Election 2018


Candidate Bios

Najla Abdullah

Sr Najla and her family have called the Clifton Masjid their home masjid for 30 years. She took her shahada 40 years ago in the Cincinnati community and has been studying and attending halaqas since. Sr. Najla has lived and been a part of the Chicago and Columbus Muslim community.  She has been volunteering and contributing to the Clifton masjid since 2015. She served on the social services, social events, membership and elections committees. Sr. Najla also organizes tea time. She used to organized the Thursday iftars and was a volunteer server during Ramadan 2017. Her time in Chicago and Columbus gives her a fresh perspective on how communities can operate. She has seen the community grow and hopes to help the community continue to build on its legacy into the future. She wants to be able to make a difference in the community by serving on the board.

Rashad Abdullah
Education:  Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from The College of Mount St. Joseph. Associate's Degree in Applied Science from Cincinnati State.

Employment: Currently employed at UC Health, working in the Psychiatry Department as a Mental Health Specialist.  I previously worked for Cincinnati Children's Hospital also as a Mental Health Specialist.  Before working in Health Care, I taught fourth grade and fifth grade English at Manarat Al-Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. 

Community: I have been an active member of the Cincinnati Muslim Community for more than 30 years.  I served on the Clifton Masjid Board from 2013 thru 2015.  I was also past Chairman of the Maintenance Committee, and currently I serve on the Social Services Committee overseeing the Janaza Fund.  The first Friday of every month, I sign up members as well as collect funds to pay for our communities burial expenses.  Lastly, I am involved in addressing Maintenance issues in the Masjid Al Hamdulillah.

Tala Ali
A daughter of immigrants, Tala Mohammad Ali grew up in inner-city Cincinnati and identifies as a proud Cincinnatian. She currently serves as Muslim Chaplain and as staff support of justice programming at Xavier University. A founder of Salaam Community, Tala served as board member of the organization for 7 years. She currently serves Salaam Community as its program manager. Tala was also a founding board member of CAIR-OH-Cincinnati for 7 years, working to hire its current executive director and establish the city office. She is a passionate and present member of the Cincinnati community, involved in various justice and equitable initiatives and movements. She has over 15 years of experience working with non-profit, community organizations, and political campaigns.  

Tala is a longtime member and attendee of Clifton Mosque and holds its community close to her heart. She is a passionate advocate for creating nurturing and inclusive spaces in the Muslim community, where a diverse spectrum of people not only feel safe, but want to be a part of. Tala hopes to share her expertise in strategic planning, non-profit development and community organization to the Clifton Mosque Board.

Ibrahim Amidou
IBRAHIM AMIDOU, PhD. Adjunct Assistant Professor at UC and Miami University. Author and researcher in Humanities. I teach French and Francophone Literatures, Cultures and Civilizations, French Enlightenments, Postcolonial Africa, English Composition and Ethnic American Literature.

Owner of a Private firm of Translation and Interpretation, Immigrants and Refugees Advocate. I have been with Clifton Mosque since 1991 and currently a volunteer, Vice-Chair of the Social Services Committee. I have also served, for the past few years, as member-volunteer of the (Ramadan) Iftar dinner committee. I am married and a father of five.

Geoff Calvert
Geoff Calvert is a physician who has lived in Cincinnati for 31 years (born and raised in northeastern Ohio). Since moving to Cincinnati, he has been employed by the United States Government at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There he is a productive and successful leader who is responsible for protecting Americans from workplace health and safety hazards. Currently, his work involves ensuring that the responders and residents directly impacted by the 9/11 NYC World Trade Center terrorist attack receive health care to address their attack-related illnesses. 

 For 25 years, Dr. Calvert has lived less than one kilometer from the mosque. He converted to Islam 10 years ago and is honored to be married to a Pakistani native. For the past 10 years, he has been the "mayor" on his private street, which involves handling the street's affairs and fostering strong neighbor communication. At the Islamic Association of Cincinnati (IAC), he served on the Board from 2013-2015, and at that time was the Secretary and lead the maintenance committee. He would be honored to again serve on the IAC Board. The skills he brings are that he is a good listener, organizer, and has excellent relations with the nearby Clifton community.  In addition to helping IAC become stronger, more cohesive and more transparent, he would like, with your help, to assist the IAC to become the most exemplary neighbor by shining out the love, kindness, and generosity taught by our faith, MashaAllah.

