Meet the collaborators of the Black Religion and Community Unification: Dialogue and Listening Across Black/African American Muslim and Christian Congregations, Art Spaces, and Community Organizing Collectives. Also known as “The Black Religion Summit.”
The Black Religion Summit is a gathering of collaborators focused on exploring the intersection of Black Religion and community engagement, guided by Sherman Jackson’s definition of Black Religion. Supported by a sub-grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, participants delve into inquiries about the unifying power of Black Religion and its impact on community boundaries, aiming to develop insights accessible to scholars, artists, and community leaders alike.
Dr. Aminah Beverly (McCloud) Al-Deen: Research Associate Professor, AbuSulayman Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University. Emerita Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, DePaul University. Project Director, the Black American Muslim Internationalism Project, AbuSulayman Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University. Book publications include: African American Islam (Routledge, 1995); A Question of Faith for Muslim Inmates (Kazi Publications, 1999); Transnational Muslims in American Society (University Press of Florida, 2006); An Introduction to Islam in the 21st Century (Wiley, 2013); History of Arab Americans (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018); Islam, Muslims, and COVID-19 (Brill, 2023). American editor for Brill’s “Muslim Minorities in the West” series. Former Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture. A Fulbright Scholar, Board Member for the Institute for Muslim Mental Health, Executive Board Member of IMAN (Inner City Muslim Action Network).
Jackie Alexander: Producing Artistic Director, The North Carolina Black Repertory Company, producers of the International Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Collaborating Partner on Finding Holy Ground: Performing Visions of Race and Justice in America. Former Artistic Director, The Billie Holiday Theatre, New York. Authored Our Daily Bread (2011, Turner Publishing). Recipient of Best Feature Film Award from Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame for Joy (2002), also earning Best Actor and Best Screenplay honors. Stage directing credits include: Brothers from the Bottom, by Jackie Alexander (AUDELCO award for Best Play); Jelly’s Last Jam, by George Wolfe (Best Musical-New Orleans’ Big Easy Awards), Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou by Angelica Cheri, and Maid’s Door by Cheryl L. Davis (Seven AUDELCO awards including Best Play). Produced eighteen world premieres. Honored by Governor Roy Cooper for theatrical contributions to North Carolina (2019). Recipient of The Black Theatre Network’s Presidential Pathfinder Award (2018) and AUDELCO Outstanding Achievement in Black Theatre Award (2021).
Greta L. Bennet, MA, MPA: Doctoral Student in Public Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. Research Fellow for Center for Religion and Cities. Scholarship centers on the intersection of public theology and public policy as it relates to African American women’s healthcare. Retired Lieutenant Colonel serving with distinction as a Medical Logistics Officer in the US Army for thirty years. Received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University, a Master of Public Administration from Troy State University, a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a certification in Nonprofit Management from the University of Tampa. Active contributor to several nonprofit organizations, a published author, and leader of the Doctoral Women’s Student Group at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Jermaine Carey: Community Organizer, Dream of Detroit (DREAM). Consultant, The Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. At DREAM, specializes in direct outreach, relational organizing, and digital campaigning. Over twenty years of experience engaging thousands of attendees in arts and culture events, including DREAM’s Annual Street Fair. With Dream of Detroit, conducts outreach to neighborhood residents and other community members to maximize active participation across the range of programs, services, and opportunities offered by this dynamic non-profit neighborhood development organization. As a member of the Ansar Collective, works in concert with other Detroit-based Muslim male leaders to coordinate grassroots activism such as an ongoing large-scale initiative to supply resources to those affected by the Flint water crisis. Founder of the podcast “Good Vibes with the Good Brothers” highlighting Black Muslim experiences by inviting artists, activists, scholars, and leaders into dialogue and reflection.
