Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism

Covering Islam and Muslims in America

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  AslamAbdullah@aol.com
Aslam Abdullah is the editor of the weekly Muslim Observer published from Detroit, MI. He is also the director of the Islamic Society of Nevada as well as the founding director of the Muslim electorates' Council of America. Abdullah is well known for his community work, published books and involvement in relief activities. He is a speaker, journalist, writer and author of several books. He has published 11 books, and more 400 papers on issues pertaining to Muslims and Islam. He is a vice chairman of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, president of the American Muslim Federation of Muslims from India, a board member of the North American Association of Professional and Scholars. He was vice president of the American Islamic College in Chicago. Prior to that he edited the Arabia magazine published from London. In addition to that he has worked for the International Youth Center in New Delhi. Abdullah is affiliated with several youth related activities in the country. He is part of the Muslim Student Network, a Washington based student group devoted to provide policy related training to Muslim students. He is also involved in youth camps as a youth trainer. Abdullah, a naturalized U.S. Citizen was born in India.

   213-383-3443
  lalmara@aol.com
Laila Al-Marayati is the spokesperson and past president of the Muslim Women’s League (MWL), a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to strengthening the role of Muslim women in society.  Al-Marayati has written articles and participated in numerous conferences addressing issues of concern to Muslim women, including such topics as: basic women’s rights in Islam; reproductive health and sexuality; stereotyping; and violence against women.  Al-Marayati spearheaded the MWL’s efforts on behalf of rape survivors from the war in Bosnia in 1993 and she was a member of the official US Delegation to the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Al-Marayati also has participated in numerous activities related to international religious freedom.  She served as a Presidential appointee to the Commission on International Religious Freedom and was a member of the State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad.  She has testified before Congress and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe regarding religious intolerance against Muslims in Europe. As an American of Palestinian descent, Al-Marayati frequently speaks and writes about the rights of Palestinians.  She is chairperson of the Board of Directors of KinderUSA, a humanitarian organization whose primary focus is on the health and educational needs of Palestinian children living in the West Bank and Gaza. Al-Marayati is a Board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist working as the Director of Women’s Health at the Northeast Valley Health Corporation in Southern California.  She is a Clinical Professor at the USC School of Medicine.

   505-685-4584
  kdalavi@valornet.com
Karima Alavi is program director for the Dar al Islam Madressah in Abiquiu, NM, where she directs a summer institute for American teachers titled “Understanding and Teaching About Islam.” She has over 25 years experience in teaching, and curriculum development in the areas of history and Islamic studies and has presented more than 100 conference workshops. Alavi also does teacher training for the World History Association, New Mexico Advance Placement, and the National Council for the Social Studies. An American convert to Islam, Alavi studied in Iran in 1976 as a Bicentennial Scholar. After completing her MA in History at Kent State University, she retuned to Iran in 1978-‘79 to teach at the University of Isfahan. She chose to remain in Iran after the Americans were evacuated, and stayed for the remainder of the Islamic Revolution. Upon returning to the U.S., she taught at Quaker institutions such as Wilmington College of Ohio and The Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. Her publications include a high-school curriculum unit, “Emergence of Renaissance: Cultural Interactions Between Europeans and Muslims” (co-authored with Susan Douglass of the Council on Islamic Education), as well as several chapters for Calliope and Cobblestone Publications on Baghdad’s House of Wisdom, Hijab, and the Qur’an. Her magazine articles include “What are American Children Learning About Islam,” “At Risk of Prejudice: Teaching Tolerance Toward Muslim Americans,” and “Thoughts on the CNN Special on the Iranian Elections” published in 2000. Alavi returned to Iran in 2003 and 2004 to accompany educators’ tours for which she served as Primary Lecturer. She’s also writing a fictional novel based on her experiences during the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

   714-884-4444
  socal@cair.com
Hussam Ayloush is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Southern California. Ayloush has appeared on local, national and international media programs such as CNN, MSNBC, KABC, KCBS, FOX, AL-JAZEERA, KTLA, PBS, BBC, NPR, KNX, KFWB, and KFI.  He has also been interviewed and has regularly written for a number of local and national newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, The Press-Enterprise, The Daily Breeze, Orange County Register, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, San Jose Mercury News, and various newswire services on American Islamic issues.  Ayloush is a regular speaker at many California colleges, schools, Islamic centers, churches, conferences, and universities. Through CAIR's work of education and engagement, Ayloush maintains close contact with public officials and various law enforcement agencies to ensure a better understanding and treatment of Muslim.  In addition to his work with CAIR, he serves on the board of directors of ACCESS California a non-profit organization providing social services to the Arab and Muslim community in Southern California and on the national board of the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, a Chicago-based organization that campaigns to improve benefits and working conditions for low-wage workers. Ayloush holds a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from University of Texas, Austin in 1994 and an M.B.A. degree from California State University, Fullerton.

