Sabahat started her career working for USAID and Arthur D Little, becoming an investment banker and consultant in Islamic Finance and Sharia-compliant banking for the Middle-East and South Asian financial markets. She holds master’s degrees in finance and shariah, is a former business owner, and currently a speaker on South Asian affairs who also sits on the President’s Council of the United Religions Initiative (URI).
Amhed Nawaz is lead director of the Board of Directors of Digi International. He is an industry veteran in leading and managing large global operations in the semiconductor and wireless industries. He has extensive multinational sales and product management expertise, particularly in Asia Pacific. Most recently Ahmed served as executive vice president for Wireless Solutions Group at Spansion, Inc. Previously he was executive vice president, worldwide sales for Agere Systems, a provider of integrated circuit solutions, and served as worldwide sales, strategy and business development of Lucent's Microelectronics & Communications Technologies Group.
Arshia Baig is a Senior Manager at SGI, responsible for corporate governance and the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. She recently completed overseeing the merger and integration of two public companies. Arshia has held management level positions at Visa and Comcast and began her career at KPMG in Toronto. She received her Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada and is an active member of the Financial Women’s Association of San Francisco. Arshia is a California Certified Public Accountant as well as a Chartered Accountant with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Javed Patel is a corporate consultant. He is the former CEO of GridIron Systems, a big data storage acceleration company located in Sunnyvale, CA and former CEO of Sierra Monolithics, where he led its rapid growth resulting in the acquisition of the company by Semtech Corporation (Nasdaq: SMTC). Previously, he held various senior management positions at Anadigics, Tropian, WJ Communications, and Quake Technologies. Javed holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from University of Kansas and an MBA degree from Drexel University.
Maha Elgenaidi is the founder and the first president and CEO of the organization. She is the author of training handbooks on outreach for American Muslims as well as training seminars for public institutions on developing cultural competency with the American Muslim community. Recently named by the San Jose Business Journal as one of Silicon Valley's Women of Influence, Maha has been recognized with numerous civil rights awards, including the "Civil Rights Leadership Award" from the California Association of Human Relations Organizations. She is pursuing her graduate degree in religious studies at Stanford University and received her bachelors' degree in Political Science and Economics from the American University in Cairo.
Randy Pond is Executive Vice President at Cisco Systems, Inc., overseeing Corporate Quality, Customer Service & Operational Systems, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal Affairs, and Worldwide Manufacturing. He chairs Cisco's strategic executive councils for Business Process Operations and Business Oversight. Randy was previously vice president of finance, operations and chief financial officer at Crescendo Communications and served in finance and operations capacities for Versatec, David Systems, Xerox Corporation, Schlumberger, and Arthur Andersen. He has a bachelor's degree in accounting and economics from Ball State University in Indiana.
Shaista Ali is founder and CEO of "We are One," A non-profit organization which provides support for interfaith initiatives in India. We Are One promotes communal harmony across the world at a grassroots level, empowering individuals and communities through a variety of financial and social initiatives, building peace and harmony as one human race.
Members at Large - Scholars
(Listed in alphabetical order)
Imam Tahir Anwar
South Bay Islamic Association
Imam Tahir Anwar is an American Muslim Imam (religious leader) who has been around Imams since the day he was born. Namely his father and grandfather (his first teachers), and his two brothers, who are also both Imams in California. Born in London, Imam Tahir moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1983 and made San Jose his home. Upon completing his religious studies in India, he has been serving as the Imam of one of the oldest mosques in the country, the Islamic Center of San Jose, since 2001. He is also the head of the Islamic Studies Department, and a teacher at Granada Islamic School in nearby Santa Clara, an institution in its 26th year. After serving on the Human Rights Commission for the City of San Jose for over 5 years, Imam Tahir now serves on the Human Relations Commission for the County of Santa Clara. He also sits on Zaytuna College’s Management Committee as well as other panels and boards. Imam Tahir has been leading a group to perform Hajj for several years, with CNN twice covering this pilgrimage. He currently resides in San Jose, California with his wife and two sons.
Reza Aslan, PhD
Scholar of religions and author
Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is a contributing editor at the Daily Beast. Reza Aslan has degrees in Religions from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the board of directors of the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues; Abraham's Vision, an interfaith peace organization; PEN USA, which champions the rights of writers under siege around the world; and he serves on the national advisory board of the Levantine Cultural Center, building bridges between Americans and the Arab/Muslim world. Aslan's first book is the International Bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age), and editor of an upcoming anthology from Norton titled Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East.
Aslan is President and CEO of Aslan Media Inc, whose holdings include BoomGen Studios, a mini-motion picture and media company focused entirely on entertainment about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities. Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles where he is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.
Shahzad Bashir, PhD
Dr. Bashir is Associate Professor, Graduate Director and head of the Abbasi Islamic Studies Program at Stanford University. He specializes in Islamic Studies with primary interests in Sufism, Shi'ism, and the intellectual and social history of Persianate Islamic societies (Iran and Central and Southern Asia). He is the author of Messianic Hopes and Mystical Visions: the Nurbakhsiya Between Medieval and Modern Islam and Fazlallah Astarabadi and the Hurufis. He has recently finished a book project entitled Bodies of God's Friends: Sufis in Persianate Islamic Societies and is currently working on a comparative study of Persian historical and hagiographic narratives from the late medieval to early modern period.