Dawud Clark: Leader for Project Homecoming, Dream of Detroit’s transitional home for formerly incarcerated Muslim men. Property Manager for all DREAM’s buildings, grounds, vehicles, and machinery. Consultant for DREAM’s Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project At DREAM, supervises case management for Project Homecoming residents and connects reentry beneficiaries with workforce development training, digital literacy, and career pathway opportunities. EMT license from Wayne County Community College. Philosophy of Law degree from Grand Valley State University. Activist for the rights of incarcerated Muslims, including their ability to maintain halal diets and to access Islamic education. Active in movements supporting initiatives to safeguard the rights of all incarcerated individuals to avail themselves of legal resources. Sought-after public speaker on issues related to unfair societal challenges and discrimination faced by justice involved individuals.
Mark Crain: Executive Director for Dream of Detroit (DREAM), a dynamic neighborhood development organization, serving in this capacity for more than a decade. Also serving as Deputy Director of Economic Development for Wayne County, MI, leading initiatives in business attraction, community development, and environmental justice across 43 communities. Co-Director of the Dream of Detroit’s Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. Formerly, campaign director and strategist for MoveOn, a nationally-based civic engagement organization, and communications coordinator for Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a leading Chicago-based non-profit organization. Graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African American Studies. Board Member of the Detroit Justice Center, ReThink Media, and Emgage Foundation.
Tasneem M. Diallo: A Detroit-native photographer capturing natural light photography since 2012, focusing on Metro Detroit, specifically the Muslim community and Black Muslim experiences. Photographer for Dream of Detroit and the Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. Artistic focus on mosques and Muslim community events including those at The Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Masjid Al-Haqq, Wayne State University Islamic Center of Detroit, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, the Muslim Enrichment Project, and the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs. Served as the inaugural artist-in-residence at a Muslim arts and culture organization called “Indus Detroit,” located in the DREAM neighborhood. Photographic themes of specialization include documenting causes that nurture communities, including food justice and housing justice. Consistently seeks out opportunities to further education in Islamic sciences, fiqh, and Quran memorization. Currently developing the #FridayFaces series, and uploading visual interpretations of Black Muslim experiences on Instagram at @takenbytasneem.
Dr. Elise Edwards: Assistant Professor in Religion at Baylor University with a research focus on cultural expressions by, for, and about women and marginalized communities. Member of the Advisory Council for Center for Religion and Cities. A Christian ethicist whose interdisciplinary research draws upon theology, ethics, architectural theory, and urban studies to develop theological, ethical perspectives on civic engagement, cultural and artistic expression, and justice. Earned doctoral degree in Religion from Claremont Graduate University in California, centering on Theology, Ethics, and Culture. Prior to pursuing a Ph.D. in theology, worked as an architect in Washington, D.C., and still maintains her license to practice architecture. Co-editor (with Katie Day) of the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Cities (2020) and author of a forthcoming book about Christian values in architecture called Architecture, Theology, and Ethics: Making Architectural Design More Just.
Fatimah Fanusie: Program Director of the Justice Leaders Fellowship at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies in Towson, Maryland. A lecturer in Islamic Studies at Johns Hopkins University. An historian for the Howard Thurman Historical Home in Daytona Beach, Florida. Currently serving as co-chair of the Religion and Cities Unit for the American Academy of Religion. A historian of 19th-and 20th-century American religion whose research is an evolving reappraisal of the study of African American Islam, the modern civil rights movement, and Islam in the West. Research and publications explore the pioneering role of Indian Ahmadiyya Muslims and African Americans in the development of Islam in America. Bachelor’s degree in History and Arabic from Lincoln University; M.A. in American History from Tufts University; Ph.D. in American History from Howard University.
Tasleem Jamila Firdausee, MA: Doctoral Candidate, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program, Religion and Sociology, Western Michigan University, currently carrying out doctoral research on spirituality and healing, Sufism, and Black Women in Religion. Research Consultant with the Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. An award-winning poet, writer, multi-disciplinary artist, cultural curator and organizer, and holistic wellness therapist who uses heart-centered storytelling. Has performed extensively across the US and internationally, including in Senegal, Ghana, Canada, England, and South Africa. Obtained a Master’s degree in Spirituality, Culture & Health and a graduate certificate in Holistic Approaches to Mindfulness from WMU and a Bachelor's degree in Complementary & Alternative Health. A registered and certified yoga teacher, reiki energy healer, sound healer. Has studied Islam and Arabic with traditional master teachers. Founder of “My Soul Speaks Institute,” “Firdausee Consulting,” and the “Art As Sacred” initiative.
