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Invited Speakers

  • Senior Imam, President and Chairman of the Board of the Islamic Society of Central Florida

    Imam Muhammad Musri serves as the Senior Imam, President and Chairman of the Board of the Islamic Society of Central Florida (ISCF) since 1993. ISCF is a Muslim community organization which operates 10 mosques in Central Florida.

    He is the President and chairman of the Board of Leaders Preparatory School. A full-time Accredited school, (grades K-12th), and the Horizons childcare & Learning Center.

    He is the President of the Muslim Social Services, offering free healthcare clinic for the poor and uninsured, job placement services, food pantries distributing free food to needy families, and Zakat assistance.

    He is the President of the Peace Institute, which establishes Centers for Peace to conduct outreach programs and services, and which partners with various religious, government, civic, academic and business organizations to promote Peace, Justice and Respect among all people.

    Imam Musri is an advisor on Islam and Muslims to various agencies of the U.S. government. Imam Musri was successful in stopping the “Florida Pastor” from “Burning the Qur’an” in 2010.

    He is a member of the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council since 2005, served under Governors Jeb Bush, Charlie Christ and Rick Scott.

    In 2009, he was appointed by Governor Charlie Christ to the Governor’s Complete Count Committee for the 2010 Census for the State of Florida.

    Imam Musri is also active in interfaith work and public service. He is a member and past co-chairman of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida’s Advisory Board.

    He is a member of the Council of Clergy for Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer.

    He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Peace & Justice Initiative at Valencia College.

    He is a member of the Interfaith Advisory Council for the Orange County Public Schools.

    Imam Musri is a national speaker on various topics about Islam, religious diversity, interfaith work, and the history and culture of the Middle East at universities, colleges and other forums.

    Imam Musri is routinely interviewed, representing American Muslims, by national and international Radio and TV channels. And he has been the subject of many articles in newspapers and magazines in print and online nationally and around the world. He produced a weekly television program titled, ‘ISLAM’, on Brighthouse Networks Cable since 2006. And, he is a co-host of “The Three Wise Guys” weekly radio program on WMFE 90.7 FM, the NPR affiliate public radio station.

     

  • Imam Magid is the Imam of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia. He is the chairman of International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC). Imam Magid served as the President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Under his direction, the ADAMS Center has grown to be one of the largest Muslim community organizations in the Washington Metropolitan Area. He also occupies the

    Chairmanship of the Fairfax County Faith Communities in Action, and a Chaplin of George Mason University Campus Ministry. He is also the Vice Chairman of Muflehun, a think tank, which focuses on confronting violent extremist thought through research-driven preventative programs within a religious paradigm.

     

    Imam Magid has a long history of commitment to public service through organizations, such as The Peaceful Families Project.

     

    Imam Magid has co-authored three books “Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples” “Reflections on the Qur’an” “Change from within”. He has helped training and workshops for Imams and religious leaders, domestically and internationally, on the issue of violence against women. Imam Magid is leading an initiative to protect religious minorities in Muslim majority countries, through a series of

    conferences. He has written for the Washington Post and Huffington Post, and been profiled in Time

    Magazine and Wall Street Journal. He is the recipient for the Washingtonian of the Year 2009 and the

    Human Rights Award 2005 from Fairfax County.

     

  • Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder of Zaytuna College, located in Berkeley, CA., and also teaches Islamic law and history. He obtained a BA summa cum laude in International Relations at American University in Washington D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science from Rutgers University.

     

    Co-founder and Imam of Masjid al-Islam from 1988 to 1994, he taught political science and Arabic at Southern Connecticut State University, columnist for the New Haven Register, co-founded the Tri-State Muslim Education Initiative, the Connecticut Muslim Coordinating Committee, and spear-headed a community renewal and grassroots anti- drug effort. He served as an interfaith council Chaplain at Yale University and developed the Chaplaincy Sensitivity Training for physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital. In 1994, he departed for Syria to further his studies in the traditional Islamic Sciences. Studying Arabic, Islamic Law, Quranic studies, and Islamic spirituality for seven years in Syria, and briefly in Morocco, with some of the top Muslim scholars of our age, he graduated from Syria's prestigious Abu Noor University in 2001 with a BA in Islamic Studies and returned to Connecticut to continue his community activism.

     

    That same year, he began writing and speaking frequently on a host of issues. He translated from Arabic into English Ibn Rajab’s The Heirs of the Prophets, published by Starlatch Press. In 2005, Zaytuna Institute published Scattered Pictures: Reflections of An American Muslim, an anthology of diverse essays penned by him. In 2008, Imam Zaid authored an award-winning text, Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance, a translation and commentary on Imam Harith al-Muhasibi’s work, Risala al-Mustarshideen, and NID Publishers released Where I’m Coming From: The Year In Review in 2010, which is a collection of his essays concerning ideas and personalities shaping the news.

