Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York will be celebrating it’s 31st Anniversary Banquet with its second annual award ceremony to celebrate impressive Muslim New Yorkers who have dedicated time to serving their community. Help us in recognizing our committed leaders by nominating individuals who deserve appreciation for their extraordinary work.  Awards include Muslim New Yorker of the Year, Muslimah New Yorker of the Year, and Young New Yorker. We will celebrate their achievements during the banquet on Saturday, February 22nd. 

Nominations for all awards must be submitted by Monday, February 3rd. Finalists will be selected, and voting will be open from February 11-18 . Awardees will be announced on the day of the banquet, February 22nd.

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Please review the bios of our nominees and vote using the form below.

Bios of Our Nominees

Muslimah New Yorker of the Year

Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair and Executive Director of the Civic Engagement Commission, is a Bronx resident and has been dedicated to building an inclusive public square for almost two decades. She comes to this role after having served for nearly four years as a Senior Advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio in Community Affairs, promoting civic engagement among diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual Muslim New Yorkers. Prior to this, she worked for over seven years at the Interfaith Center of New York, bringing together New York’s diverse grassroots religious leaders with secular and city agencies, and implementing an extended collaboration between Catholic and Muslim social service providers. Sayeed also taught Communications to graduates and undergraduates at Baruch’s School of Public Affairs for five years. Through her years of volunteer work with diverse Muslim organizations, including Women in Islam, Inc., she has been an avid promoter of interfaith relations and Muslim women’s public engagement. Sarah holds a B.A. in Sociology and Near East Studies from Princeton University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Communications from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a certificate in Reconciliation Leadership through the Institute for Global Leadership and is an alumna of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI) Fellows program.

Sana Qutubuddin’s efforts to advance the access to education for the Indian Muslim community  go back 15 years as she worked to build collaboration between Muslim NGOS in India with American Muslims to build a series of community centers that provide space for daily wage laborers the opportunity to learn how to read supported with childcare. As this initial campaign became successful, she focused the center’s efforts on how to train adults in technical skills such as driving and sewing. Today the centers offer a wide-range of support services and an essential meeting space for communities to come together to decide what are the best course of actions to take to advance the plight of their communities. Over the years she has spent time in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh and Gawahati, Assam where Muslims have been mass-murdered to meet with Muslims impacted by the violence and Muslim justice organizations to provide education, recreational sports activities and opportunities for artistic engagement  to students that were cut off from schools for long periods of time as their families were displaced from their homes. After the lynching of Muhammad Akhlaq on the suspicion of eating beef in Uttar Pradesh, India, Qutubuddin, lead protest organizing efforts in Chicago, New York, DC, Indianapolis, Anne Arbor and Boston. It was then that she joined the Indian American Muslim Council and soon was involved as the Muslim lead amongst the South Asian Histories For All Coalition, in the fight against Hindutva’s encroaching force on Islamophobic inaccurate assertions in US textbook curriculum. She led the Muslim effort to remove Islamophobic assertions in US textbook curriculum along with a committed team of Indian American Muslim Council members. She has organized local and national protests and teach-ins about the role of Hindutva nationalism and murderous campaigns against Muslims in India as well as suppressing the legitimization of Muslim civic groups in the U.S including educating lawmakers and civic society groups.

Najla Khass feels a hurting heart and strives to be the lending hand. Her kind gestures can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. Back in the ‘80s, Najla migrated to the USA and has since been driven to help refugees. For the refugee community she has been a friend, lending ear, and a guide to live the life they came here for. Through her innovative and unique approach guiding refugees, she ensures that the families reach their mission to love a wonderful life in America. Along with her independent work with the refugees , she worked with numerous 501-c3 organizations in her community. Najla ensures that each project and fundraiser are well researched and that all of her sources get the opportunity to give to the community. Wanting to pay forward what she received as an immigrant she shares her stories with her own teenage kids and for that they too have grown passion to be part of her mission. Currently Najla is working to collaborate with other religious communities to achieve unity with our youth. Her achievements are endless and priceless. Being a lending hand is an achievement in her eyes.

