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.
HONORING SAN DIEGO'S MUSLIM LEADERS | AUGUST 2021 - Week 1
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.
HONORING SAN DIEGO'S MUSLIM LEADERS | AUGUST 2021 - Week 2
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!
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 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!
HONORING SAN DIEGO'S MUSLIM LEADERS | AUGUST 2021 - Week 3
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 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!
HONORING SAN DIEGO'S MUSLIM LEADERS | AUGUST 2021 - Week 4
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.