     

    Trained in both the academic and religious intellectual traditions, Imam Zaid is uniquely qualified as a commentator on the substantial issues of our time. And, he brings clarity of mind and engaging honesty to even the most controversial issues. Imam Shakir has been invited to lecture at several prominent universities including Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Rutgers, and Temple University. As a compelling force for the improvement of race relations in America, and amongst the most respected global Islamic scholars, The New York Times describes him as a “leading intellectual light."

     

    He has served as an advisor to many organizations and influential leaders. As a gifted author and lecturer, Imam Zaid Shakir recently was ranked as “one of the most influential Scholars” in the West; by The 500 Most Influential Muslims, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin, (2009).

     

  • Dr. Sherman Jackson is the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture, Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), and the author of several books. He was formerly the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Visiting Professor of Law and Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Dr. Jackson received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.

     

    He is a co-founder, Core Scholar, and member of the Board of Trustees of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM), an academic institution where scholars, professionals, activists, artists, writers, and community leaders come together to develop strategies for the future of Islam in the modern world. Additionally, Dr. Jackson is a former member of the Fiqh Council of North America, former President of the Shari'ah Scholars' Association of North America (SSANA) and a past trustee of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). Dr. Jackson is listed among the top ten experts on Islam in America and was named among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.

     

  • Lobna “Luby” Ismail , founder and president of Connecting Cultures, LLC,  is an inspirational speaker and powerful trainer with over twenty years of experience. Luby’s reputation is as an intercultural expert on Arab, American and Muslim cultures to engage for business and peace building.

     

    Identified as the go-to intercultural Arab and Muslim expert by Walt Disney World, Wells Fargo, Red Lobster, Beauty and the Best World Tour Productions, US Army, US Departments of State and Justice, Lobna “Luby” Ismail is a seasoned, powerful workshop trainer and keynoter for conferences and events.  Ranked high as a keynoter and expert, Luby is often noted by her audiences as “the most dramatic and effective presentation ever experienced”.

     

    Her engaging presentations offer applicable tips to overcome bias and other challenges in diverse workplaces and international business. Luby presents innovative and gripping techniques that grasp her audiences for lifelong learning.  Along with her knowledge, her compelling and enthusiastic personal style weaves in her own life experiences.  More recently, she advocates into her work “diverse-ABILITY” based on her personal experience living with Multiple Sclerosis.

     

    She will lead you to examine how to actively work as a change agent around the cultural complexities connected to anxiety, fears, and bias.    Luby provides in-depth and credible briefings and trainings based on intercultural models and best practices to address the critical skills to engage across cultures and faiths.   Luby has published on Arab Cultures and Cultural Competence. Watch her in productions First Three to Five Seconds and American Muslims Facts not Fiction

     

    Selected as a Peace Fellow for Seeds of Peace and a Malone Fellow in Middle East and Islamic Studies by the National Council for U.S. and Arab Relations. She is a sought after keynoter and presenter at conferences around the world including Human Capital Forum in South America, the Arabian Society for Human Resource Management Conference and the Society for Human Resources.  Luby is an integral visionary for My Fellow American, America’s Unofficial Ambassadors and  20,000 Dialogues stimulates dialogue across faiths to promote positive pluralism.

     

    Luby acquired a Master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a B.A. in International Service from The American University in Washington, DC and was the selected commencement speaker.   She has traveled and spoke throughout Europe, including Bosnia and Croatia, and Arab nations, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Jordan, Palestine and Israel and recently in Peru, Singapore, Colombia, and Mexico.

     

    Luby’s clients include Federal and State agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and private corporations including Microsoft, Walt Disney World, U.S. Department of Justice, Campbell Soup Company, CVS, Darden, King Abdullah University for Science and Technology, Foreign Service Institute, Shell Chemicals, Institute of International Education, Brookhaven National Laboratories, and Nike to name a few.

     

    She is a member of National Speakers Association, Toastmasters International.  Luby is on the Board for MSDreaMakerS and America’s Unofficial Ambassadors.  She received the 2012 Arab American Anti-Discrimination Honoring the Achievements of Extraordinary Arab-American Women Award.

    Mother of Three, Sharif, Zakaria and Laila the driving force for her life and work.

     

  • Steven Engel currently serves as Rabbi of Congregation of Reform Judaism (CRJ), a Reform synagogue affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Along with his focus on teaching, pastoral and liturgical responsibilities, he has brought his unique vision for building a synagogue where the rabbi is a partner with the leadership and members and where the focus is on meaningful relationships built through study, prayer and action. His congregants note his energy and enthusiasm, benefit from his incredible focus and creativity, and appreciate his wisdom about how religious institutions function. As the Rabbi of Central Florida’s largest Reform Jewish congregation,  he is involved outside of CRJ in the Jewish and secular communities as well.