Hazel Gómez: A faith-inspired community organizer dedicating time as a volunteer, advisor, and board member to various nonprofits, including DREAM of Detroit as well as others ranging from community development and convert care to anti-racism work and bail reform. Community consultant for the Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. Currently pursuing a Master’s of Divinity degree in Islamic Chaplaincy from Bayan Islamic Graduate School at the Chicago Theological Seminary. Since 2012, student of the Islamic sacred sciences with Rabata.org's Ribaat Academic Institute under the tutelage of Shaykha Dr. Tamara Gray and other Muslim women scholars. Served as a curriculum developer, trainer, and mentor with the Muslim Power Building Project, a comprehensive community organizing and leadership development program for Muslims nationwide in which an Islamic framework is core to the curriculum. Graduated from Loyola University Chicago. Named by the Center for American Progress as 1 of 21 faith leaders to watch in 2021.
Dr. Katherine Kunz: Co-Director of the Lifeways of Hope Initiative for the Center for Religion and Cities at Morgan State University. Currently directs the first cohort of the Fellowship in Public Scholarship with the Center for Religion and Cities and has presented extensively on listening in community-engaged research. Holds a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from the University of Basel, Switzerland. Dissertation research, entitled “Contested Home: Asylum-Seeking and Church” offers an ethnographic exploration of concepts of home and how churches engage politically in an urban context. Developed a model for interviews that prioritizes listening and presence. Obtained a Master’s degree in Art and Religion from the Graduate Theological Union, and an M.Div.-equivalency from the Pacific School of Religion, both in Berkeley, California. Has held numerous leadership positions in higher education, is a certified professional coach, and works as an editor and translator for German-English academic works.
Dr. Amy Landau: Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Islamic and South/Southeast Asian Art at the Walters Art Museum. Director of Education and Interpretation at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Project Director and Co-Founder of the Art, Religion, and Cities initiative for the Center for Religion and Cities. Doctoral degree granted from the Department of Islamic Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, in 2007. As curator for Islamic and South/Southeast Asian Arts at the Walters Art Museum, create narratives that interweave histories of people, places, and objects. Has curated a series of exhibitions to highlight cross-collection themes and has recently completed an international loan exhibition on Islamic Art dedicated to stories about people and the significance of biography in Muslim traditions. This exhibition, “Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts,” was generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Usman Mian, MPA: Deputy Director, Dream of Detroit. Consultant, The Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. A servant leader, social entrepreneur, and dedicated human rights advocate with over a decade of experience in nonprofit management, community organizing, organizational development, and public policy. Prior to joining DREAM, fulfilled leadership roles at other social service organizations including Kids4Peace International in Seattle, WA and CityThink Incorporated, in Louisville, KY. Awarded multiple competitive research and leadership fellow positions domestically and abroad, such as the Community Ambassadors Fellowship at Bilgi University in Istanbul, Turkey; and an Academic Research Fellowship at the US Institute of Peace. Master’s degree in Public Administration, specializing in Metropolitan Planning & Urban Affairs, from School of Public Service at DePaul University; Certificate from the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University; and BA in Political Science & International Studies from Northwestern University.
Dr. Harold Morales: Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Morgan State University. Co-Executive Director & Director of Curriculum Lab, Center for Religion in Cities, Morgan State University. Founding Director of the Center of Religion and Cities, a collective of academics, students, and community partners working collaboratively to critically engage unjust structures in American cities. Housed at Morgan State University, the Center for Religion and Cities creates opportunities for community-engaged learning for students and other emerging leaders. A scholar whose work is focused on fostering public scholarship initiatives through researching mural art and community empowerment in the city of Baltimore and through the Center for Religion and City’s collaborative work. Research and activism is based on familial spiritual roots in Central America and diaspora experience in Los Angeles. Research and teaching focuses on the intersections between race and religion and between lived and mediated experience.
Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Oseguera: Founder and President, Muslim Wellness Foundation, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology and Muslim Studies, Chicago Theological Seminary. Awarded a 2022 Community Stories Fellowship from The Crossroads Project. As Founder and President of Muslim Wellness Foundation, promotes emotional well-being in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education, and training. As Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology and Muslim Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary, specializes in race and identity development, spirituality in psychotherapy, and healing justice. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. Has spearheaded groundbreaking research on Black Muslim psychology and intersectional invisibility, aiming to address the psychological impact of anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Blackness. Empowers young Black Muslim adults through initiatives like the Black Muslim Psychology Conference and the Deeply Rooted Emerging Leaders Fellowship.
Dr. Alisa Perkins: Associate Professor, Department of World Religions and Cultures and Director, Interdisciplinary Studies Doctoral Program, Western Michigan University. Director of Development, Dream of Detroit. Co-Director, the Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. An anthropologist whose ongoing research is an ethnographic study of Muslim American civic engagement in metro Detroit with an emphasis on Black American Muslim community organizing. In collaboration with the non-profit organization Dream of Detroit, developed the Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project, a public humanities initiative to build knowledge about the city’s Black American Muslim leadership, supported by grants from the Pillars Fund, the Whiting Foundation, and the Henry Luce Foundation Authored Muslim American City: Gender and Religion in Metro Detroit (NYU Press, 2020) based on ethnographic research supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Philanthropic Educational Organization.
Dr. Marquisha Lawrence Scott: Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver. Congregational Data Associate, Center for Religions in Cities. At the University of Denver,, focuses research, teaching, and community engagement on ensuring that community and nonprofit organizations, especially religious congregations, are equipped to serve their identified communities. As Congregational Data Associate with the Center for Religions and Cities, uses a method of community facilitation to understand and support congregations as they address concerns related to their buildings and reimagined futures. As a Research Associate with the Bangor Theological Seminary’s BTS Center, researches the impact of climate change on clergy and congregations as they address their communities’ needs. Holds an MSW in macro social work from Washington University in St. Louis; a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania; and a Master’s of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary.
Malikah Shabazz, MA: Content and Event Producer, Photographer, and Filmmaker, Detroit. Supervising Producer for The Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. A graduate from The New School in New York with a Master’s degree in Media Studies. An innovator who has accrued a wide range of experiences creating films, videos, and other media productions, especially those related to the Black Muslim community. Has worked as a television producer for a major cable network. Served as post production producer for the short film “BodyMore.” Founder and CEO of Ruby Jeanetta Productions, LLC. A 2021 Fellow of the MPAC Hollywood Bureau/Blackhouse Inaugural Television Screenwriting Lab for Black Muslims. Served as a multimedia producer for Sapelo Square, an award-winning blog on Black Muslims in America. Curator of #BilalianExperience, a platform dedicated to celebrating and promoting the narrative of Black American Muslims in American media. In 2022, curated the exhibition, “Jumuah at Masjid Al- Earth,” as part of Design Core’s Month of Design in Detroit, Michigan.
Dr. Fatima Siwaju: Assistant Professor of African American and African Studies at the Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia. Awarded a 2022 Community Stories Fellowship from The Crossroads Project. A cultural anthropologist of religion and the African diaspora. Research and teaching interests include Islam in the African diaspora, citizenship and the politics of belonging, and Africana intellectual traditions. In-progress book manuscript explores the nexus of race, religion, and citizenship as they pertain to the spiritual, social, and political trajectories of Afro-descendant Muslims in the Colombian Pacific. Fellowships and awards from the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and the Henry Luce Foundation. A 2022-2023 Dissertation Scholar in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology with a concentration in African American studies from Princeton University.
Professor Christina Soriano: Vice Provost, Arts and Interdisciplinary Initiatives and Professor of Dance, Wake Forest University. Principal Investigator for “Finding Holy Ground: Performing Visions of Race and Justice in America.” Collaborates with colleagues across Wake Forest university to enhance the visibility of the arts within the university and beyond the borders of its campus. Helps forge interdisciplinary connections across the university by overseeing the work of the Interdisciplinary Arts Center, the Secrest Artist Series, University Art Collections, University Art Galleries, and the Wake Forest University Press. Designer of an innovative movement curriculum, called IMPROVment®. Research centers on the ways IMPROVment® can help assist with the balance, mobility, cognition and quality of life of older adults living with neurodegenerative diseases. Shares funding for this research with Dr. Christina Hugenschmidt at Atrium Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention.
