(President and Chair)
Imam Daayiee Abdullah is founder and Executive Director of MECCA Institute (Muslim Education Center for Creative Academics), a Muslim think tank and online school (opening Fall 2015). Based in Washington, D.C., he is a scholar in Shari’ah Sciences and Quranic Interpretation. A former public interest lawyer, he lectures nationally and internationally on progressive Muslim concepts, intra-faith and interfaith networking, and the development of inclusive and progressive revisions of Islamic theological thought and Islamic law. He has long been involved in actively promoting understanding and awareness of issues of racial, gender and sexual equality as understood in the UN Declaration of Human Rights within and beyond Muslim communities. As Imam and Education Director at Light of Reform Mosque, Imam Daayiee provides pastoral counseling for Muslim youth and adults, their families and friends. He performs same sex, opposite sex and interfaith marriages for Muslims and non-Muslims of diverse backgrounds.
Dr. Yarehk E. J. Hernández Peña is an educator and critical Muslim thinker hailing from Brooklyn, New York. Yarehk has worked in New York City, Los Angeles, Oakland and Philadelphia as an inner-city public school teacher. He completed his undergraduate studies at the City College of New York, where he majored in Middle East History. He also minored in Comparative Religion with a focus on Jewish Studies. Yarehk continued with graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Master of Science in Education with a focus on urban education. He recently completed his doctorate in Religion with a focus on Islamic Studies at Temple University. His research interests include Muslim identity formation, sexuality and gender, Morisco Studies, Islamophobia, the intellectual history of race/racism and Muslim minorities in Spain and Latin America. Yarehk has also spent time traveling and studying Ilm al-Tassawuf.