Chaplain Shazeeda Khan has an economics degree from New York University. She began her career as a commodities accountant at a Wall Street firm. She has a certificate in Islamic Studies and is currently a volunteer chaplain at the United States Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT since 2005 where she serves Muslim women. She the Director of Islamic Education and teacher for the Baitul Mukarram Masjid of Greater Danbury. There she develops the Islamic Studies curriculum for the youth ages 5 to 18 and supervises a team of teachers. She also develops halaqa programs for the women. Since 2000 Chaplain Khan has served on the board of the Association of Religious Communities (ARC), an interfaith community service organization. She is one of the founding board members of the Muslim Endorsement Council (MEC, Inc.) and the Secretary of The Islamic Seminary of America (TISA).
Imam Salahuddin M. Muhammad worked 28 years as a chaplain before retiring from Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon NY. He also retired as Senior Imam of Masjid Al Ikhlas after 26 years of service in Newburgh NY. Additionally, Dr. Muhammad is a retired contract chaplain having served 17 years at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson NY. He is currently: President of the Alumni Council and Executive Board member of Hartford Seminary; Past president of the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC); Associate Imam of As-Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh NC; Secretary for the Triangle Imams Council (TIC). Imam Muhammad is a member of Muslims for Social Justice (MSJ), and a member of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). He is also the author of Bridging the Divide between Immigrants and African American Muslims by Using the Concept of Tawheed as the Catalyst.
Aqil Hashim has worked as a volunteer with the CT Department of Correction Religious Services department since 1989. A licensed clinical social worker, Aqil has served a diverse, multi-cultural population of Muslims throughout the state of Connecticut. His efforts include the coordination of Jummah, Eid celebrations, classes in Islamic studies, and community re-entry assistance. He has also served as the vice-president of the Board of Directors (Majlis) of Masjid Al-Islam in New Haven, CT.
Imam Kashif converted to the religion of Al-Islam of May 15, 1986 under the leadership of Imam W.D. Mohammed. A former parole officer and social worker with the CT Juvenile Justice Department (1989-2009), he was also a Muslim Chaplain with the CT Department of Correction from 1987-2009. Upon retirement with 23 years of state service, he was recognized by the Governor’s office for his outstanding contribution to the state. Kashif Abdul-Karim is resident Imam of Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford (since 2006) and is secretary of the New England Council of Masajids and is a member of the boards of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CT), The Center for a New Economy and the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Healthcare.
Omer Bajwa is the Director of Muslim Life in the Chaplain’s Office at Yale University. He earned his Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary, and he has been engaged in religious service, social activism, and educational outreach since 2000. He received his MA in Near Eastern Studies, with a specialization in Islamic Studies, from Cornell University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies. He also earned an MS in Communication from Cornell, and a BA in English Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University. His interests include Islam in the United States, inter-religious engagement, Islam and the global media, and intersections between culture, politics, and spirituality. He regularly lectures about these topics and others at campuses, congregations, and in communities across the country.
Dr. James Jones is the Executive Vice-President of the Islamic Seminary of America (TISA). He is Professor Emeritus of World Religions and former chair of the Dept of World Religions and the African Studies Program at Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY). Dr. Jones’s research focuses on the intersectionality of between Islamophobia and racism. DMin from Hartford Seminary and a MA in Religion from Yale Divinity School. He is President of the Malik Human Services, a marriage counselor for more than two decades, and a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains. He sits on the National Board of Directors of CAIR. Dr. Jones is also a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Trainer. MHFA’s goal is to train people to be able to identify, understand and respond to people with mental health or substance abuse issues
Dr. Irfan Galaria is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, and a founder of the Hadi Initiative. Dr. Galaria is a leader in the field of medicine and has helped develop new therapies and technologies for treating medical as well as surgical diseases. He has published over two dozen articles in major peer-reviewed medical journals, and he has given over a dozen presentations at national and international medical conferences. Dr. Irfan Galaria has a strong passion for supporting international medical relief efforts. Dr. Irfan Galaria has been featured in numerous international as well as nationally prominent media outlets for his humanitarian medical relief work abroad and for his care of children in America with rare, congenital problems. He is currently developing not-for-profit banking institutions, and he founded and runs not-for-profit initiatives that aim to improve and support diversity and research on college campuses.
Chaplain Matiniah Yahya is a community chaplain, Master Disaster Chaplain, and former full-time Chaplain Resident at Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Association for Pastoral Care Education (ACPE) training program (completing a total of 4 units of CPE). In addition, she is a veteran elementary educator with a wide range of teaching, training, and consulting experiences in the US and the Middle East. Chaplain Yahya has been a volunteer hospital and prison chaplain as well as a Muslim marriage and family pastoral counselor for more than a decade. Formerly Vice-President of the board of Muslim Endorsement Council of CT(MEC), Matiniah holds a BS in Human Services from Southern New Hampshire University and a Master’s in Education from Boston University. She is also a founding member and former Vice President for Community Chaplaincy and Education Chair for the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC). She currently teaches first grade at Noble Academy and serves as Vice-President of the Malik Human Services (MHSI) board.
Chaplain AbdulMalik Negedu provides staff services to MEC. A founding member of the Association of Muslim Chaplains and former VP for Community and Membership chair, he completed his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) residency at the former Hospital of St. Raphael (Now Yale-New Haven Hospital – St. Raphael campus). He is a community Chaplain with and Secretary of Malik Human Services Institute, Inc. Chaplain Negedu also teaches Islamic Studies, Personal Financial Planning and Leadership in Islam.
The consultative committee provides information and advice to the Board of Directors as needed. It comprises of members who have theological expertise and or professional knowledge.
Imam Zaid Shakir is a prominent American Muslim scholar. He currently the Amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA). He has taught courses in Arabic, Islamic spirituality, contemporary Muslim thought, Islamic history and politics, and Shafi’i fiqh at Zaytuna College, which he co-founded. Imam Zaid speaks and writes on a wide range of topics and has become a voice of conscience for American Muslims as well as people of other faiths. He is regularly included as one of the Western world’s most influential Muslim scholars in The Muslim 500, an annual ranking edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin. He is also one of the signatories of “A Common Word Between Us and You,” an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders that calls for peace and mutual understanding.
Dr. Feryal Salem is Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, as well as Director of the Master of Divinity in Islamic Studies and Muslim Chaplaincy programs. Her research interests include Islamic philosophy and theology in the post-classical period, interfaith dialogue, and the development of Muslim thought in the contemporary era as it came into conversation with aspects of modernity. Dr. Salem previously taught at Hartford Seminary where she was Assistant Professor of Islamic Scriptures and Co-Director of its Islamic Chaplaincy Program. She received her Ph.D. in Islamic studies from the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
Dr. Tamara Gray is the founder of Rabata, an organization dedicated to promoting positive cultural change through creative educational experiences. She worked in the field of education for twenty-five years before moving into the non-profit world. Her work includes the daily nitty gritty of project design as well as the support and mentorship of hundreds of women around the world. Dr. Gray spent twenty years studying traditional and classical Islamic sciences, Quran, and Arabic in Damascus, Syria. She holds a doctorate in leadership from the University of St. Thomas, a master’s degree in Curriculum Theory and Instruction from Temple University. Dr. Gray is also an author, translator, and public speaker who is often engaged to speak about issues of gender, leadership, Islam, and spirituality; locally, nationally and globally,
MEC is looking forward to the future growth of Muslim chaplains with a renewed commitment to be the national standard bearer for endorsement, and consistency and integrity in the field of Islamic chaplaincy.