2014 Banquet Speakers
Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor?s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best ?Blog of the Year? by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards. He currently serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston?s Cultural Center (ISBCC).
Dr. Sherman Jackson is the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture, and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC). He was formerly the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Visiting Professor of Law and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).Dr. Jackson received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. From 1987 to 1989, he served as Executive Director of the Center of Arabic Study Abroad in Cairo, Egypt. He is the author of several books, including Islamic Law and the State, Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Towards the Third Resurrection and most recently Sufism for Non-Sufis? He has contributed to several publications including the Washington Post-Newsweek blog, On Faith, and the Huffington Post. Dr. Jackson is listed by the Religion Newswriters Foundation?s ReligionLink as among the top ten experts on Islam in America and was named among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman, Jordan and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj accepted Islam in 1969 and received Imam training at Ummul Qura University of Makkah in 1978. Currently is the Imam of Masjid Taqwa in New York, a dynamic speaker and tireless supporter of Islamic causes. Imam Wahhaj has on Majlis Ash-Shura of ISNA since 1987. He received high praises from the media and NYPD for initiating anti-drug patrol in Brooklyn, New York in 1988. Among other achievements, Imam Wahhaj was the first person to give an Islamic invocation to the US Congress.
Aisha holds a PhD in Policy Studies in Urban Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Masters of Education from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Management Studies from the University of Maryland- European Division. Aisha is passionate about issues of equity, justice and education. These passions have led her to become an Illinois State Board of Education Certified K-9th grade teacher, an adjunct professor at several colleges and universities, an elected school board member for Community Consolidated School District #168 and newly appointed board member for Routledge journal, Religion and Education. Additionally, Aisha currently manages a $16M federally funded Chicago teacher preparation grant spanning across four universities in the Chicagoland area. Some of her most recent roles include Coordinating Committee Member with Teachers for Social Justice, Assistant Director of Bridging the Gap, Co-chair of Public School Initiative for Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and Advisory Board Member serving Chicago Metropolitan Educational Center for Community Advancement. Additionally, Aisha enjoys reading, running, puzzles and family game nights. Aisha has been married for almost 13 years and has 3 amazing daughters.