  fbuckley@tribune.com
Frank Buckley is co-anchor of the Saturday and Sunday editions of "KTLA Prime News," joining Lu Parker at the anchor desk. Buckley joined KTLA/WB in June 2005 from CNN where he had been a Los Angeles-based national correspondent. In June, Buckley reported for KTLA from Iran on the presidential election. While at CNN, Buckley's varied assignments ranged from breaking news to politics to long-form enterprise reporting. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Buckley was embedded with the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation in the Persian Gulf. In the weeks following 9/11, he reported from warships in the Arabian Sea. In 2004, Buckley participated in CNN's political coverage, traveling with the Kerry and Edwards campaigns. In 2003-2004, he also traveled with President Bush and frequently reported from the White House. Other political reporting assignments have included Hillary Clinton's New York Senate run and the 2000 presidential election and its aftermath. His spot news reporting has included hurricanes in the Caribbean and the Carolinas, earthquakes in California and Japan, wildfires, the Los Angeles riots, and the death of JFK Jr. off Martha's Vineyard. Buckley's enterprise reporting at CNN led to three hour-long CNN Presents documentaries, "Carrier at War," "War Birds," and "Mystery of the Arctic Rose." Buckley was also part of the CNN team that received the National Headliner Award for CNN's continuing coverage of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. Prior to CNN, Buckley was a reporter at Los Angeles station KCAL-TV. While at KCAL, he covered a number of major stories, including Great Britain's handover of Hong Kong to China, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing and the OJ Simpson trial. He is the recipient of numerous awards including an Emmy for his coverage of the Hong Kong handover, APTRA Awards from the Associated Press Television-Radio Association including Reporter of the Year, Golden Mike Awards from the Radio and Television News Association and the national Americanism in News Media Award. Earlier in his career he served as a weekend anchor/reporter at WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, NC, and as a morning anchor/reporter at KESQ-TV in Palm Springs, CA. Buckley has also written for the Los Angeles Times and The Detroit News. Buckley holds a B.A. in history and broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California.

   805-893-7136
  jcampo@religion.ucsb.edu
Juan E. Campo is associate professor of Religious Studies at University of California at Santa Barbara. He has served as co-director of the UCSB Center for Middle East Studies and is currently director of the graduate program in Religious Studies. He specializes in the comparative study of Islam, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia, teaching courses on Islamic tradition; religion, politics and society in the Persian Gulf region; Islamic mysticism; modern Islamic movements; Islam in India; the Qur’an; Arabic religious texts; as well as introductory courses on the study of religion, religion and Western civilization, and Middle Eastern studies. His research has taken him to Egypt, where he has lived for more than five years, including two years as the director of the UC Education Abroad Program study center at American University in Cairo, and to India, where he served as director of the UC Education Abroad Program’s study centers in Delhi and Hyderabad. Campo’s book, The Other Sides of Paradise: Explorations in the Religious Meanings of Domestic Space in Islam, won the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in 1991. Topics examined in other publications and lectures include modern Islamic movements, the history of Islam in the Middle East, Hinduism and Islam, and the growth of the Muslim community in Southern California. Currently, Campo is serving as editor in chief for the Facts on File Encyclopedia of Islam, and writing a book entitled Pilgrimages in Modernity — a comparative look at Muslim, Hindu, and Christian pilgrimages in the modern world.He holds a B.A. in history from the University of Southern California and an M.A. and PhD from the University of Chicago’s History of Religions Program.

   209-369-7035
  sarac@lodinews.com
Sara Cardine has been a reporter for the daily newspaper the Lodi, CA, News-Sentinel for nearly two years. She covers the education and health beat, and, in July, was asked to also take on issues relevant to the Muslim community. Drawing on her past experience as an English/American Literature teacher at a university in Siberia, Sara relies on the sometimes rickety and vulnerable bridges that can be built between two different cultures when she talks to local Muslims in the aftermath of a federal terror investigation. She earned a bachelor's degree in Slavic Languages and Literature from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, in 1998 before deciding on a career path in journalism.

