Learn More About the Members of Our Academic Organization
Board of Directors
NAAIMS is a 501 (c) (3) Tax-Exempt Organization
Run by a Board of Directors Elected Every Two Years
(Term from 2022-2024)
Sarra Tlili is associate professor of Arabic literature and language at the University of Florida. She obtained her Masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department. Before joining the University of Florida she taught at the American Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute in Tunis, the Middlebury Arabic Language Summer Program, and the NELC Department at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her main research areas are animal and environmental ethics in Islam and Qur’anic stylistics. Tlili serves on the editorial board of NAAIMS bi-annual double-blind peer-reviewed publication, the Journal oInf Islamic and Muslim Studies (JIMS).
Her recent publications include “The Canine Companion of the Cave: The Place of the Dog in Qur’anic Taxonomy” (Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies, 2018, 3.2), “Animal Ethics in Islam: A Review Article,” (Religions 2018, 9, 269, https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9090269), “From Breath to Soul: The Qur’anic Word Rūḥ and its (Mis)interpretations,” (in Joseph Lowry, Shawkat Toorawa, eds. Arabic Humanities, Islamic
Thought: Essays in Honor of Everett K. Rowson. Leiden: Brill, 2017. 1-21), and “I Invoke God Therefore I am: Creation’s Spirituality and its Ecologic Impact in Islamic Texts,” (in John Parham and Louise Westling, eds. A Global History of Literature and the Environment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 107-122). She is also the author of Animals in the Qur’an, (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Dr. Mohammad Hassan Khalil
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Mohammad Hassan Khalil is professor of religious studies, adjunct professor of law, and director of the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University. Before returning to his hometown of East Lansing, Michigan, he was an assistant professor of religion and visiting professor of law at the University of Illinois. He specializes in Islamic thought and is author of Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question (Oxford University Press, 2012) and Jihad, Radicalism, and the New Atheism (Cambridge University Press, 2018); and editor of Between Heaven and Hell: Islam, Salvation, and the Fate of Others (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Muslims and US Politics Today: A Defining Moment (Harvard University Press and ILEX, 2019); and lead investigator of the Muslims of the Midwest digital archive (muslimsofthemidwest.org).
Khalil has presented papers at various national and international conferences and has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on various topics, from early Islamic historiography to bioethics. He serves on multiple editorial boards, including the Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (JIMS), and has served on the board of directors of the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics. In 2015 he received the Michigan State University Teacher‑Scholar Award.
Dr. Aisha Y. Musa
Independent Scholar – Islamic and Qur’anic Studies, Tigard, OR
Aisha Y. Musa holds a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. My research and teaching interests include Hadith and Sunna, translation of classical Arabic texts, Qur’anic interpretation, women’s issues, Islamic Law, and modern-day reformist and neo‑traditionalist movements.
My publications include Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam (Palgrave, 2008); “Hadith Studies” in The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies (Continuum, 2013); “Love and Marriage in Medieval Muslim Thought” Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (Indiana University Press, 2019) Vol 4 No 2, 1-17; “Freedom of Conscience in the Qur’an and Hadith” Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (Indiana University Press, 2019), Vol 4 No 1, 129-134; “Beyond East and West: Rethinking Islam in the Digital Age” Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (Indiana University Press, 2018) Vol 3 No 2, 109-16; “The Relationship of al-ma‘qùl and al-manqùl in Mullā Khusraw’s Conceptualization of Sunna” in the Proceedings of International Symposium on Mullā Khusraw (Bursa, Turkey, 2013); “Jizya: Toward a more Qur’anically based Understanding of an Historically Problematic Term,” in Transcendent Thought (November, 2011), Al-Mostafa Center for Islamic Research, Manila, Philippines; “The Qur’anists,” (Religion Compass, 2010), 4/1; Securing Knowledge: A translation and analysis of al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī’s Taqyīd al-ʿIlm (Leiden: Brill, 2016); I have made presentations at conferences nationally and globally. My presentation at NAAIMS 42nd Annual Conference in 2013, highlighted “Jizya: An Example of Continual Reinterpretation and Reform with a Contemporary Qur’ānic Reinterpretation.” I currently serve as Secretary on the NAAIMS Board of Directors, and editorial board member of NAAIMS’s bi-annual double-blind peer-reviewed publication, the Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (JIMS).
Aila A. Ghori
Aila A. Ghori received her B.S. in information sciences and accounting from University of Maryland, College Park, MD. She is a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). Ghori worked for Accounting, Tax and Financial Services, LLC (ATNF), Gaithersburg, MD, as an assistant accountant which included payroll, auditing, and bookkeeping services.