Serry Hassan
Dr. Serry Hassan has been a community member since 1969 and has been an active member at the Clifton Mosque and volunteer since then. He does this work for the sake of Allah and he strives to please Allah.

Dr. Serry Hassan has been the principal and leader of the Islamic Weekend School of Clifton for several years, working to educate our youth in Islam. His volunteering is valuable to the daily function of the mosque.

Majid Qureshi
Dr Qureshi came to the United States from Pakistan in late 1958. By profession, he is a surgeon. He was one of three people who registered the Islamic Association of Cincinnati in the 1960's and began Cincinnati's first-ever mosque (a home on Fairview Avenue). In 1980, he helped the community transition to the existing Clifton Mosque (a house on Clifton Avenue). He also played a vital role in purchasing the land needed for the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester.

In the early 1990's, Dr Qureshi saved Clifton Mosque from being sold due to his conviction that the community needed to maintain a mosque in Clifton even if we had a large facility in West Chester. Every day, he began his daily work as a surgeon by first praying fajr at the masjid. In 2003, the existing larger Clifton Mosque, the white structure, was built adjacent to the initial house.

Without Dr Qureshi's generous financial support, this would have never happened. Dr Qureshi has been committed to the Muslim community in Cincinnati for over 50 years; his foresight, vision, and resources have always served Muslim causes here.

Suleiman Refaei
Suleiman Refaei has been a member of the Cincinnati Islamic community for over 30 years. He has raised six children. Before coming to Cincinnati, Suleiman graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University. At the Jesuit University he had to take courses in theology & comparative religion. These courses helped him to better understand American culture and gave him insights into how to talk with his coworkers, friends, and family about Islam. Suleiman is dedicated to understanding people from different backgrounds. If he becomes a board member, Suleiman Refaei will focus on developing a greater sense of community among the various groups at the masjid. He also wants to make sure the rules and regulations for the masjid's operation are clear and easily understood by all its members, board and staff.  Suleiman believes in rewards and clear accountability.  Finally, respect is earned not given.

Mohammed Shamma
Mohammed Shamma was Born in Cairo, Egypt. He received his undergraduate degree from Cairo University, a MS From The University of Californina, Berkeley and a Ph.D in Management Science from SMU Dallas Texas. He is married and has 5 children.

He has been involved with the local Muslim community and national Muslims Students Association and the Islamic Society of North America since 1969. He was chairman of the National Muslim Students association in 1970, the first business manager of the National Islamic Muslim Trust, and the first business administrator of ISNA in the mid seventies.

He has been active in the local community at the same time as he has been active nationally. Besides attending many international conferences representing the Muslims of North America, he has served many times as chairman of the board of the IAC. He was instrumental in bringing IBS (Islamic Book Services) to Cincinnati in the 70's.

Professionally he was a professor at the University of Cinncinnati College of Business and also taught in the School of Economics at the International Islamic Uninversity for two years. He continues to be active in business ventures

Zeeshan Tayeb
Zeeshan Tayeb is a native of Cincinnati and attended Sunday school over 20 years in the original Clifton Mosque house. He is now a practicing physician, and nationally-renowned instructor, in the field of Pain Management.

Since moving back to Cincinnati after doctoral training in 2011, he has been an active member of the Clifton's Muslim community. He has served on the Election Committee and Interim Board for Clifton Mosque in 2013.

Over the past two years, he chaired the By-Laws Committee while also volunteering in other committees. His family recently moved to the Clifton area within walking distance of the mosque, allowing him to attend daily prayers there.

Sherif Zihni
Dr Sherif Zihni : Born in Egypt 1975. Moved to Queens, New York as an infant in 1976. Grew up in a happy family with 3 siblings and many members of extended family living in a small warm home. Has been happily living in Ohio for the past 8 years alhamdulillah. 

Dr Zihni practices addiction medicine full time and urgent care part time at several locations in Cincinnati.

Dr Sherif Zihni loves the Clifton masjid and community and lives with his wife and four children a few minutes walk from the masjid.

He plans on being a part of this community for many years inshallah and would like to serve the community on the board of the Clifton Masjid.