   317-278-1683
  ecurtis@email.unc.edu
Edward E. Curtis is Millennium Scholar of the Liberal Arts and associate professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.  He is a scholar of religion, race, and ethnicity; Islamic studies; and African American history.  The author of Islam in Black America (SUNY Press, 2002) and Islamization Nation: Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975 (under review), Curtis’ work has also appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Religion and American Culture, and Religion.  He is the recipient of several awards and grants, including a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at the National Humanities Center, a U.S. Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative Grant, and an Andrew Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies.  A native of Southern Illinois, Curtis holds a doctorate degree from the University of South Africa, a master’s in history from Washington University in St. Louis, and a B.A. in religion from Kenyon College.

  dmdakhil@aol.com
Dafer Dakhil is mosque director at USC's Omar Mosque.

   212-377-2700
  dewind@ssrc.org
Josh DeWind has been director of the Social Science Research Council’s International Migration Program since 1994. From 1989 to 2003 he was a professor of anthropology at Hunter College, City University of New York, where he initiated the college's Program on International Human Rights (1990-2003) and directed its Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program (1989-1999). He has published numerous books, reports, and articles related to migration. He co-edited with Charles Hirschman and Philip Kasinitz The Handbook of International Migration: The American Experience, (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999), which is a collection of interdisciplinary essays surveying the field of U.S. immigration studies based on a 1996 conference of the International Migration Program titled Becoming American/America Becoming. In addition, he is a board member of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights and was a founding board member of both the Center for Immigrants Rights and the National Immigration Forum. DeWind received his Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology of Columbia University.

   213-740-1907
  elguindi@usc.edu
Fadwa El-Guindi is director and research anthropologist at El Nil Research in Los Angeles.  Guindi has served on the anthropology faculties of UCLA, University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Southern California and Georgetown University, with her field research ranging from Nubia, to Mexico, to Egypt, to Islam, to Arab and Muslim America.  She is widely published and lectures internationally.  Her expertise on the Middle East was sought at a White House meeting with President Clinton, at the US Senate and by the media.  She is past president of the Middle East Section and earlier of the Society for Visual Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. She serves on the Editorial Board of a number of scholarly journals. Her recent book, now in its third printing, titled Veil: Modesty, Privacy and Resistance, has been translated into Indonesian and other languages.  Her new book, Visual Anthropology: Essential Method and Theory, has just been published.  Guindi earned her B.A. in Political Science from the American University in Cairo and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

   909-289-2876
  humanwrites@gmail.com
Mark Gonzales is a Hip Hop Theatre playwright, HBO Def Poet, performance lecturer. He has been commissioned to perform his productions for Cornell University, the Cali (IE) Hip Hop Theatre Festival, members of the United Nation, U.S. Congress, and conferences across the United States. Gonzales uses spoken word and hip-hop theatre to focus on elements of oppression from African and indigenous drums to drum tracks; from the West Coast to the West Bank; from private property to mural Marxists. His lecture, "Hip-Hop and Hegemony," uses spoken word and a turntable to give audio examples of how hip-hop has served and is serving as a tool of resistance, rebellion and enlightenment. In 2003, Gonzales traveled to Palestine to document firsthand the struggle of the Palestinians for social justice. From these writings and dialogues, he has compiled several performance pieces and a Hip-Hop Theatre play; the result is a daring and innovative way of promoting social justice through Hip-Hop culture.

   213-740-5374
  gualtier@usc.edu
Sarah Gualtieri holds a joint appointment in the Department of History and Program in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Her current research examines the history of Arab racial formation in the United States with a particular focus on the problematic of “whiteness.” Specifically, her work explores how Arabs came to be officially classified as “white” by the U.S. government, and how different Arab groups interpreted, accepted, or contested this racial classification over the course of the 20th century. She argues that shifting understandings of religion and gender were crucial in this process of racial formation. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, she taught at Loyola University New Orleans. Her articles and reviews are published in Arab Studies Quarterly, The Journal of American Ethnic History, The Journal of Religion, Radical History Review, and Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East, and lived in Damascus, Syria for two years studying Arabic and conducting research as a Fulbright scholar. Gualtieri completed her undergraduate studies at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, and received an M.A. in Middle East studies and doctorate in History from the University of Chicago.

