Omar Zaki - CAIR Chairman

omar-zakiOmar Zaki is a U.S. Army veteran and small business owner from California. Omar has been active with CAIR and the American Muslim community for more than a decade and has served on CAIR's national board since 2011.

He previously served as director of government relations for the Southern California chapter of CAIR. In that capacity, he helped create a multicultural advisory council for the FBI and served as an advisor on it from 2004-2006.

He also served as a council member in Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee Baca’s advisory council in support of law enforcement.

Omar also serves on the City of Riverside Human Relations Commission, the board of the International Relations Council of Sister Cites International, and the California Council on Criminal Justice.

Sarwat Husain - Vice Chair

sarwat-husainSarwat Husain is the founding president of the San Antonio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a national board member of CAIR.

Ms. Husain also serves on the San Antonio Interreligious Council and the Texas Media Empowerment Project. She is a founder of the San Antonio Muslim Council and a member of the San Antonio Council for International Visitors. She formerly served on the FBI Regional Advisory Council and was selected to serve on the board of the San Antonio Mayors Commission under Mayor Garza.

Ms. Husain publishes Al-Ittihaad Monthly, the largest American Muslim newspaper in Texas, and is a frequent guest columnist for the San Antonio Express News.

Ms. Husain works to encourage political engagement in Texas, conducting regular voter registration drives and trainings on how to become delegates, precinct chairs and judges. She helped found the American Muslim Youth Association and the Muslim Boys Scouts of America Pack 786, and acts as an advisor to both. She is extensively involved in interfaith dialogue and regularly offers diversity trainings on Muslim beliefs and practices at businesses, universities, churches and law enforcement agencies.

Ms. Husain has been profiled in The Face Behind the Veil: The Extraordinary Lives of Muslim Women in America and in articles published in the San Antonio Current, ColorLines, PressTime, and the San Antonio Express News.

She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. She has owned and operated alternate care facilities for the elderly and a child development center, and has worked as a nutritional consultant to hospitals and nursing homes.

Ahmed Al-Shehab - National Board Member

Ahmed Al-Shehab - National Board MemberAhmed Al-Shehab co-founded CAIR-New Jersey in 2003 and was elected as the chairman of CAIR-NJ's board of directors in 2006. In 2011, Ahmed was elected to CAIR's national board of directors. He currently serves on both CAIR and CAIR-NJ boards.

Ahmed holds a bachelor's degree from NJIT in computer engineering and a graduate diploma in accounting and finance from Columbia University.

Ahmed is an entrepreneur, currently managing his second firm that specializes in information technology executive program/project management with a specific focus on risk and crisis management in pharmaceutical and financial industries.

Roula Allouch - National Board Member

roula-allouchRoula Allouch is a member of CAIR's national board and serves as president of CAIR's Cincinnati chapter.

Roula is an associate attorney at Smith, Rolfes and Skavdahl Co., LPA, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is admitted to practice law in all state courts in Kentucky and Ohio and is licensed to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the United States Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Ohio, and the United States District Courts in the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky and the Southern District of Ohio.

Roula earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky in 2002, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor of business administration in economics, and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2006.

Roula focuses her practice on employment law, insurance defense and general civil litigation. She is a member of the American, Kentucky, and Cincinnati Bar Associations. She serves as public service co-coordinator for the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and as Kentucky young lawyer delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates.

Nihad Awad - Board Member

Nihad Awad - CAIR National Board MemberNihad Awad is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest non-profit Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

He has been frequently interviewed on national and international media such as CNN, BBC World Service, PBS, C-SPAN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Voice of America and Al-Jazeerah. CAIR news releases are disseminated to hundreds of thousands people worldwide on a daily basis.

After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Mr. Awad flew to Oklahoma to aid in the relief effort. He personally met with Governor Frank Keating and gave the governor a sizable donation for the victims’ fund on behalf of the American Muslim community.

In 1997, Mr. Awad served on Vice President Al Gore’s Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security.

In his professional capacity, Mr. Awad has also personally met with former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright andColin L. Powell to discuss the needs of the American Muslim community.

Numerous law enforcement agencies and Fortune 500 companies—including Nike and DKNY—have benefited from CAIR educational seminars on Islamic traditions and culture. In addition to resolving employment discrimination issues involving American Muslims, Mr. Awad has also conducted over 100 public relations and media training seminars nationwide.

For the 2000 presidential election, Mr. Awad was a key figure in the American Muslim Political Coordinating Committee (AMPCC), an umbrella organization of the largest American Muslim organizations, which helped to create the first Muslim voting bloc for a presidential election.

Mr. Awad is a regular participant in the U.S. Department of State’s “International Visitors Program”, which welcomes foreign dignitaries, journalists and academics who are currently visiting the President of the United States.

