CAIR-LA is pleased to feature Atif Akbar as the SoCal Muslim of the Week.

Atif Akbar wishes he knew now what he didn’t 25 years ago. It’s why he takes such zeal in sharing his adventures with Muslim youth throughout Southern California.

“I wish back in the ’90s there were people to guide me and help me to not make the same mistakes some of these kids make,” said Akbar, who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan as a 20-year-old student in 1991. “Many of the parents here turn to us middle-aged men so that we can provide some life experiences and share our experiences of living and our religious experiences.”

Akbar is an accountant and also works as a realtor at Coldwell Banker. On weekends, he educates youths and teens at an Islamic school in Simi Valley.

“We teach them why and what the Creator asks,” Akbar said. “It allows them to learn basic Islamic creed, what is permissible and how to be a good practicing Muslim. Some of us came from a certain society and came here as immigrants. What the kids see growing up here is a little bit different.”

Akbar frequently delivers khutbahs for mosques in the area and conducts Islamic wedding and funeral ceremonies. He volunteers for Islamic Relief, Saba Homes and CAIR-LA, the latter of which allows him to accompany students to the annual Muslim Day at the Capitol (MDAC) in Sacramento.

Akbar also is involved in various interfaith activities mainly in the San Fernando Valley.

Personal: Akbar and his wife, Asfareen, live with their two daughters in Simi Valley.

Last book read: The Noble Qur’an

Quotable: “When I look at (Congresswomen) Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, these are young people who came here as refugees and succeeded. I want to help the youths here get engaged more so we can have plenty of more Rashida Tlaibs and Ilhan Omars.”