Yasmine Suleiman: Economic Development Associate, Dream of Detroit. B.A. in Urban Studies, Wayne State University. Consultant, The Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project. A recent graduate from WSU with a Bachelor's degree in Urban Studies. Initially joined Dream of Detroit (DREAM) in 2016 through an internship centered on DREAM’s Annual Street Fair. After graduating from WMU, joined DREAM’s staff as Economic Development Associate, playing a dynamic leadership role in innovative projects such as the DREAM Community Land Trust, dedicated to equitable homeownership, and DREAM’s Timeless Touch Ups, devoted to enhancing the capacity of neighborhood residents to age-in-place in their own homes. As an Economic Development Fellow with the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) gained in-depth urban planning experience. Actively works to connect Muslim American community members from Detroit’s inner city with those from suburban populations by organizing volunteering opportunities for diverse events and initiatives.
Eljon Wardally, MFA: Playwright for Finding Holy Ground: Performing Visions of Race and Justice in America. Recipient of the Finding Holy Ground Playwriting commission for the play, I Am...a Shepherdess, which will have its world premiere in the summer of 2024 at the International Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina. An award-winning playwright and screenwriter with a passion for telling stories about underrepresented people and communities. A five-time O’Neill finalist, a Kennedy Center finalist, and a Princess Grace Playwriting Award finalist who has been featured in Vanity Fair, on MLB and at Lincoln Center. Playwriting and screenwriting credits include: Black Americanah for Sale; Big Black Balloon; By A Thread; Bishop; Untitled Army Story; The Gift; Home Sweet Home; Return To Sender and Docket 32357. The short film Docket 32357 was Winner of the Audience Choice Award at the International Black Film Festival of Nashville, and Winner of the Grand Jury Prize Huffington Post Black Voices Breakthrough Theater Series.


Roundtable Discussions Following Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Oseguera’s Talk: Leaders from Detroit’s Christian and Muslim Communities will discuss the following theme:  “As Black Detroiters, how can we use the diversity of our faith traditions to instigate–rather than impede– new forms of cooperation? As people of different faith backgrounds who share neighborhoods, workplaces, social spaces, and families, how can we come together across religious differences to mobilize for racial, economic, and social justice?” Register for Dr. Kameelah’s Interfaith Public Talk Now!
Reverend Robert A. Blake: Pastor, Greater Quinn A.M.E. Church, Detroit. A fourth-generation A.M.E. pastor from Ann Arbor, MI, deeply rooted in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and great uncle who also ministered at historic A.M.E. churches. Ordained in 1986 as an itinerant elder. Led congregations in Brighton and Highland Park, MI, fostering spiritual growth and community engagement. In 2016, during the Flint water crisis, assumed pastoral duties at Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church, advocating for justice and spearheading relief efforts, leading to partnerships with ACLU and NRDC, advocating for clean water access and lead pipe removal. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Southern University.
Shaykh Kafani Ibrahim Cisse: Vice President and Chief Muqqadam, Center of Islamic Knowledge-Detroit. Embraced Islam at 22 years old. Traveled to Senegal to study under prominent shaykhs, earning a diploma from the African American Islamic Institute, Sengal. Helped establish the Center for Islamic Knowledge-Detroit (COIK), a local institution that is part of the global community of students of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Faydah of El-Hajji Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse. The purpose of COIK-Detroit is the remembrance of Allah by following The Holy Qur’an and the life examples of Prophet Muhammad. The mission of COIK-Detroit is to aid the spiritual upliftment of humanity through educational, cultural, social, and charitable activities.
Teresa Clarington: Block Club President, Dream Community Association. A devoted member of Greater Quinn A.M.E. Church in Detroit for over fifty years volunteering in resource distribution and outreach. An active and engaged faith-based local leader dedicated to community improvement. As president of the Dream Community Association, acts as a liaison between congregants of Greater Quinn A.M.E. Church, neighborhood residents, city officials, and DREAM collaborators. Fosters initiatives that prioritizes the well-being of all residents.