   212-519-7811
  dhashad@aclu.org
Dalia Hashad is the Arab, Muslim, South Asian Advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union. Her position in the Campaign Against Racial Profiling focuses on issues facing Arab, Muslim and South Asian Americans in the wake of post-9/11 backlash. As an Egyptian-American Muslim, Hashad is intimately familiar with events, concerns, and tribulations in these communities. As a media spokesperson for the ACLU, Hashad has been a commentator on a wide variety of news outlets. Hashad’s work encompasses civil liberties advocacy and protection, the plight of detainees, community outreach and empowerment, and discrimination. She is a host of the grassroots radio show: Law and Disorder: The Civil Liberties Radio Hour. She was chairperson of CALPIRG, California’s largest environmental and consumer protection group, worked as a human rights advocate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and was a litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom. Hashad received her B.A. in Environmental Policy from the University of California at Berkeley, and her J.D. from the New York University School of Law.

  hielb@yahoo.com
Betsy Hiel has been the foreign correspondent for the Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune-Review for five years. She is based in Cairo, Egypt, and has reported from Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Hiel's reporting on the region won the national 2000 Edward Weintal Award for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. She also has won awards from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association-Keystone Press, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the United Muslim Association of Toledo and the Toledo Chapter of American Muslim Alliance, as well as a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism. Hiel covered the 2003 war in Iraq, crossing into that country through Turkey, then continued to report from Iraq throughout 2003 and 2004 -- including a series of stories on mass graves in Iraq. She reported on Israeli-Palestinian clashes that grew into the Intifada in 2000 and 2001. She also has written extensively about Arabs and Muslims in America, and her series of articles about Arab-Americans in Toledo, Ohio, is included in the Smithsonian Institution's Naff Arab-American Collection in the Museum of American History. She is co-author of the book "The Islamic Revival Since 1988: A Critical Survey and Annotated Bibliography," and was a contributor to the " Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World." She is proficient in written and spoken Arabic. She received a bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Minnesota and a master's degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University; she has studied at the American University in Cairo and Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

   310-338-5987
  ahussai1@lmu.edu
Amir Hussain is associate professor in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he teaches courses on world religions, specializing in the study of Islam, focusing on contemporary Muslim societies, specifically those in North America. Born in Pakistan, Hussain immigrated to Canada with his family when he was four. Before coming to California in 1997, Hussain taught courses in religious studies at several universities in Canada. He is active in academic groups such as the American Academy of Religion (where he is co-chair of the Religion, Film and Visual Culture group, and serves on the steering committee of the Study of Islam section) and the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, publishing and presenting his work at conferences. Hussain is also interested in areas such as religion and music, religion and literature, religion and film and religion and popular culture. Hussain is currently working on a textbook entitled Muslims: Islam in the 21st Century. His academic degrees are all from the University of Toronto where he received a number of awards, including the university’s highest award for alumni service. Hussain’s Ph.D. dissertation was on Muslim communities in Toronto.

  iwamura@usc.edu
Jane Iwamura

   734-763-4671
  sajackso@umich.edu
Sherman Jackson is a specialist in Islamic law and theology. He is currently a professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies and visiting professor of Law at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He received a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Oriental Studies in 1990 and has written many scholarly articles and books including:  Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihâb al-Dîn al-Qarâfî. Leiden: E.J. Brill Leiden, 1996. ; The Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam: Abû Hâmid al-Ghazâlî's Faysal al-Tafriqa Bayna al-Islam wa al-Zandaqa , Oxford University Press, 2002;  Islam And The Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection, Oxford University Press, 2005. He is a cofounder of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM). He is also a former member of the Fiqh Council of North America.

   (213) 740-9945
  martyk@usc.edu
Marty Kaplan is associate dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and director of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. He has been a White House speechwriter; a Washington journalist; a deputy presidential campaign manager; a Disney studio executive; a motion picture and television producer and screenwriter; and a radio host. He was a program officer at the Aspen Institute; executive assistant to U.S. Commissioner of Education Ernest L. Boyer; chief speechwriter to Vice President Walter F. Mondale; deputy op-ed editor and columnist for the Washington Star; visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution; and a regular commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and on the CBS Morning News. As deputy campaign manager of the Mondale presidential race, he was in charge of policy, speechwriting, issues, and research. He was host of So What Else Is News?, a nationally-syndicated program on Air America Radio, which examines media, politics and pop culture. He has also been a regular commentator on the business of entertainment on the public radio program Marketplace. At USC he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Media & Politics, Campaign Communication, and Entertainment, and Communication & Society. He is principal investigator of a project monitoring television news coverage of political campaigns. He graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude in molecular biology. As a Marshall Scholar, he received a First in English from Cambridge University in England and as a Danforth Fellow, he received a Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University.

