This year at Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York’s 31st Anniversary Banquet at the New York LaGuardia Airport Marriott, we held our 2nd Annual Awards Ceremony for Muslim/ah New Yorker of the Year. Since last year, we have decided to recognize the hard work and achievements of Muslims exhibiting principled leadership by working towards the improvement of their community.
Each year, we open up nomination forms to the community-at-large to submit the names of individuals who they feel have made significant impacts to their community. As an organization, we believe in democratic methods of celebrating our community leaders. Once nominations are submitted, we open up voting to the public to select the nominee they believe best deserves to be recognized for their hard work.
Alhamdulillah this year, we have received a pool of brilliant and talented Muslims, Muslimahs, and youth who have made the New York Muslim Community proud. After a close race, Majlis Ash-Shura of New York is proud to recognize the following individuals as 2019’s New Yorkers of the Year. We extend our utmost congratulations to our winners this year! We at Shura New York believe that all of the nominees are true testaments to Muslim leadership, and prays for the continued success of everyone who exhibits qualities of compassion, selflessness, and justice.
Muslimah New Yorker of the Year: Aisha Farahat
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).
Muslim New Yorker of the Year: Mazin Khalil
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 New Yorker of the Year: Abdullah Akl
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.