Imam Alaeddin El-Bakri
Saratoga Islamic Center
Imam Alaeddin El-Bakri began his study of Islam at a young age in North Africa and continued his education in the Islamic sciences in Jordan, learning from predominant scholars in the Muslim world. He has served the Muslim community in the United States in numerous capacities, serving as Imam at several Islamic centers and helping to establish full-time and weekend Islamic schools. He has also served as founding board member of IMAN (Inner City Muslim Action Network) in Chicago, as a book editor for IQRA and also as an advisory board member in many Islamic organizations. Having been trained in both the Islamic sciences and secular education, Imam Alaeddin has the ability to appeal to various audiences and his main focus is in helping Muslims develop a deep understanding of the self, life and faith. He currently serves as Imam at the Saratoga mosque in California.
Sister Marianne Farina, PhD
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Marianne Farina, CSC, Ph.D. is a religious sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana. She is an assistant professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California. Sister Marianne teaches courses that focus on subjects such as Social Ethics, Virtue, Sexual Ethics, Philosophical Ethics, Islamic Philosophy, Human Rights, Faith Formation, and Muslim-Christian Dialogue. She received a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology from Santa Clara University and a Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from Boston College. Sister Marianne worked for 11 years in Bangladesh as a teacher, pastoral assistant and school supervisor. While in Bangladesh she ministered with Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Tribal families and communities. With more than 25 years of experience in education and pastoral ministry, Sister Marianne has worked in education and social development projects that promote social justice and interfaith dialogue. Over the last three years, she has traveled in Africa and Indonesia as a delegate and teacher covering topics such as "Religion and Democracy," "Methods for Cross-Cultural Understanding," "Interfaith Dialogue," and "Human Rights."
Charles Haynes, PhD
First Amendment Center
Dr. Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum. He writes and speaks extensively on religious liberty and religion in American public life. Haynes is best known for his work on First Amendment issues in public schools. Over the past two decades, he has been the principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religious liberty in schools, endorsed by a broad range of religious and educational organizations. In January 2000, three of these guides were distributed by the U.S. Department of Education to every public school in the nation. (See also A Parent's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools, A Teacher's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools and Public Schools & Religious Communities.) Haynes is the author or co-author of six books, including First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights in America (2006) and Religion in American Public Life. His column, Inside the First Amendment, appears in newspapers nationwide. He is a founding board member of the Character Education Partnership and serves on the steering committee of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and the American Bar Association Advisory Commission on Public Education. He chairs the Committee on Religious Liberty of the National Council of Churches. Widely quoted in news magazines and major newspapers, Haynes is also a frequent guest on television and radio. He has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal and on ABC’s "Evening News." In 2008 he received the Virginia First Freedom Award from the Council for America's First Freedom. Haynes holds a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate from Emory University.
Reverend Andrew Kille, PhD
Interfaith Space & Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Andrew is the founder and director of Interfaith Space in San Jose, California, and also serves as Editor of Bay Area Interfaith Connect, the newsletter of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco. A graduate of Stanford University in English Literature, he attended seminary at the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, California. He served on the staff of the Grace Baptist Church in San Jose, California for fifteen years, before returning to school. He received the first Ph.D. granted in psychological biblical criticism from the Graduate Theological Union. His interest in psychology and the Bible began during his years as a pastor and was nurtured through the work of Morton Kelsey, John Sanford, Elizabeth Howes and the Guild for Psychological Studies, and Carl Jung. He has contributed to several volumes of psychological biblical criticism, and is the author of Psychological Biblical Criticism (Fortress Press, 2001 ISBN 9780800632465) in the Guides to Biblical Scholarship series and co-editor with Wayne G. Rollins of Psychological Insight into the Bible: Texts and Readings (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2007 ISBN 9780802841551). Dr. Kille has served as both co-Chair and Chair of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section of the Society of Biblical Literature. In 2007, he became the editor of The Bible Workbench, a study resource on the Bible rooted in a psychologically informed approach.
Farid Senzai, PhD
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and Santa Clara University
Farid Senzai is a Fellow and the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). He is also an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Santa Clara University. Senzai has been a research associate at the Brookings Institution, where he studied U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, and a research analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, working on the Muslim Politics project. He served as a consultant for Oxford Analytica and the World Bank and is on the advisory board of The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Senzai received his M.A. in international affairs from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in politics and international relations from Oxford University. Farid is married with one child.
Imam Faheem Shuaibe
Waritheen Islamic Center
Imam Shuaibe serves the Oakland community in California and is an accomplished speaker, delivering lectures on many college and university campuses and participating on several television panels. He is also the author of many books as well as hundreds of recorded lectures. As a world traveler who has made hajj and umrah twice, Imam Shuaibe has participated in several international delegations on various educational, interfaith, and peace missions. These trips included visits to Saudi Arabia, Rome, Sudan, and Malaysia. Often cited by the media, Imam Shuaibe has been interviewed by the Muslim Journal, the Oakland Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the New York Times and many other media agencies including KPIX-TV where the Waritheen Mosque and Clara Mohammed School were featured in a weeklong special on Muslims. In recognition of Imam Shuaibe's insightful and compassionate leadership for over 20 years, he has received the keys to several cities across the country, the Phi Beta Sigma's Notable Citizen award, and special recognition from the Waritheen Mosque where he frequently hosts the radio and television programs.