  tamarack@kpcc.org
Tamara Keith is state capitol reporter for KPCC radio and has been working in public radio since the mid-1990's. Before joining KPCC, she was the Central Valley correspondent for KQED's The California Report, and reported for WOSU in Columbus, OH. She has also freelanced for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, and other national programs. Keith began her radio career at 15, when she became a regular essayist for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday. After hours, Keith is Senior Producer of B-Side, a monthly radio magazine on KALX in Berkeley. She has a B.A. in Philosophy and a Master's Degree in Journalism from UC Berkeley.

  sabiha@cair.com
Sabiha Khan is communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Southern California. As a spokeswoman for the Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Khan works on providing media with accurate information about Islam and Muslim. She works with various media organizations to correct and inform various American media outlets about Muslims and Islam.  She has been quoted and interviewed by various newspapers, television and radio outlets, such as The Los Angeles Times, The Orange County Register, CNN, and FOX. She has been a consultant to various television and movie projects including NYPD Blue. She helps media professionals with their stories on a daily basis by providing story ideas and referring to the correct people in the community.  She has also supervised and led various projects such as the Billboard Campaign and the Ramadan Radio Advertisements designed to bridge the gap of understanding between Muslims and their neighbors. She has a Bachelors Degree from the University of California, Irvine in Psychology and Social Behavior.

   213-383-3443
  communications@mpac.org
Edina Lekovic is communication director to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, acting as a national spokesperson for the American Muslim community to media outlets, government officials, interfaith leaders, academic institutions, and community groups. Lekovic has appeared in national television media, including CNN, BBC, and the History Channel. Her work has also been featured in several leading newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal , Washington Times , Associated Press , Chicago Tribune , and Los Angeles Times .   Lekovic has also participated in numerous national and international conferences and interfaith dialogues speaking on a variety of issues related to American Muslims. In December 2004, she represented MPAC at a United Nations seminar, entitled “Confronting Islamophobia.” In 2003, she was invited by the Malaysian government to be one of two U.S. representatives at the International Conference of Muslim Young Leaders, which served as a precursor to the annual conference of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).

   949-839-5134
  kbleonar@orion.oac.uci.edu
Karen Leonard is a historian and anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine. She has published on the social history and anthropology of India and on Punjabi Mexican Americans, South Asian Americans, and Muslim Americans. Currently, she is finishing a multi-site ethnography on the construction of identity in the diaspora by emigrants from Hyderabad, India, settling in Pakistan, Britain, Canada, the US, Australia, and the Gulf states of the Middle East. Her most recent book, Muslims in the United States, is an extended bibliographic essay relating Muslim Americans to the changing religious, social and political landscape in America. Leonard's other books are: Social History of an Indian Caste: the Kayasths of Hyderabad (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978); Making Ethnic Choices: California's Punjabi Mexican Americans (Philadelphia: Temple University Press); South Asian Americans (Westport Conn.: Greenwood Press, The New Americans series, 1997); Muslims in the United States: the State of Research (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2003); and, forthcoming, Locating Home: India's Hyderabadis Abroad. Her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin was in the history of India.

  mlevine@uci.edu
Mark LeVine is associate professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture and Islamic Studies at University of California at Irvine. He is the author and editor of half a dozen books, including: Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil (Oneworld Publications), Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948 (UC Press), Religion, Social Practices and Contested Hegemonies: Reconstructing the Public Sphere in Muslim Majority Societies (Palgrave Press), Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation (Perceval Press), and An Impossible Peace: Oslo and the Burdens of History (Zed Books, forthcoming). He has written for the Los Angeles Times, Le Monde, the Christian Science Monitor and numerous other publications, including as contributing editor at Tikkun magazine, and has traveled widely across the Middle East and North Africa, including regular trips to Israel/Paletine, Lebanon and Iraq. As a musician he has worked with Mick Jagger, Dr. John, Johnny Copeland, Moroccan gnawa/world music artist Hassan Hakmoun, Lebanese rock band The Kordz, Tunisian rai-hiphop artist, MC Rai, and most recently on the Grammy-award winning album Street Signs by Ozomatli.

