Working to Halt Bigotry in its Tracks

Working in the courts, in the halls of power, and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks.

Our Staff

Board of Directors

Saema Somalya is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Muslim Advocates. She is a lawyer who serves as General Counsel at financial services firm Remitly. She previously was a Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has practiced corporate and securities law for 20 years. Ms. Somalya also served as the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Warren Resources, Inc and as corporate counsel for PepsiCo, Inc., where she held the position of Senior Legal Director and Senior Corporate Counsel (2013-2014) and Legal Director and Corporate Counsel (2009-2013). From 2002 to 2009, Ms. Somalya was an associate with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Linklaters LLP, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University in 1999 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2002.

Astrid D. Vermeer, MBA has been the Treasurer of Muslim Advocates since 2021. Ms. Vermeer brings over 20 years of operational leadership experience in international development. Effective August 2021, Ms. Vermeer will be serving as the Chief Financial & Administrative Officer (CFAO) for Perkins School of the Blind in Watertown, MA. Reporting to the CEO, she will be responsible for the organization, direction, and management of all administrative and business services for Perkins, an international NGO working to help six million children around the world with visual impairments and additional disabilities, the vast majority of whom lack any access to skilled educators or services. On a day-to-day basis, her responsibilities include oversight of Strategic Finance, Accounting, Investments, Audit, Government Relations, Facilities & Security, Food Services, Information Technology, and Legal. With a team of six direct reports, she has responsibility for a team of over 100 professionals who are at the forefront of transforming and establishing best-in-class operations for Perkins focused on business growth, fiscal discipline, and operational excellence. Perkins has an operating budget of ~$100 million and an endowment of ~$350 million. From 2020/2021, Ms. Vermeer served as Chief Financial Officer for World Education Services (WES). Prior to that she served for three and a half years as Chief Financial Officer with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) where she was responsible for overseeing IFES’ financial operations, including ensuring the integrity of accounting processes, internal controls, financial planning, reporting and analysis, budgeting, treasury, payroll, contracts and grants, information technology, and program finance. Prior to joining the American Red Cross, Ms. Vermeer served for ten years with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in numerous financial and operational roles in her native Suriname, Switzerland, USA and Belgium. In Belgium, Ms. Vermeer served as the Chief Operating Officer for WWF’s flagship program, the Global Climate & Energy Initiative (GCEI). Ms. Vermeer also served with Abt Associates Inc. for three years, one of which was in Huambo, Angola where she led the financial operations for the Angola Indoor Residual Spraying project (Angola IRS) in 2012. Ms. Vermeer earned her doctorandus (drs.) degree in Business Economics from the Anton de Kom University in Suriname and a Master of Business Administration in Finance and General Management from Louvain School of Management in Belgium. A citizen of Suriname, Ms. Vermeer is fluent in English and Dutch.

Nahid Aliniazee is a philanthropist and community activist. She sits on the boards of several nonprofits, including El Camino Hospital Foundation, Northwest Suburban College, Developments in Literacy (DIL), and Girls Learn International (Advisory Board), an initiative of the Feminist Majority Foundation. She is also a board member of India Community Center, the largest Indian American community center in North America. She has previously served on the boards of Castilleja School, Islamic Networks Group (ING), and Indian Muslim Relief & Charities (IMRC). In many of her board roles, Ms. Aliniazee has served in a development capacity where she has led numerous fundraising efforts. Her primary areas of interest are women’s rights, minority civil rights, and education.

Ms. Aliniazee received a B.S. from Oregon State University with a major in Education and a M.Ed. from Loyola University in Chicago with a focus on Educational Administration. She joined Berkeley College in New York as the Director for Admissions in 1995 and served as the Dean of Education from 1997-1999.

Mohammad Fadel is the President Emeritus of NAML. He joined the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in January 2006 as an assistant professor teaching business law and Islamic law. Professor Fadel previously was an Associate in the corporate and securities practice in the New York office of the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. He has clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. In addition to his J.D., Professor Fadel holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago.