Aisha Farahat, a New York Muslimah whose contributions and prominence extend across the NYC boroughs, is a mother, a mentor, an activist, and a philanthropist.  She co-founded the MAS Islamic Academy of Staten Island in the year 2011, and continues to organize major community events such as: the Annual Quran Competition, the Hadith Competition, the Salah Workshop, and Hajj Workshop. These programs have included thousands of Muslims from the NY and NJ areas. Moreover, she is not limited to helping her community on a professional level – her personal dealings with community members have proven to be phenomenally generous and of service.  She promotes all Muslim entrepreneurs by giving them a chance to market their talents through her programs; she dedicates a lot of her personal time to her community members – whether it be for personal work or communal charity and she is most known for her embodiment of good character as taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). 

Iqra Tanveer aims to be a role model for young Muslims, especially women, and tries to lead by example. She is passionate about helping and uniting her communities. Iqra is one of the founders of MusCare—a nonprofit organization started in 2016 and which currently has over 17k Facebook members. She is known for creating the Donate A Dollar Project that has helped many families in need since the start of 2017. Iqra has taken the lead on finding causes to assist with, and works diligently to aid Muslims both locally and internationally. Her most recent work consists of raising funds for wells in numerous villages in Nigeria and for the construction of a school in Africa. Aside from being a leading contributor to MusCare, Iqra owns and operates Best Score, which is a conglomerate of learning centers in Queens and Long Island that provides quality tutoring service and enrichment programs. She has hosted career workshops, mental health certification courses, CPR and first aid courses, and many other workshops. Iqra works tirelessly to involve the youth in her community because she believes that investing in them is an investment in our Ummah.

Tusha Diaz In 2012 Tusha started Latino Muslims of New York which engages in multiple efforts of providing social services and dawah activities. Her organization feeds the homeless weekly, engages in street dawah, and recently came back from a relief mission to Puerto Rico. She and her organization hosts a monthly dinner called “Unity” throughout different boroughs to unite the community, hear their needs, and advocate for their local concerns.

Muslim New Yorker of the Year

Mufty Luthfur Rahman Qasimy has led efforts to establish the ‘United Ulama Council of USA’. From the inauguration of this council, he has served as the president. Under his supervision, the six floored Islamic Centre Tower in New York’s Manhattan was built. After the establishment of this organization in 2004, he has served as the organization’s general secretary.   Mufty Qasimy is an Imam, Khateeb, Islamic preacher, Interfaith scholar and a prominent media personality. He was the headmaster of Safa Islamic Center,  the head Mufti in New York’s Madani Academy, and taught in New York’s Al Amin Islamic center. He also served as the Senior Mufti in Iftah Board International, Chief Editor in Majlisul Ulama USA’s research team, Global Television ITV USA’s senior adviser and New York State’s Chaplain. Along with all these important responsibilities, he has served as New York City’s registered Qadi and remains active for the Bangladeshi community. Additionally, Mufty Luthfur Rahman Qasimy is involved in Bangladesh Society, Jalalabad Association, Biswanath Immigrant Welfare Society Inc., ICNA, ISNA, CAIR, and others.

Kevin Shakil is the co founder of America’s Islamic radio, the first Islamic radio station based out of the United States and in NY. The radio station gives a voice to Muslims living in America a platform to show the world what Muslims in America are doing. His goal is to show how Islam is a religion of peace and love to those who do not understand the religion. He is also a founding member of an organization called Empowering Young Professionals of Long Island, a group that empowers young professionals to attain success and give back to the community. EYPLI was at the forefront of getting the driving license bill passed for undocumented residents in NY. This group is currently working on a relief mission to Puerto Ricans who have been affected by the recent earthquake. The radio station and EYPLI will be traveling to Puerto Rico the last week of February to continue providing  goods and services, and showing how Muslims are on the forefront to help our fellow Americans in their time of need.

Kefah Elabed is the Founder and Director of The Servants Promise, a global charitable organization established to serve and uplift disadvantaged communities worldwide by assisting with food, medicine, education, and job training.  The Servants Promise is responsible for building  hundreds of water wells, feeding thousands of people, and the building of mosques and schools in impoverished areas throughout Pakistan, Morocco, and Palestine. He is also the cofounder of the American Muslims for Palestine NJ Chapter and has served on the executive board of the North Hudson Islamic Center.