   415-760-5261
  Lobertini@kpix.cbs.com
John Lobertini is the Sacramento Bureau Chief for KPIX-TV whose primary responsibility is covering the governor’s office. He is a six-time Emmy Award nominee and two-time Emmy winner (Investigative Reporting & Reporter of the Year). He also has won awards for Spot News Coverage, Feature, and Series Reporting.  His 23-year career has included coverage of tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, base closures, wildland fires, the energy crisis, the Polly Klass kidnapping and murder, the Republican National Convention in NYC, the Oakland Super Bowl riots and more.

  mary.macvean@latimes.com
Mary MacVean is an editor in the California section of The Los Angeles Times. She has also worked at the Associated Press, where she was a national editor and a food writer. She has been a freelance correspondent in Moscow and has edited cookbooks. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and attended the New York Cooking School.

  kamalmarayati@mac.com
Kamal Marayati is an actor and comedian. He was born in Baghdad, Iraq. His parents migrated to America when he was two years old. His film appearances include: The War Within (directed by Joseph Castelo); The Terminal (directed by Steven Spielberg); After the Sunset (directed by Brett Ratner); Power Hungry (directed by Chuck Bowmen); and Honey (directed by David Ball). Among his television credits are: 7th Heaven, Homeland Security, Alias, Family Affair, Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He has an MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School and is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio.

Vikki Porter is the director of the Western Knight Center.

  saaqibr@yahoo.com
Saaqib Rangoonwala is news editor at KFWB News 980, and Editorial Board Member as well as regular contributor for InFocus, the largest American Muslim newspaper in Southern California. Rangoonwala joined KFWB, an Infinity/CBS owned-and-operated station, in July 1999 as a news production assistant. The move came after three and one-half years at the independently owned Mt. Wilson Broadcasting Company. There, he contributed to three different stations in a number of capacities, working in the news, promotions, and public service departments.

   213-740-0270
  meganrei@usc.edu
Meagan Reid is assistant professor of Islam in the School of Religion at the University of Southern California. A cultural historian, she focuses on Islamic law and ethics with particular emphasis on the way in which individual legal thinkers and theologians have responded to the needs of their communities over the centuries. She is currently preparing for publication a book which examines shifting conceptions of piety in medieval Islam and is researching an article on the first African American pilgrims to Mecca in the 1930s. Her research interests also include Muslims in Europe and Islamic law in the west. At USC, Reid teaches a variety of courses, including Introduction to Islam, History of Islamic Law, Women and the Islamic Tradition and a course on Sufi literature. Since 1985, she has worked with local Muslim and Arab communities in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. She received her Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton and also holds an M.A. in Religion from Princeton and an M.A. in Islamic Studies from UCLA.

  frank.marchesini@showtime.net
Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris have been partners as writers and executive producers for many years. Their work includes “Bulletproof Monk,” produced by John Woo. They co-wrote the upcoming animated film “Master P: Kung Fu Panda” for DreamWorks, the MGM feature “Fireflies,” and created/executive produced the series “Brimstone” for Fox Broadcasting. Reiff and Voris have been writing together since 1987. Though they never met there, Reiff and Voris both attended NYU. They met at a graduation party thrown by a mutual friend, where they learned each was completing feature-length screenplays. They agreed to meet again and swap finished scripts, which they did at a Mets-Reds game, leading to their long-term collaboration from their base in Los Angeles.

  nroumani@cceia.org
Nadia Roumani is a research associate for the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture, conducting a research project examining the identities of Muslim-American Young Adults and Muslim congregations in the U.S. that appeal to their distinct interests. She is currently consulting on several projects focusing on Muslim communities in America. Roumani also works as a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs in New York City, where she directs the Global Policy Innovations Project and oversees the Carnegie Young Leaders Program. GPI explores the influence of globalization on economic policy and democratic deliberation. Funded by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, GPI seeks to promote viable alternative economic and social policy choices for promoting human development around the world. Prior to joining CCEIA, Roumani was the assistant director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a project housed at Columbia University and directed by 2001 Economic Nobel Laureate, Joseph Stiglitz. While with IPD, she managed eight country policy dialogues in the Philippines, Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Moldova, and Serbia. Prior to launching IPD in June of 2000, Roumani worked at the World Bank as a Junior Associate in Stiglitz's office, researching and editing speeches and papers. Nadia has consulted for the UNDP in Syria, International Medical Corps, Ashoka – Innovators for the Public, the Global Development Network, the Brookings Institution, and USAID. Roumani has consulted for several foundation including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Ford Foundation. Her Master’s degree is from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and her Bachelor’s degree in economics and international affairs from Stanford University.