Zarinah El-Amin, MA: Cultural Anthropologist and Global Consultant. CEO and Founder, Book Power Publishing, Detroit. Founded the self-publishing consulting and services company, “Book Power Publishing,” which is centered on helping people from diverse communities capture and share their stories. Founded “Enliven Your Soul,” a transformative travel and global company that runs events, programs, and trips centered around getting to know the world and yourself on a deeper level. The philanthropy operated as part of the “Enliven Your Soul Foundation for Global Advancement” currently centers on scholarships for girls in Sierra Leone. Founder of award-winning project, “Beautifully Wrapped,” which explores the global art of head-wrapping and includes a traveling exhibit and workshops. Bachelors of Science from Howard University, and a Masters of Anthropology from Western Michigan University. Sought-after public speaker featured on NPR, Fox, TEDx Talk, and other outlets.
Reverend Dr. Oscar King III: Pastor of Northwest Unity Baptist Church. Detroit Practice Leader for Kelley Cawthorne. Accomplished a wide array of community and economic development projects while serving on numerous boards. Former Chair of Next Detroit Neighborhood Initiatives. Former Chair of the Detroit Urban League. Former board member for New Detroit. Former board member for St. John Providence Health System. Earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Howard University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary.
Sabria Mills, M.Ed: Behavioral Coach and Therapist, Host of The DOPE Muslim Woman Podcast, Detroit. Educator and national speaker, specializing in transformative teaching and learning. Master’s degree in Special Education and Educational Leadership. Focuses on innovative learning for exceptional children. Pioneered “Response-to-Intervention” methods and exceptional education programs in Islamic schools. Lectures cover diverse learners, behavior analysis, and support services for Islamic schools. Co-founder of “Muslim Advocates of Children with Exceptionalities” (MACE), empowering exceptional children and trauma survivors.
Sabria Mills, M.Ed: Behavioral Coach and Therapist, Host of The DOPE Muslim Woman Podcast, Detroit. Educator and national speaker, specializing in transformative teaching and learning. Master’s degree in Special Education and Educational Leadership. Focuses on innovative learning for exceptional children. Pioneered “Response-to-Intervention” methods and exceptional education programs in Islamic schools. Lectures cover diverse learners, behavior analysis, and support services for Islamic schools. Co-founder of “Muslim Advocates of Children with Exceptionalities” (MACE), empowering exceptional children and trauma survivors.
Judy Moussa, M.Ed: Chairperson, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad. Chairperson, Institute of Muslim American Studies (IMAS). An active contributor to upholding the mission and vision of Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad (HMWM), a Detroit-based mosque operating in the tradition of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. An active participant in the foundation and development of the Institute of Muslim American Studies (IMAS), a theological academic educational enterprise devoted to advancing an understanding of how the Qur'an inspired the largest African American conversion to Al-Islam in US history. Visionary leader in efforts to establish October as Muslim African American Heritage Month- Michigan (MAAHM). A retired educator from Los Angeles, California holding an Associate of Arts degree for Los Angeles City College, and Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Loyola Marymount University.
Mu: Performing Artist and Community Leader, Detroit. Plays an active role in Muslim American community development in Detroit with a special focus on programming for youth and young men. Long-term volunteer and founder of a mosque-based basketball program for Detroit young men. Devoted to advocating for programs that will encourage Black American Muslim youth to maintain a strong identity. The grandchild of Muslims and son of the late Imam Luqman Abdullah, a beloved leader and visionary who founded Detroit’s Masjid Al-Haqq in the 1980s. With other members of Masjid Al-Haqq, continues to honor Imam Luqman’s legacy by helping to provide food and shelter for those living around the mosque as well as serving as stewards for the neighborhood.
