Thanks to the efforts of CAIR California offices and community leaders across the state, the month of August will now be recognized as Muslim Appreciation Month in California! This recognition is another building block for our communities to gain a stronger collective voice, and to be acknowledged for our community’s contributions to California.

Below you’ll read about the proclamation CAIR San Diego received by the County and our recognition of community leaders across San Diego.

On August 31, 2021, CAIR San Diego was honored by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to have August designated as Muslim Appreciation Month, in conjunction with the state of California!

Our Director (Tazheen Nizam) spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting and humbly accepted this proclamation alongside our team and community leaders (Sr. Ameerah Abdullah, Br. Aziz Purmul, Br. Omar Hassaine and Officer Homayoun Nabizadeh), it is an important step in recognizing the many contributions the Muslim community has made across San Diego county. We also asked for the Board of Supervisors’ continued commitment to the Muslim community by providing social services to the incoming Afghan refugees so they too can call San Diego their home. On behalf of the Muslim community, we thank the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for demonstrating the county’s commitment to inclusivity and equity.








Homayra Yusufi

Homayra Yusufi grew up in San Diego but was born in war-torn Afghanistan. Her family immigrated to the United States during the Cold War and she’s called San Diego home ever since. Ms. Yusufi has spent the past five years working as a policy expert at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) focusing on immigration and education policy. Ms. Yusufi completed her masters in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. She recently chose to become a stay at home mom but could not stay away for too long. She currently serves as the Deputy Director of PANA.

May be an image of 1 person and standing

Shaykh Abdeljalil Mezgouri
Shaykh Abdeljalil Mezgouri is the Imam of the Islamic Center of San Diego. He is known as a prolific and dynamic speaker who dedicates himself as a tireless supporter of the Islamic cause. Shaykh Mezgouri is known amongst Muslims in North America as a passionate supporter and speaker with Islamic Relief, CAIR, MAS and many other Islamic organizations. He is also known for his active involvement with the Muslim youth of America.

Arwa Alkhawaja
Arwa Alkhawaja is a community organizer, educator, certified leadership/executive coach, and also a recent graduate of the University of San Diego’s Masters in Leadership Studies Program.
She has 20 years of experience teaching at the Bright Horizon Academy/Islamic School of San Diego (ISSD) and is a key member of the San Diego Muslim community. She has worked with the ISSD school board to help improve education outcomes and modernize the curriculum. As an educator at ISSD.
Sister Arwa also helped pioneer an outreach program for visiting public-school students that gave their students the experience and leadership training necessary to be the very best advocates of their communities’ cultures.
MashaAllah, we are privileged to have her in San Diego and benefit from her dedication to the community!
Ghouse Mohammed
Ghouse Mohammed is a software engineer at Qualcomm, but he wears many other hats through his volunteer work for the San Diego Muslim community.
He is the chairperson of the Muslim Leadership Council of San Diego, which developed a warm meals program that supported community members impacted by COVID-19. He also volunteers at the Islamic Center of San Diego (ICSD); you can find him on Fridays at ICSD helping people cross the street, check-in for Jummah prayer, supporting community events, and participating in Interfaith services.
His dedication to showing up every week and volunteering his time is remarkable, it reminds us of this hadith from our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “The most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant, even if it were little” [Sahih Bukhari].
Also, anyone who has met br. Ghouse would agree that he does eveything with a smile and with humility, a beautiful trait that our Prophet (PBUH) exemplified and encouraged.
Br. Ghouse, thank you for your dedication and service to our community!
Laila Aziz

Laila Aziz is the Director of Operations with Pillars of the Community San Diego. She has spent most of her life in Southeast San Diego and is a staunch advocate for Black and Brown communities. She has grown up with the traumatic experience of being stopped and searched and even handcuffed by police officers without any probable cause.
Her experiences have also equipped her with the realities of the justice system and fueled her passion for grassroots community service work and restorative justice. Sr. Laila focuses her efforts on the importance of funding youth violence prevention programs, defunding and reforming local law enforcement, addressing the root causes of poverty, criminal justice reform, and more.

Thank you Sr. Laila for your dedication to the people of Southeast San Diego!

Ameerah Abdullah

Ameerah Abdullah Is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Masjidul Taqwa San Diego. She is the daughter of Yusuf Abdullah, one of the founders of Masjid Taqwa. She was raised in the Nation of Islam before converting to Orthodox Islam. From her time in the Nation of Islam, she was raised up to be proud of her African American heritage at a time when racism against the Black community was rampant, and that confidence has stuck with her ever since. She had also worked for Elijah Muhammad as a Secretary.
In her youth, she witnessed her father and uncles being arrested for preaching Islam, the women of the community stepped up to keep the Masjid open and keep the community operations going. This was an important experience for her to see the leadership of women in her community. This experience along with countless others has shaped the resolve and work ethic of Sr. Ameerah.

MashaAllah, we are blessed to have her as a pillar in the Masjidul Taqwa and San Diego community!

