain about the negative connotations associated with hip hop and rap and the messages promoted in the genre of rap and hip hop. How would you respond to individuals who say hip hop and rap shouldn’t be listened to (no matter who the artist is) due to the negative influence it has on the youth?

That is a very general statement. A person can make it even broader and put ALL music into that category. The fact is that music is a tool and hip hop is a style. The lyrics are a different thing. And there are many hip hop songs that are extremely positive. It would be better to teach youth to stay away from bad lyrics no matter what the style of music instead of keeping them away from hip hop alone.

 MH: Many Muslim artists like Lupe Fiasco have been critical of current trends in hip hop and amongst rappers and tries to promote positive messages in his music. How important is it for messages in music to be meaningful and positive?

Its very important. But I think its more important for it NOT to be negative. Meaning, a person can write a song about watching water on the beach. Or some experience they had. Another person may not find the song meaningful or positive. But they can recognize that its not negative.

MH: Is it possible for Muslim musicians and artists to go “mainstream” and still maintain the positive messages in their music?

Of course. I think the next generation will produce many more of these types of artists.

 MH: Have you seen an expansion of Muslim artists into different genres of music apart from rap?

I’m seeing Muslims artists coming up into every style of music there is. Reggae, Country, Rock, etc.

MH: Who are some of your favorite Muslim musicians or artists?

Since I can’t name them all, I wont name any. Because I know these artists. And I would not want to offend anyone by forgetting.

MH: If you could collaborate with any artists or groups, Muslim or non-Muslim artist who would you like to work with?

I would like to do a project with Lupe personally. I think Naeem would love to do a project with Yasin Bey (Mos Def).

MH: What advice would you give to aspiring Muslim artists and musicians?

Have a partner. Don’t do it alone. Even if its just a manager who is close to you. But have a partner.

MH: Where can we learn more about your work and follow you work?

Facebook and http://www.nativedeen.com

288. Dr. Jaber Hassan ( Doctor, Syrian American Medical Society)

Dr Jaber

Dr. Jaber Hassan is a pulmonary and critical care doctor born and raised in Syria. He along with a team of doctors who belong to the Syrian American Medical Society, make regular trips back to Syria.