Khalil Mu’Minun: Founder and Director, Chill Don’t Kill, Detroit. Leads this non-profit organization, established in 2012, as an anti-violence initiative after the murder of Lee Dean Hutchinson. Through Chill Don’t Kill, organizes annual rallies and “Holla at the Hood,” which offers dinner and encouragement to local residents. A youth mentor and advocate who established a long-term, ongoing chess club for young men and young women. An active contributor to dawa and food distribution services ongoing at Detroit’s Al-Hijrah Center and other local Islamic Centers. As a young adult, studied Islam under the guidance of several mentors, including Imam Luqman Abdullah at Masjid Al-Haqq. Pursued religious education via a three-year associate’s program at the Miftaah Institute in Warren, Michigan, specializing in Arabic morphology and the Islamic sciences.
Letitia Muhammad: A 30 year member Nation of Islam Community Member and Student in the Ministry, Muhammad Mosque #1, Detroit. A licensed business owner and business owner. Participant and contributor to many events and services at Muhammad Mosque #1. Has been involved in community activism, volunteer work with youth and the disadvantaged of our communities, women's causes, domestic violence shelters. Has worked to gather supplies and resources to help human trafficking victims. Currently involved in a City of Detroit program through ARPA to aid over 300 citizens in completing their high school education and obtain job training.
Student Minister Troy Muhammad: Nation of Islam Minister leading Muhammad Mosque #1. Serves as Michigan State Representative for Minister Louis Farrakhan. Organizes various community programs to foster religious education and distribution of food and other services to vulnerable Detroit communities. Plays a key role in organizing Saviours' Day in Detroit. Fostering unity and outreach within the Muslim community and within interfaith initiatives. Has facilitated jobs for over 200 formerly incarcerated men. Has aided numerous young people through activities operated out of Muhammad Mosque #1 and in tandem with affiliated direct service agencies.
Hamidullah Daniel Mujahid MMgt, Conductor, Let Their Arise Out of You Band. A decades-long student and friend of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed who was born in Detroit and raised in Highland Park, Michigan. Discovered his passion for music at Henry Ford Middle School and Highland Park Community High School by playing the keyboard, joining the vocal choir, and forming a band with peers. Bachelor's degree in natural resources administration from Michigan State University. Master’s degree in management information system from Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. As part of a prestigious career in the auto industry, challenged white supremacy structures by integrating Islamic principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion into policy-making work, some of which were adopted by Fortune 500 companies. An musical artist and activist who believes that music offers a vehicle for different opinions, perspectives, and ways of life to come together and create change.
Reverend Barry Randolph: Pastor, Church of the Messiah in Detroit. An Episcopalian priest and activist who has expanded the church extensively, especially in terms of drawing young African-American men as new congregants. Executive Director for Building Leaders for Village Development Harambee. This cluster of free public social services connected to the church includes a senior food pantry, a fitness and nutrition program, an after-school program for elementary school children, and computer literacy program for middle and high school children. Board Member of Church of the Messiah Housing Corporation, a CDC providing affordable housing to nearly 400 residents. Co-founder of Citizens United For Safety, a grassroots organization bringing together local government, law enforcement, business leaders, religious organizations, and residents to combat crime and foster pride in the neighborhoods. Spearheaded Grow Town, the Church of the Messiah’s intergenerational urban farming program.
Imam Tauheed A. Rashad: Resident Imam, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, Detroit. Currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry in Islamic Leadership Program at Bayan Islamic Graduate School, Chicago Theological Seminary. A Detroit-based religious leader with an enduring history of involvement in the metro Detroit Muslim community and the Community of Imam W. D. Mohammed. Before becoming Resident Imam of Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, served as an Assistant Imam of Masjid Wali Muhammad and as Resident Imam of Masjid Al-Ihklas. Holds Associate’s degrees in Applied Science and Muslim World Political Studies, a Bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern Studies and Arabic Language, and certificates of studies from the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM) and the Institute for Arabic and Islamic Sciences in America. Also attended Islamic American University in Southfield, MI.
