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


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.


MH Exclusive: Dr. Jaber Hassan


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.

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.


282. Iqbal El Assaad (Medical School Graduate, Lebanon)


Twenty-year-old Iqbal El Assaad made history by becoming the youngest doctor in the region when she graduated from the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar



266. Sarah Kureshi (Health and Human Rights Activist, Washington, DC)

Dr. Sarah Kureshi is a graduate of University of Central Florida (B.S., Biology), Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (M.D.) and Harvard School of Public Health (M.P.H, International Health). She completed her residency in Family Medicine at UCSF in 2010 where she was a global health clinical scholar and provided care to a multicultural, urban, underserved population.

Dr. Kureshi has been passionate about community health since college and has a special interest in gender-based violence, health & human rights, and empowerment, especially pertaining to refugee/immigrant populations and survivors of trauma. Being a former NCAA college athlete and the first US female athlete to compete in Iran since the 1979 revolution, she has a strong passion for using sports as a tool for development, peace, violence prevetion, and health education.

She has previously worked with girls rescued from sex trafficking in New Delhi, lady health workers in earthquake-affected Kashmir, and the Somali refugee community in Minnesota. This has been informed by her interest and work within the Muslim communuity addressing health-related issues. Dr. Kureshi currently serves as a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) Aslym Network Provider.







262. Emine Erdoğan (Wife of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan)

Emine Erdoğan, the Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan’s wife, on Friday visited Rohingya Muslims staying in the Banduba refugee camp in the Myanmar coastal state of Rakhine and delivered aid to the Rohingya Muslim refugees.


Emine Erdoğan embracing a Rohingya Muslim woman during her visit.

261. The Oobah Project (Water Delivery Project for Afghanistan)

The Oobah Project, “oobah” meaning water in Pashto, serves to provide assistance for the installation and maintenance of clean water delivery systems, specifically water well pumps, in rural villages in Afghanistan. The project was founded by Sahar Rakin and Riga Qadir, both Afghan-American Muslims.




257. Zeina Awaydate (Founder, Project Zaid)

Zeina Awaydate is the founder of Project Zaid, a program aiming at teaching life skills to orphans in her hometown in Tripoli through trained volunteers that act as big brothers and sisters to the children, providing them with needed individual attention and support. Zeina has been nominated as a Synergos Fellow and an Arab World Social Innovator for her project; she was also a finalist in an Arab reality TV show hosted by Amr Khaled called Mujaddidun (“Revivers”) aimed at promoting volunteering and positive social action. Zeina currently works as a Marketing and Fundraising Officer at the Lebanese Association for Scientific Research and has plans to launch a life coaching business



219. Ameena Matthews (Violence Interrupter, CeaseFire-Chicago)

Ameena  Matthews is one of the only women interrupters and the daughter of Jeff Fort, one of the most notorious and powerful gang leaders in the history of Chicago and US crime. She worked for a big drug dealing operation in Chicago and as an enforcer. Now she’s a devout Muslim and a mother and wife.