Mazin Khalil is a Sudanese-American who has been active in his community and in the realm of activism. As a high school student, he founded a non-profit organization with the hopes of getting young, black men off of the streets, working as a support system for each other, graduating and going to college. While New York City’s graduation rate is only 56% for young black males’, Mazin’s organization, the Sophisticated, Worthy, And Gifted Gentlemen (SWAGG) has had a 100% graduation rate and college acceptance rate since its founding in 2009. Mazin’s activism extends to many places including the struggle for Palestine, combating Islamophobia, and his most recent work has featured him co-founding and creating two non-profit organizations, Sudanese-Americans for Non-Violent Demonstrations (SAND) and the Sudanese Youth Network (SYN), to connect the Sudanese diaspora at large with what it means to be Sudanese and to aid in the Sudanese Revolution. Mazin has planned countless protests in numerous cities including the February and March protests for Sudan in DC, the January protests, April 6th and June 6th protests in New York, and has sat on several panels elaborating on the Sudanese Revolution. A graduate student pursuing his second Master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration Epidemiology and Biostatistics and an aspiring physician by night and an executive director of two non-profits by day, Mazin’s ultimate goal is to make the world a better through his activism and public health/healthcare work.

Young Muslim New Yorker of the Year

Ahmad Sleiman helped kickstart the ongoing youth program in the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge (ISBR) in 2018, which is currently led by Mohammed Aljahmi. A year later, he was elevated to the coordinator of YM Brooklyn, a Neighbornet that is a part of Young Muslims and that is currently held in Masjid Quba. In this role, Ahmad hoped to inspire the youth in the Midwood area by: organizing weekly halaqas, developing core team members, running local basketball tournaments, and collaborating with other neighbornets. His proudest achievement, however, was assisting vital parts of the Brooklyn community such as Muslim Community Patrol and Services (MCPS) as well as ICNA Relief. Through his leadership, YM Brooklyn was able to get over 20 YM members to participate in activities such as feeding the hungry with MCPS and Back2School Giveaways with ICNA Relief. On a bigger scale, he was also the YMNY finance lead. Ahmad is a Senior in Brooklyn College and is looking to earn his Bachelor’s in Finance. In addition, he is the present YM coordinator of the New York region.

Abdullah Akl is a highschool senior that currently resides in Staten Island and attends Al-Noor School in Brooklyn. Abdullah volunteers for the Muslim American Society(MAS) at a local level, in Staten Island with the youth department. In addition, Abdullah is a committee member on the MAS National Youth Team. A great opportunity opened up for him in October of 2019 and allowed him to travel with UNICEF to Germany for the Child Friendly Cities Initiative Summit as the US’s first Youth Ambassador ever. Additionally, he was the first to lead the opening ceremony at the CFCI Global Summit, and has participated in panels to amplify concerns of youth participation in decision-making in NYC. After returning from his trip, he has made one of his top goals to make Brooklyn the first child friendly city.

Almas Shafiq Born in Pakistan and raised in Brooklyn, Almas brings with her 6.5 years of serving Muslim children as an educator. She has taught in Islamic subjects such as the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), Prophetic stories, and how to pray salah. One of Almas’s contributions to the Muslim community include leading voter registration drives, registering over 100 community members. In addition, she is known to be a strong mental health advocate in the Muslim community. She has provided Mental Health First Aid not only to Muslim adults, but also to Muslim youth. Almas has managed caseloads of clients with mental health needs by providing social services. She has also served as a strong advocate for blind high school students and college students needs. Moreover, Almas has aided leading and organizing youth halaqas for young adult women in addition to teaching salah to Muslim reverts. She has taken initiative in organizing fundraisers to buy Islamic books for her low-income students to make an Islamic education accessible to them. She has also organized fundraisers to aid her friends undergoing health problems, as well as honoring the legacy of her deceased relatives by collecting funds for charity. Some causes that Almas is highly passionate about are sponsoring orphans, feeding the needy, and educating all.

Some organizations Ms. Shafiq has strong affiliations with include, but are not limited to, Helping Hands for Relief and Development, Islamic Relief, Muslims Giving Back, Charity Week, Pearls of Hope Inc., Muslim American Society, Islamic Circle of North America, AlMaghrib Institute, and Muslims Thrive.  Almas is currently completing her teaching residency serving over 80 students in ICT classrooms. She is being trained to become a highly effective special education teacher serving students with the highest needs in the most academically diverse classrooms. She was handpicked by the prestigious teaching program, the New York City Teaching Collaborative, recognized by the New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers. As Ms. Shafiq completes her Master’s of Science in Adolescent Special Education at Pace University, she keeps her community in mind – thinking of ways to incorporate her professional knowledge into Muslim spaces so that Islamic education is accessible for all.