Malia Kai Salaam, BFA: Board Secretary, Center for Islamic Knowledge (COIK-Detroit), Reentry Career Center Manager, Detroit At Work. A career activist who facilitates workforce development programs for citizens transitioning from prison. Board Secretary for the COIK-Detroit who plays a strong role fostering faith-based services in Detroit’s Muslim community, especially promoting spiritual knowledge and practices related to the Tijani Sufi community. A proud parent of a son diagnosed with autism who strives to bring awareness to the Muslim community about the challenges experienced by families with children on the autism spectrum and has published articles on this topic. A second-generation Muslim who attended an African-centered school called Aisha Shule and the Sister Clara Muhammad school in Detroit. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Howard University, creates visual art inspired by Islam, beauty, motherhood, and femininity.
Reverend Daniel Smith MA, MDiv: Pastor, Messiah Baptist Church, Grand Rapids. Holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Counseling from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Pastor Smith serves as the Senior Pastor of Messiah Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, the city's oldest African-American Baptist Church. Currently pursuing a Doctoral of Ministry degree at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. A second-generation pastor committed to advocating for under-represented communities through biblical preaching and leadership. A musical artist who cultivated his musical talents in the traditional Black Baptist church. An entrepreneur whose company, “World Premier Music,” reflects an appreciation of many musical genres, including the styles of Motown. Pursued Seminary studies at Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan.
Reverend Robert Smith Jr. MDiv: Pastor, New Bethel Baptist Church. With a calling to spread the news of Jesus Christ, has preached for over five decades in pulpits, stadiums, and convention centers across the United States and abroad. Earned a Master of Divinity from New Orleans Theological Seminary. Continued graduate studies at Drew University and Houston Theological Seminary. A native of Pensacola, Florida, and the third of ten siblings born to the late Pastor Robert Sr. and Ollie Mae Smith, received his early education in Pensacola before graduating from Western-Olin High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Smith pursued his undergraduate degree at Miles College, earning his Bachelor of Science. Maintains an enduring involvement with Detroit-based neighborhood revitalization work, and provisioning people in need with food, clothing, and shelter. Renowned for ministering to advance peace and justice, with a vision spanning both local and global concerns.
Reverend Richard R. White III, MDiv: Pastor, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Detroit andPresident, Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity. A lifelong Detroiter, born into a family deeply rooted in ministry. Holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology. Licensed to preach at 17, became an associate minister at 20 and later pastor of Greater Marion Chapel Missionary Baptist Church at 23 years old. Assumed leadership role at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 2015. As President of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity, oversees this Baptist body of pastoral leadership, which was developed for the development, training, and spiritual support of local pastors and ministers and for cultivating leadership in developing faith-based responses to social justice issues within the community at large. The Council uses its platform to recommend associate pastors by assisting and encouraging them in various fields of Christian ministry and social change.
Shaykh AbdulKarim Yayha: Shaykh of Dar Al-Rahma, a center for Islamic worship, study, and service in Detroit. Leads classes and worship, fosters neighborhood revitalization initiatives, and organizes efforts to provide food and services for local residents in need. Studied Islamic sciences in Syria and Yemen. Learned directly from Habib Umar bin Hafiz at Dar al-Mustafa in Tarim, Yemen, and later served as an Arabic-to-English translator for this prominent scholar.. Born and raised in Berkeley, California, embraced Islam when he was seventeen years old, after reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” A leader who stresses the importance of strengthening interracial and inter-ethnic ties among members of the Muslim community in Detroit, and the key roles played by charity and service in religious devotion.

Thank You To Our Sponsoring Agency

Meet the collaborators

Associate Professor

Public Theology

United Lutheran Seminary


Meet the collaborators

Ph.D., Ethics and Society

Graduate Department of Religion

Vanderbilt University


This convening has been sponsored by a subgrant from the Henry Luce Foundation’s “Toward a Common Public Life” initiative.  We are grateful to all participants from this initiative, and particularly to Rev. Dr. Teresa L. Smallwood, Co-Investigator for “Toward a Common Public Life,” who facilitated sponsorship for the convening. We also wish to extend our appreciation to Dr. Geran Lorraine, a representative from “Toward a Common Public Life,” who is joining us in Detroit for the convening.

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"The true life that God wants for all people—not one people—their true life is a life of cooperation… community life!"
- Imam W.D. Mohammed