Osman Hussein is one of the heads of Americas Trading at Tiger Global Management, an investment firm managing $20 billion in public and private investments. Before his tenure at Tiger began in 2008, Mr. Hussein spent four years as a trader with Deutsche Bank in London. Born and raised in London, Mr. Hussein graduated from Imperial College with Bachelors of Science in Mathematics.

Naiel Iqbal is an investment professional at hedge fund Tiger Global Management. He was previously an analyst at Caxton Associates, a macro hedge fund. Prior to these roles, he was a Portfolio Manager in Proprietary Trading at J.P. Morgan in New York. He started his career in the Special Situations Group at Deutsche Bank. Mr. Iqbal graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, he is President of Muppies, the largest non‐profit dedicated to empowering and organizing Muslim business professionals. He is also a Committee Chair for the Penn Alumni Interview Program and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Shahzad A. Malik, formerly a Shareholder & Chair of the Tax Practice at Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth PC, is currently a Partner at Nixon Peabody LLP (Los Angeles). He was previously a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and also practiced at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. His tax practice focuses primarily on merger & acquisition transactions, particularly private equity and technology transactions. During the course of his career, Mr. Malik has worked on transactions with an aggregate enterprise value in excess of $30 billion. He is the primary author of the comprehensive treatise, “Taxation of Securities Transactions.” He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times on various occasions. Mr. Malik is a founding board member of Muslim Advocates.

Rashid Alvi currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer and V.P. of Operations at NovoPath, Inc. Mr. Alvi formerly served as Managing Director of the Harvard Capital Group. Prior to his post at the Harvard Capital group, Mr. Alvi was the Deputy Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP) at Harvard Law School. Prior to Harvard Capital Group and ILSP, at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, Mr. Alvi specialized in mergers and acquisitions. He then moved to Wall Street, working at Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. He subsequently joined Acro Healthcare, LLC, a privately held start-up company in the specialty pharmaceuticals industry, in an executive capacity. After helping the company grow, Mr. Alvi advised on its sale to Lincare, Inc., a public company. Following the sale of Acro, Mr. Alvi worked as a principal at a boutique business advisory firm, where he continues to consult from time to time. Mr. Alvi holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, an M.A. from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. from Binghamton University.

Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad is the founder and president of Muslim Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healing and emotional well-being in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and training. She also serves as the Fellow for Spirituality, Wellness and Social Justice at the University of Pennsylvania and advisor for Penn Sapelo, the first Black Muslim Student organization on campus. Ms. Rashad is a founding member of Muslims Make It Plain, a coalition of concerned Muslims working to inspire, empower and support grass roots mobilization and direct action to address police brutality, racial & religious profiling, unlawful surveillance and the overpolicing of America’s Black & Brown communities.

She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology and MEd in Psychological Services. She has pursued further graduate education, completing a second Masters in Restorative Practices & Youth Counseling from the International Institute for Restorative Practices and obtaining a post-Masters certificate in Family Therapy from the Philadelphia Child & Family Therapy Training Center. Kameelah is a certified instructor in Adult, Higher Education & Youth Mental Health First Aid. She is pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.

Advisory Council

  • Ali Diab

    CEO, CollectiveHealth

    Menlo Park, CA

  • Wayel Kaakaji


    Munster, IN

  • Amber Khan

    Principal, AK Consulting

    Washington, DC

  • Shafiq Khan

    Senior Vice President eCommerce, Marriott International

    Gaithersburg, MD

  • Mohammad Ali Naquvi

    CEO of Meditors Consulting and Advocacy Director of the Mohsena Memorial Foundation

    Princeton, NJ

  • Dr. Aaliya Yaqub

    Medical Founder of Simple Healthkit and angel investor and Clinical Faculty at Stanford School of Medicine

    San Francisco, CA

  • Alan Iijima

    Development Manager, UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center

    Oakland, CA

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