Featured Speakers For Third Annual Black American Muslim Conference
Here are a few, short biographies of some of our featured speakers at the Third Annual Black American Muslim Conference.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj
Imam Siraj Wahhaj is an African-American Muslim convert to Islam and public figure for Muslims in North America. He is currently the Imam of Al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, New York . He became a Sunni Muslim after the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975 and Muhammad’s son Warith Deen Mohammed took over and reorganized the organization, urging members to come to orthodox Islam. He was chosen to study Islam at the Umm al-Qura university of Mecca in 1978. He also briefly taught a course in Islamic studies at Howard University. In 1981 he started his own mosque, Masijd ul-Taqwa, in a friend’s apartment in Brooklyn. Although it originally started out with only 25 people, today it is well-known.
Siraj is a prolific speaker in America. He makes many appearances at major North American Muslim conventions, and numerous forums and lectures including the Lamppost Education Initiative's 2019 Black American Muslim Conference
 

Dr. Abdullah bin Hamid Ali
He holds a Ph.D. in Cultural and Historical Studies in Religion (2016) and an M.A. in Ethics and Social Theory (2012) from the Graduate Theological Union. He obtained his B.A. (ijaza ‘ulya) in Islamic Law (Shariah) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fes, Morocco in 2001. He served as full time Islamic chaplain at the State Correctional Institute of Chester, PA from 2002-2007, and is the founding director of the Lamppost Education Initiative. He currently serves as a assistant professor of Islamic law and Prophetic Tradition at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California His research interests include the interconnection between law and identity formation, comparative Islamic law, and Islam’s role in the modern world.


Imam Fode Drame
Imam Fode Drame was born in the Senegambia region of West Africa. He descends from the clan of Jakhanke whose unique expression of Islam dates back over 1,100 years; when Drame's people first accepted Islam and became the primary teachers, healers and religious leaders for the entire region.
By the age of 5, Imam Drame had begun his formal studies, which included not only putting to memory the entirety of The Qur'an but also detailed study of Arabic grammar and poetry, Quranic exegesis, the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), and most notably, the knowledge and practice of spiritual excellence, otherwise known as Sufism. In addition, Imam Drame is gifted in languages; before leaving his native Gambia for Quebec to pursue a BA in linguistics at University of Quebec, Imam Fode had already taught himself French, German, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.
He has authored a series of writings in both Arabic and English (called Expansions) of which he has currently published five volumes, and also an unique translation of the Quran into English, called Anwar ul-Quran.
Imam Fode currently resides in Vancouver, Canada where he is active in Islamic activities. He is the founder of the Zawiyah Foundation a registered charitable organization in Canada.

Dr. Jamillah Karim
Jamillah Karim is an author and former Professor of Religion at Spelman College. She specializes in Islam and Muslims in the United States (African American, South Asian and Arab), Islamic Feminism, Race and Ethnicity, and Immigration and Transnational Identity. She is the author of several published articles including “To Be Black, Female, and Muslim: A Candid Conversation about Race in the American Ummah” and “Islam for the People: Muslim Men’s Voices on Race and Ethnicity in the American Ummah.” Jamillah obtained her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at Duke University where she also did her undergraduate work in electrical engineering.

Shaykh Khalil Abdur-Rashid
Khalil Abdur-Rashid was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He completed his bachelor degree in Social Work and worked for the state of Georgia as a social worker for several years. He pursued Islamic studies academically and traditionally which led him overseas to study for numerous years. He pursued a Master’s Degree in Istanbul, Turkey in Islamic Law at Marmara University.
He also completed advanced Islamic seminary training and received his full doctoral license (Ijaaza) in Islamic Sciences. Khalil holds a Master of Arts in Middle East Studies as well as a Master of Philosophy in Islamic Law both from Columbia University in New York City. He recently received his Ph.D in Liberal Studies at Harvard University, specializing in the structure and representation of American Muslim identity.
Imam Zaid Shakir
Zaid Shakir is co-founder and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College and also serves on its Board of Trustees. In 1983, while at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ., he co-founded the New Brunswick Islamic Center formerly Masjid al-Huda. In 1987, he settled in New Haven, CT. Zaid Shakir moved to Hayward, California to serve as a scholar-in-residence and lecturer at Zaytuna Institute in 2003. He co-founded the Lighthouse Mosque, Oakland, CA. in 2007. He co-founded Zaytuna College in 2009, where he now teaches Islamic law and history.

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, we will be conducting the Conference online. The Conference is FREE. We ask participants to help support this and future Lamppost events by making a small donation to the Lamppost Education Initiative.
Your contribution allows Lamppost to provide Islamic knowledge to our community. Please help our efforts in this Conference by giving generously to the Lamppost Education Initiative.
Schedule For Third Annual Black American Muslim Conference
Please Note all times listed in the schedule are Eastern Standard Times (EST)
The 2020 Black American Muslim Conference will be broadcasted LIVE on our Facebook channel, YouTube channel, and the Lamppost Website.