As an internal IT Auditor for Marriott International, Bethesda, MD, she participated in the planning/risk-assessment, fieldwork, and report writing stages of internal audits of the company’s global network operations. Ghori performed general computer and application controls reviews. As a Technology Risk Consultant for Arthur Andersen LLP, Baltimore, MD she performed reviews of client’s information systems by creating test plans and conducted testing. She consulted with financial auditors regarding potential information technology risks related to financial statements. She served as NAAIMS assistant treasurer (2019-2021) and maintained the accounting of NAAIMS books and financial transparency.
Member at Large
Dr. Heba Arafa Abdelfattah
Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Heba Arafa Abdelfattah is a post-doctoral associate at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University, New Haven, CT. She received her Ph.D. (2017) in Arabic and Islamic studies from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. She served as a visiting assistant professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, and a research fellow at the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, London, UK. Her research interests fall within the interdisciplinary area of the humanities with a special focus on Islam, modernity and popular culture.
She works with literary texts, archival documents, films, and artistic productions to understand discourses of modernity. She is especially interested in issues of cultural production in the context of Islamic legal traditions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including global flows. She has conducted archival research on the reception of films by the colonial state, the nationalist elite, and the Muslim clergy in twentieth-century Egypt. She has published articles in such peer-reviewed journals as Review of Middle East Studies, International Journal of Communication, and the Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (JIMS). Abdelfattah is currently completing a book manuscript on film, Islam, and modernity in colonial Egypt. At Yale, her project centers on the study of the Arabic genre of “Islamic Hymns” (ibtihalat) as an exemplar of a popular culture approach to study Islam as a lived experience based on the inclusion - not the elimination - of difference.
Member at Large
Dr. Mohammad H. Fadel
University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Mohammad H. Fadel is associate professor of law at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, Ontario, Canada, which he joined in January 2006. Professor Fadel graduated from the University of Virginia in 1988 with a BA (High Honors) in Government and Foreign Affairs. He obtained his Ph.D. (1995) from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on legal process in medieval Islamic law.
He obtained his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1999, where he served as the Articles Development Editor of the Virginia Law Review. Fadel was admitted to the Bar of New York in 2000 and practiced law with the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York, NY. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the Honorable Anthony A. Alaimo of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. He has published numerous articles in Islamic legal history and Islam and liberalism.
Member at Large
Dr. Salah D. Hassan
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Salah D. Hassan is the director of global studies in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing. He is associate professor in the Department of English and a core faculty member in MSU’s Muslim Studies Program. He is associate editor of the NAAIMS Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies (JIMS). Hassan teaches courses that focus on the Middle East, anticolonialism and culture, literatures of empire, and Arab and Muslim American cultural production.
He served as the associate editor of The New Centennial Review and edited several special issues with the following titles: “The Origins of Postmodern Cuba,” “Terror Wars,” “Cultures of Occupation,” and “The Palestine Issue.” His recent publications include “Radical Revisions: Barbara Harlow and Criticism Beyond Partition” in Race and Class (SAGE Journals) January-March 2019), “Mapping anti-Muslim Politics in the US” in Muslims and Contemporary US Politics, edited by Mohammad Khalil (Harvard University Press and ILEX, 2019), and a revised reprint of “Passing Away: Despair, Eulogies, and Millennial Palestine” in The Edinburgh Companion to the Postcolonial Middle East, edited by Karim Mattar and Anna Ball (University of Edinburgh Press, 2019). He is currently completing a book manuscript tentatively titled Arabs/America: Essays on Race, Representation, and Resistance.
Having just fulfilled a two-year term as NAAIMS President (2019 – 2021), Frederick (Rick) S. Colby is serving a 2-year term as Ex-Officio of the Board of Directors. He is an associate professor of religious studies, and director of the Middle East and North Africa Studies program at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. Aside from his monograph Narrating Muhammad’s Night Journey (SUNY Press, 2008), Colby’s book-length publications include an edition and translation of an Arabic treatise by the early Sufi Abu ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Sulamī entitled The Subtleties of the Ascension (Fons Vitae, 2006), as well as a volume of essays co-edited with art historian Christiane Gruber entitled The Prophet’s Ascension: Cross-Cultural Encounters with the Islamic miʿrāj Tales (Indiana U Press, 2010). From 2011-2017, Colby served two terms as co-chair of the Study of Islam section of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), first with co-chair Dr. Kecia Ali (2011-12), and then with co-chair Dr. Juliane Hammer (2012-17).
Before his graduate studies, Colby spent a year as a Thomas J. Watson fellow living in Egypt and making short trips to neighboring countries while researching coffeehouse culture. Subsequently, he earned an M.A. in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago (1995), and a Ph.D. in religion (specialization in Islamic studies) from Duke University (2002). While engaged in dissertation research analyzing historic Arabic manuscripts preserving premodern discourses about the Prophet Muhammad’s famous Night Journey and Ascension that later formed the basis of his first monograph, Colby received a Fulbright fellowship for research in Syria (1999-2000), and two four-month fellowships (2000) from American Research Institute for research in Turkey, and Egypt.