A few days after September 11, 2001, Mr. Awad was one of the few American Muslim leaders invited by the White House to join President Bush in a press conference at the Islamic Center of Washington, the oldest mosque in Washington DC.

Mr. Awad has testified before both houses of the U.S. Congress, most recently at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on matters involving Muslims in America.

He has also spoken at prestigious educational institutions, including Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities. He was also a featured speaker at the 2002 Reuters Forum on global cooperation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. In addition, he actively works with local and national interfaith leaders and organizations in the interest of promoting positive relations among people of diverse faith communities.

Mr. Awad is also featured in Silent No More by former United States Representative Paul Findley (R-IL), a book chronicling the history of the American Muslim community.

James Jones - Board Member

james-jonesJimmy Jones is secretary of CAIR's national board and has been a civil and human rights activist for more than three decades.

Dr. Jones is a tenured associate professor of world religions with a concurrent appointment in African studies at Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY).

As chair of the board of the Islamic Seminary Foundation, Prof. Jones is involved in several projects that are designed to set professional standards, develop support networks and establish educational/training initiatives for imams, chaplains and other persons who lead in or provide services to the Muslim American community.

Dr. Jones' writing, research and lecture activities are focused on comparative religions, Muslim American identity development and conflict resolution. He has lectured at, taught at, or consulted to institutions in Bahrain, Bermuda, Bosnia, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Jerusalem, Trinidad-Tobago, Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, United Arab Emirates and throughout the United States.

A member of the American Academy of Religion, Prof. Jones holds a bachelor's degree from Hampton University, a master's degree from Yale Divinity School and a doctorate in ministry from the Hartford Seminary.

Masoud Nassimi - National Board Member

masoud-nassimiMasoud Nassimi is the co-founder of CAIR's Greater Los Angeles Area chapter and serves on the board of CAIR-California, which oversees four CAIR chapters in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego. He served as CAIR-CA's board chairman from 2009-2013; in 2013, Masoud was elected to CAIR’s national board of directors in 2013.

Masoud is the founder of Afghan American Muslim Outreach (AAMO) and currently serves as president of its Los Angeles area chapter. He has served on many boards of a number of Muslim institutions in Southern California over the past 20 years.

Masoud received bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering Purdue University in Indiana. He has been working for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) since 1988. He also has been a part-time Algebra adjunct professor at Los Angeles Valley College since 1991. Masoud is the author of a college textbook and co-author of "How to perform Hajj (Step by Step)" with Dr. Ahmed Sakr, both in English and in Persian. He authored informational booklets about Kashmir, Kosovo, and Chechnya during their conflicts.

Nihad Awad - Executive Director

Nihad Awad - CAIR National Board Member

Nihad Awad is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest non-profit Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

He has been frequently interviewed on national and international media such as CNN, BBC World Service, PBS, C-SPAN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Voice of America and Al-Jazeerah. CAIR news releases are disseminated to hundreds of thousands people worldwide on a daily basis.

After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Mr. Awad flew to Oklahoma to aid in the relief effort. He personally met with Governor Frank Keating and gave the governor a sizable donation for the victims’ fund on behalf of the American Muslim community.

In 1997, Mr. Awad served on Vice President Al Gore’s Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security.

In his professional capacity, Mr. Awad has also personally met with former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright andColin L. Powell to discuss the needs of the American Muslim community.

Numerous law enforcement agencies and Fortune 500 companies—including Nike and DKNY—have benefited from CAIR educational seminars on Islamic traditions and culture. In addition to resolving employment discrimination issues involving American Muslims, Mr. Awad has also conducted over 100 public relations and media training seminars nationwide.

For the 2000 presidential election, Mr. Awad was a key figure in the American Muslim Political Coordinating Committee (AMPCC), an umbrella organization of the largest American Muslim organizations, which helped to create the first Muslim voting bloc for a presidential election.

Mr. Awad is a regular participant in the U.S. Department of State’s “International Visitors Program”, which welcomes foreign dignitaries, journalists and academics who are currently visiting the President of the United States.

A few days after September 11, 2001, Mr. Awad was one of the few American Muslim leaders invited by the White House to join President Bush in a press conference at the Islamic Center of Washington, the oldest mosque in Washington DC.

Mr. Awad has testified before both houses of the U.S. Congress, most recently at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on matters involving Muslims in America.

He has also spoken at prestigious educational institutions, including Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities. He was also a featured speaker at the 2002 Reuters Forum on global cooperation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. In addition, he actively works with local and national interfaith leaders and organizations in the interest of promoting positive relations among people of diverse faith communities.

Mr. Awad is also featured in Silent No More by former United States Representative Paul Findley (R-IL), a book chronicling the history of the American Muslim community.