Saima Nasim

Saima Nasim has years of experience in community work with a continued passion for community involvement with a focus on growth and innovative ideas. Saima has been a member of organizations such as Muslim Youth Council, Manitoba Islamic Association, MSA, and Noor Islamic Center Social Committee. Nasim has also worked at a National level with MYNA and ISNA. While working with multiple organizations and communities, Nasim has planned and led a number of large-scale events. Nasim currently sits on the boards of MCC (Muslim Community Center) as the Education Director and CAIR San Diego. Nasim has established an ongoing part-time Hifz program and co-founded Hikmah Youth Intensive Classes. Nasim has initiated and co-initiated a number of key successful programs throughout San Diego, including the annual community-wide Family Conference; Reclaiming Our Faith.

Nasim is the founder and CEO of Saima Nasim Design, an Interior Design Consulting firm focusing on residential and commercial design. Saima Nasim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Science in Conflict Management and Resolution from the University of San Diego.

Sr. Saima, thank you for your efforts towards our youth and planning engaging events for the community!


Jeanine Subhia:
As a Policy Associate at Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans – PANA, Jeanine leads PANA’s community listening sessions, advocacy campaigns, redistricting efforts and engages the community in PANA’s policy priorities to fight for the economic, social, and civic inclusion of refugee and immigrant communities.
Jeanine holds a B.S. in Public Health Sciences and a B.A. in History from the University of California, Irvine. Jeanine dedicates her free time to volunteering with the Majdal Center – مركز مجدل in El Cajon, a grassroots, locally driven institution, committed to uplifting the Arab community in San Diego through political engagement, advocacy, and cultural programming. She is a passionate advocate for health education and volunteers with HEART, an organization that works to ensure Muslims have the resources, language, and choice to nurture sexual health and confront sexual violence. Jeanine recently completed a certificate program on gender-based violence titled “Caring Communities— Taking on Gender-Based Violence” through the Bayan Islamic Graduate School in Chicago.
Thank you Jeanine for all the work you do, we can’t wait to see what more you accomplish in the years to come!

Imam Saifuddin Sabar:
Imam Saifuddin Sabar grew up in the Bay area and moved to San Diego while completing his Hifz. In 2010, he was appointed the Imam of MCC (Muslim Community Center of San Diego – MCC).
Imam Saif is not only a dedicated Imam, but also a teacher to the community and youth. You will find Imam Saif supporting and helping a multitude of local organizations. His kind demeanor makes him approachable and pleasant to work with all around.
Imam Saif is involved in interfaith work including relationships with various churches and colleges. Imam Saif also consistently visits and works with Muslims in the prison system.
Br. Abdullah Tahiri:

A resident of North County, Abdullah Tahiri lives with his wife and four children in San Marcos. Aside from his Master of Fine Arts degree, Abdullah attained his Advanced Leadership Certificate from the University of Southern California (USC). As a servant and community leader, Abdullah sharpened his leadership skills by attaining another leadership certificate (2020) from Cornell University focusing on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Abdullah Tahiri has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry and over 15 years of leadership and management experience in the same field. Abdullah uses his educational and work experience to serve the community and has been involved with a number of non-profit entities. He is currently the president of the board of directors for Tri-City Islamic Center (TCIC –aka Masjid Al Aziz) in Vista. His non-profit portfolio also includes working for AFDO (Afghanistan Family Development Organization, APRP (Afghanistan Prenatal Relief Project), and AYCA (Co-Founder – Association for Youth and Community Advancement.). He has also served the North County community by volunteering his time and expertise to be of service to all five Masajid/Musallas in North County (Tri-City Islamic Center, Masjid Al Ittehad, Al Nour Center, Escondido, and Carlsbad musallas).
Abdullah Tahiri is also part of a working group (SD-Afghan Refugees Aid) that is trying to coordinate efforts within the Afghan community here in San Diego to assist new arrivals from Afghanistan.
Abdullah Tahiri is an avid reader and in his spare time, he loves spending time with his family and playing billiard! We thank Br. Abdullah for his tireless dedication to serving his community!
Sr. Ismahan Abdullahi:
Sister Ismahan Abdullahi is the Executive Director of MAS-PACE and she also serves on the board of multiple community-based organizations here in San Diego. She is known by many to be one of the most fearless and outspoken leaders in San Diego! When she speaks, people listen. When she speaks, people are moved to action. She is always available to support her community, fighting for their rights and freedoms and working hard to amplify the voices of those who are often shut out of important conversations and decisions.
As a refugee herself, she knows firsthand the impact and importance that equity plays in life; whether it be equitable representation in an election, or equitable access and cost of safe drinking water. Her experiences have also shaped her advocacy and community-building efforts, she has been focused on strengthening the Muslim and Refugee communities in San Diego for over the last 10 years. At the start of 2021, she was appointed to the Board of Directors for the San Diego Water Authority. She has also received numerous accolades in recognition of her work and here are just a few of them; she was recognized by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s office as the 2018 Woman of the Year, she received the Power-Builder Award from the NAACP, and the Youth Adult Ally 2019 award.
Sr. Ismahan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from UC San Diego and a Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in counseling from San Diego State University. Thank you, sr. Ismahan for your courage, determination, and no-quit attitude in support of our community!