   609-258-4556
  crouse@princeton.edu
Carolyn Rouse is an assistant professor of Anthropology and also teaches in the Program in African-American Studies at Princeton University. She has done extensive fieldwork with African American converts to Sunni Islam, and with the sickle cell disease community. In addition, she has produced, directed, and/or edited a number of documentaries including Chicks in White Satin (1994), a film about a lesbian wedding; and Purification to Prozac: Treating Mental Illness in Bali (1998). She is the author of Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam (2004) and Uncertain Suffering: Racial Healthcare Disparities and Sickle Cell Disease (forthcoming).  Currently she is co-writing a book entitled Televised Redemption: The Media Production of Black Jews, Christians and Muslims. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

  civilrightsforall@sbcglobal.net
Agha Saeed is a lecturer in the Communications and Political Science departments at University of California Berkeley and California State University Hayward.  He is also the National Chairman of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), a civic education and leadership training organization. Saeed is also the current coordinator of the California Civil Rights Alliance (CCRA), a coalition of 23 statewide organizations of various political, social and religious backgrounds.  The CCRA was instrumental in the introduction of this year’s statewide resolution calling for the amending of the USA PATRIOT act.  In 2000 and 2004, Saeed was involved in the creation of a first and second Muslim Bloc vote.  He is the current chair of the national coalition of Muslim organizations known as the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), which was accountable for the 2004 Muslim Bloc vote.  For his forthcoming book, entitled Pakistan in its Own Mirror: Elite Autobiographies and National Conciousness, Saeed interviewed more than 40 authors, thinkers and leaders in Pakistan, including the current president, General Pervaiz Musharraf. Saeed received his Ph.D. from the University of California – Berkeley.

   213-740-3624
  sanasari@almaak.usc.edu
Eliz Sanasarian is professor of political science at the University of Southern California and considered one of the foremost authorities on Iranian politics, minorities, and women in the Islamic world. In addition to serving in different capacities at various scholarly organizations, she is consulted widely by public and private institutions in and outside the United States. She was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and has received several awards at USC in the areas of teaching and research. Her publications have appeared in various journals including the Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Diaspora, and Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. She is the author of two books: The Women's Rights Movement in Iran and Religious Minorities in Iran. She received her B.A. from Findlay College, her M.A. and her Ph.D. in Political Science from State University of New York, Buffalo.

  naimshahjr@msn.com
Naim Shah Jr. is co-founder of the ILM Foundation, a faith-based non-profit organization whose mission is to “Teach Life Skills to Replace Social Ills” (ILM stands for Intellect, Love and Mercy). Before founding ILM in 1998, Shah was a tax and audit consultant for Arthur Andersen & Co. After four years of the corporate world and becoming more devoted to Islam through study and community service, he left to focus on the foundation’s programs including: Eat Right To Think Right Free Food Program, Partnerships for Humanities Interfaith Program and Go Beyond the G.A.M.E. Youth Academic Incentive Program. He has more than 10 years community service experience, including serving as the treasurer of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, which consist of over 60 Islamic Centers, Masajids and Muslim organizations in Southern California, serving thousands of Muslim communities. Shah is also the Operations Director of the Coalition to Preserve Human Dignity, which hosts the largest annual Muslim “ Humanitarian Day for the Homeless.” He also is chairman of the Board of Directors of Masjid Ibaadillah and also the assistant Imam for the past 10 years under Resident Imam (Religious Leader) of Masjid Ibaadillah, Imam Saadiq Saafir. Recently Shah joined the Board of Directors of UMMA Community Clinic and is Chair of the Finance Committee. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Fresno State University.

  frank.marchesini@showtime.net
Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff have been partners as writers and executive producers for many years. Their work includes “Bulletproof Monk,” produced by John Woo. They co-wrote the upcoming animated film “Master P: Kung Fu Panda” for DreamWorks, the MGM feature “Fireflies,” and created/executive produced the series “Brimstone” for Fox Broadcasting. Reiff and Voris have been writing together since 1987. Though they never met there, Reiff and Voris both attended NYU. They met at a graduation party thrown by a mutual friend, where they learned each was completing feature-length screenplays. They agreed to meet again and swap finished scripts, which they did at a Mets-Reds game, leading to their long-term collaboration from their base in Los Angeles.

