1. Of the 22 countries you’ve been to, which has been the most memorable?
Visiting the Cham people (minority Muslims) in Vietnam. Even though we had no connection other than Islam, they made me feel like a part of their family. It was very moving for me and it highlighted a sense of global Muslim brotherhood.
2. So how do you like Tucson so far?
I haven’t been able to explore much of it yet because I’ve been so busy. But I hope to travel more when I get a car….I’d like to see the Grand Canyon.
3. Tell more about your position. What are you responsible for?
Everything that nobody else is; which is a lot. My contract says “Consultant”, but people have called me everything from secretary to assistant Imam. I need to start making a firm boundary because the undefined nature keeps bringing me stuff that I’m not supposed to deal with.
4. What are some of the projects that you’re working on right now?
My favorite one is the Muslim Mentors Workshop, it’s really good because we have people who want to learn how to mentor new Muslims as well as people who are just beginning their journey into Islam and it’s building up a Muslim identity for both of them. Saturday Morning I’ve been doing classes with the youth, I just got access to work on the website (ICT), I enjoy working with my interns and I’ve been conducting a lot of other mini-events.
The biggest challenge is that I don’t have another person to always work with me. So I’m kind of a lone ranger a lot of the time. But Alhamdu Lilah, it’s made me more dependant on Allah, so that’s good too.
5. By the time you leave, what do you hope you accomplish for the ICT?
My biggest gauge of success is when a community becomes self-generating; meaning the scholars and teachers they have become sufficient enough to produce the next generation of scholars and teachers.
I hope Tucson becomes a place where the youth can come to the ICT and leave as leaders for the next generation. And just like the Cham people in Vietnam made me feel, I want anyone that walks through the doors of the ICT to feel welcomed and appreciated. And once that happens, my goals have been met.