    • Rabbi Engel received a B.A. in Physics from Rutgers University, a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and Rabbinic Ordination from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1988. After ordination he served as Associate Rabbi in Columbus Ohio. He then became the spiritual leader of Mississippi’s  largest congregation where he was actively involved in local and state civic and political affairs and was often called upon to represent the Jewish community of Mississippi.  While there he successfully challenged the Governor on issues related to religious diversity and hate crimes.  He received Mississippi’s most prestigious leadership award from the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference and citations from the Governor and Mayor making May 12th “Rabbi Steven W. Engel Day” in the state of Mississippi and in city of Jackson. He has been prominent on the national scene as well having appeared in national media including The New York Times, USA Today, US News & World Report, CNN and on the Today Show.

    He has most notably facilitated groups and created programs dealing with issues of support. These groups have included: support groups for interfaith couples, for grieving families, and for parents to deal with teen issues including suicide. He served as adjunct professor of religion at Millsaps College, on various Bio-Ethics Committees, on several committees of his Professional Rabbinic Organization (CCAR), as the Rabbinic Co-Chair of the Reform Movement’s Israel Organization (ARZA), as President of his regional Rabbinic Organization (SEACCAR), and as President of the Greater Orlando Board of Members (GOBOR).

    His academic interests include: American Jewish history and American Jewish Fiction in the 20th Century, Jewish Text Study and Ethics. His Rabbinic thesis was entitled “A Critical Psychobiography of Kivie Kaplan Against the Backdrop of Black-Jewish Relations in the 20tth Century”. Rabbi Engel has also been actively involved in Social Concerns twice serving as President of  Stewpot Community Services,  Jackson MS’s largest social service agency, and was co-founder of “The Feed The Homeless Breakfast” program in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. He was one of four founders of the Amos Network, an interfaith community organizing group and CRJ has a myriad of programs to helping those in need in Central Florida. He is currently involved in bringing together the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities for dialogue and interfaith programs.

    Rabbi Engel is married to Beverly, a gerontologist and they have three children. He loves his work as a Rabbi as he constantly finds it challenging and invigorating.

     

  • Fulwider serves as Founding President and CEO of the nonprofit Building US.  During the 2012-13 academic year he was a Visiting Fellow with the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.  He is an ordained minister who has served as a local church Pastor for over 30 years in both the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ.  He has served congregations in Colorado and Arkansas, then in 1999 was called as the 17th Senior Minister of the historic First Congregational Church of Winter Park, Florida where he served for 13 years. Fulwider lectures and writes widely on interfaith and diversity issues,  and among other subjects teaches in areas related to “Inter-Diversity,” “Bowenian Family Systems Theory,” “Process Theology,” leadership and sexual orientation and faith.

     

    In 2012, with his friends and colleagues Rabbi Steve Engel and Imam Muhammad Musri, Fulwider founded and co-hosts the weekly radio show “Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys” (he serves as managing partner for the production company). The program can be heard each Tuesday evening at 6:30 PM on Orlando’s NPR affiliate, 90.7 WMFE. In June of 2012, along with Rabbi Engel and Imam Musri, he founded Building US. For the mission of Building US click here.

     

    Fulwider serves as chairperson of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, as well as a board member of a number of worthy non-profits, including The Innocence Project Florida; Habitat for Humanity Seminole County and Greater Apopka; The Atlantic Institute; Professional Advisory Group, Florida Hospital CPE Program, and is a member of the Host Committee of Equality Florida’s 2015 Greater Orlando Gala.  Fulwider is a “Life Trustee” of the Chicago Theological Seminary.

     

    Bryan has two adult sons and is grandfather to Louisa, a small bundle of luminous joy! He makes his home in Central Florida.

  • Walter Ruby has served as Muslim Jewish Relations Officer at The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding since March 2008. A strong advocate of Muslim-Jewish communication and reconciliation, he organized The Foundation-sponsored First National summit of imams and rabbis in November 2007 in New York. As a career reporter, Ruby covered President Anwar Sadat's historic trip to Jerusalem and the breakup of the Soviet Union. He has served as New York and United Nations correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, and Moscow correspondent for The Jerusalem Post and The Forward. Today, Ruby writes for many newspapers including the New York Jewish Week, and the New York Daily News.

  • Preacher Moss, is an American stand-up comedian and writer. He is best known as one third of comedy trio Allah Made Me Funny.

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