   213-237-7325
  Teresa.Watanabe@latimes.com
Teresa Watanabe is a staff writer with the Los Angeles Times currently covering ethnic and immigrant communities. She joined the Times in 1989 and worked as a Pacific Rim business reporter, Tokyo bureau chief and religion writer before moving to her current assignment this year. During her seven years on the religion beat, she took a particular interest in Islam and other minority faith traditions. Before joining the Times, Watanabe worked at the San Jose Mercury News covering Asia and the Pacific Rim, national affairs, state government and politics, general Southern California news and education. She also worked as an editorial writer for the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner. A Seattle native, Watanabe attended the University of Washington and Waseda University in Tokyo before graduating from University of Southern California with dual undergraduate degrees in journalism and in East Asian Languages and Culture.

   (213) 821-5388
  dianewin@usc.edu
Diane Winston has worked as a reporter for several of the nation's leading newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald and The News and Observer in Raleigh, N.C. She is the author of Red-Hot and Righteous: The Urban Religion of the Salvation Army (1999) and co-editor of Faith in the Market: Religion and the Rise of Urban Commercial Culture (2002) and writes the Faith Front column for the Los Angeles Times. She has directed religion and media projects at New York University and Northwestern University. Currently, she is the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at USC's Annenberg School for Communication. She holds an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University.

Janelle Wong is assistant professor, Political Science and American Studies at USC.

   202-547-7701
  nationaldirector@mpac.org
Ahmed Younis is national director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington, D.C. Before joining MPAC, he interned at the Office of the Legal Counsel of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations and was assigned to the Office of the Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Iraq. Younis has studied extensively in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and is the author of American Muslims: Voir Dire (Speak the Truth), a post-September 11 look into the reality of debate surrounding American Muslims and their country, a publication that has gained popularity in cities in the Muslim world since its translation into Arabic. He has made guest appearances on numerous television and radio shows, including Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Dayside with Linda Vester,” “The Alan Colmes Show,” “Heartland with John Kasich,” and Fox News Live; PBS’s “The Fred Friendly Seminars;” the Trinity Broadcasting Networks; Sinclair Broadcasting; and “Talk of the City” with KPCC’s Larry Mantel. Since joining MPAC, Younis’ work has also been featured in several leading newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Associated Press, Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. Younis is a regular speaker in government conferences and events on topics such as terrorist financing, public diplomacy and issues affecting the Muslim American community. He is a graduate of Washington & Lee School of Law.

   323-842-2869
  ani@a-n-i.net
Zuriani "Ani" Zonneveld is a writer, a producer, a singer, a speaker, an activist and a Muslim. She is a board member of the Progressive Muslim Union (www.pmuna.org), an ICUJP (www.icujp.org) sponsor, and advocate for human rights in Islam. Born in Malaysia, Zonneveld’s youth was spent in such places as Germany, Egypt and India, thanks to her ambassador father. This influenced her outlook of life, politics, religion and culture. As a songwriter and producer, she has worked with many different artists with releases in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Germany, the U.K., Japan, and the U.S. Her work in Malaysia resulted in an Album of the Year award at the AIMM which is the Malaysian equivalent of the Grammy. She also contributed a song to Keb’Mo’s album “Keep It Simple,” which helped him win a Grammy (2005) in the Contemporary Blues category, a song for the Grammy nominated album “Big Wide Grin” (2003) performed by Grammy winners Keb’Mo’ and Brenda Russell, and to Melissa Manchester’s latest release called “Thank You For Your Faith In Me”. Recently Zonneveld contributed three songs for Japanese artist Yuki. Her album ‘Joy’ was at #1 for several weeks. Zonneveld has strived to blend the worlds of music and social activism into one. She speaks and sings about social justice, her angst against violations of human rights, and peace, from a Muslim’s perspective. “Ummah Wake Up” is an Islamic pop album focusing on the need for Muslims to seek out the real Qur’anic teachings, the Middle Path. “One” is an interfaith album, born as a result of her love for the many faiths and the realization that we are truly one humanity. Through her activism, Zonneveld hopes these projects will show there is an alternative face to Islam.

 
What fellows have to say about past seminars:
"The presenters, especially the demographers, were very impressive. The demographers all had great credentials and certainly delivered outstanding material. The sessions, I hope, will greatly improve the work that my colleagues and I will be able to do with future Census releases. I will strongly recommend for colleagues to apply to appropriate conferences in the future. The repeated emphasis on going beyond summary numbers to examine the underlying dynamic was valuable as a way to start thinking more deeply about stories coming from the numbers."
- Todd Nelson, St. Paul Pioneer Press
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