Convention Speakers

Geneive Abdo 

Geneive Abdo directs the Iran Program at The Century Foundation, where she focuses on political developments inside Iran and its relevance to policymakers in the West. In addition to authoring “Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11,” she served as the liaison for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, a project created by the U.N. Secretary General to improve relations between Western and Islamic societies. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks highly of Abdo's work and the her contribution to the post-9/11 world.

“Geneive Abdo’s work captures in great detail the immense hardships Muslims face in the post-September 11th world and offers hope for their success and co-existence in America. Her book shatters stereotypes about Muslims and teaches us that more understanding of Islam is needed for global peace.” 

Wajahat Ali

Wajahat Ali is a researcher at the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the CAP Action Fund. He recently co-authored a 2011 CAP report, "Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America," that takes an intensive look at the $40 million industry of Islamophobia in America. He is also a playwright, journalist, attorney, humorist and blogger. His play, “The Domestic Crusaders," is one of the first major dramatic plays about the Muslim American experience of living in a post 9/11 America, which broke box office records at the famous Nuyorican Poets Café.

Jasser Auda 

Jasser Auda is an Associate Professor at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, with the Public Policy in Islam Program. He is a founding member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, based in Dublin; a member of the Academic Board of the International Institute of Islamic Thought in London; and a fellow of the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics in Canada. He has lectured on Islamic law, its philosophy and its relation to the issues of Muslim minorities and policy in a couple dozen countries around the world. 

Jerrold Green

Jerrold Green is the President and CEO of the Pacific Council on International Policy and a research professor of Communications and Business at the University of Southern CaliforniaHe previously served in a multitude of positions at the RAND Corporation, including Senior Adviser for the Middle East and South Asia and the Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy.  

Dr. Maher Hathout

Dr. Maher Hathout is a leading spokesperson for the Muslim American community and is a retired physician best known for his tireless commitment to public service. As MPAC's co-founder and Senior Adviser, he has advised multiple administrations on Islam, Muslim Americans and the Muslim world. He is also the author of “In Pursuit of Justice: The Jurisprudence of Human Rights in Islam” and “Jihad vs. Terrorism.” 

Haroon Moghul

Haroon Moghul is an Associate Editor at Religion Dispatches, a Senior Editor for The Islamic Monthly and a Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, focusing on Islamic political thought in India. His first novel, “The Order of Light,” narrates the life story of a young Muslim caught between competing identities. Moghul has spoken across the U.S. and internationally on Islamic culture, contemporary politics in the Muslim world and radicalism and religious identity.  

Manal Omar

Manal Omar serves as the Director of Iraq, Iran and North African programs under the Center for Post-conflict Peace and Stability Operations at the United States Institute of Peace. She may best be known by her riveting memoir, “Barefoot in Baghdad,” which poignantly tells the story of her experiences in war-torn Iraq in 2003. She has also been named one of the Top 500 World’s Most Influential Arabs by Arabia Business Power, one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by Georgetown University and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre and one of the 10 young visionaries shaping Islam in America by Islamica Magazine. 

Yasir Qadhi

Yasir Qadhi is a Muslim American writer and active Instructor at the Al-Maghrib Institute. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in Hadith studies from the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia, he is currently completing his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies atYale University. He appears on a number of Islamic satellite channels (Islam Channel in England, Al-Huda Channel in Saudi Arabia and Al-Fajr Channels in Egypt), where he teaches theology, seerah, tajweed and other topics. 

Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool

Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool is South Africa’s Ambassador to the U.S. Before joining the Embassy, he served as a Member of Parliament in the National Assembly, Special Adviser to the State President of the Republic of South Africa and Premier (governor of the Western Cape Province). His involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle began in his adolescence and took him to leadership roles in the United Democratic Front and the African National Congress. As a result, he was incarcerated in prison and house arrest.

Stephen Rohde

Stephen Rohde is a constitutional lawyer, lecturer, writer and political activist. He is the Chairperson the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Founder and President of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, Vice Chairperson of the Progressive Jewish Alliance/Jewish Funds for Justice and a Vice President of Death Penalty Focus. He is also a past president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Rohde is the author of "American Words of Freedom," which explores the origins, history and meaning of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. His most recent book is "Freedom of Assembly" which is part of the American Rights Series. He is also co-author of "Foundations of Freedom" published by the Constitutional Rights Foundation and has written numerous articles and book reviews on civil liberties and constitutional history. 

Joe Stork

Joe Stork is the Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division and is an expert on human rights issues involving religion. Stork co-founded the Middle East Research and Information Project and served as chief editor of Middle East Report, its bimonthly magazine. Author of numerous books and widely published articles on the Middle East, he has lectured widely at universities and public forums around the world. Stork served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkey and holds a master’s degree in International Affairs/Middle East Studies from Columbia University.

Cornel West

Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion at Princeton University, in addition to his work as an essayist, public speaker and social activist. Best known for his classic "Race Matters," "Democracy Matters" and his recent memoir, "Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud," West is a frequent guest on "The Bill Maher Show," "The Colbert Report," CNN and C-SPAN, as well as on Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV Show. He is a thoughtful and thought-provoking leader with a long legacy of activism, justice and prominence in American culture and civil rights.

Ahmed Younis

Ahmed Younis is a Senior Consultant with Gallup and a Senior Analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center. Named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by Georgetown University and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, he is the author of “American Muslims: Voir Dire [Speak the Truth].” As part of his Gallup portfolio, from January 2009 to June 2011, Younis served as director of Strategic Partnership and Communications for Silatech. Silatech’s goal is to promote comprehensive job creation in North Africa and the Middle East.

James Zogby

 James Zogby is the Founder and President of the Arab American Institute in Washington, DC, as well as the author of “Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why it Matters." Zogby has advised five U.S. administrations, testified before U.S. House and Senate committees, has been guest speaker on a number of occasions in the Secretary’s Open Forum at the U.S. Department of State and has addressed the United Nations and other international forums. 

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