Our People

 Board of Directors | StaffAdvisory Board

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jamil Abdullah
Director
Jamil Abdullah is an engineer by day and the Founder and C.E.O. of Hocus Focus Films (HFF, a film and photography business he started in 2013) by night and weekend. He is also on the Board of Boston Muslim Young Professionals (BMYP), an organization created as a resource for the post-college aged professional (local and transient). His passion is where these three endeavors intersect - creating positive media content, helping to create a resiliency within the identity of each individual member of BMYP, and finally the policy advocacy taken on by MJL.
Aziza Ahmed
Director
Aziza Ahmed is Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law.  She is an internationally renowned expert in health law, criminal law and human rights. Her scholarship examines the role of science and activism in shaping global and national law and policy with a focus on criminal laws that impact health.  Prior to joining the School of Law, Professor Ahmed was a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health Program on International Health and Human Rights. She came to that position after a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship with the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW). Professor Ahmed has also consulted with various United  Nations agencies and international and domestic non-governmental organizations as well as served on numerous expert bodies and advisory groups to various UN and other domestic institutions. 
Quesiyah S. Ali
Clerk and Director
Quesiyah S. Ali has served as an in-house attorney with the Massachusetts Teachers Association since 2010.  Prior to that, she practiced criminal defense and employment law in Worcester, worked as a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, and clerked for the Superior Court of Massachusetts. She has served on the boards of Alhuda Academy and the New England Muslim Bar Association, and has both organized and presented "Know Your Rights" seminars to Muslim communities in Central and Western Massachusetts, as well as provided legal counsel to local Muslims approached by the FBI.  Quesiyah is a graduate of the University of Southern California Law School and Wellesley College.
Rizwanul Huda
Treasurer and Director
Rizwanul Huda is a former finance professional who decided to become civil rights attorney to advocate for marginalized populations.  He practices anti-discrimination and immigration law.  He is on both a Public Defender's panel of trial attorneys who represent children who require assistance in Juvenile Court as well as a panel of appellate attorneys who appeal children custody cases.  He has presented "Know Your Rights" seminar at several community events that focus on workers' and immigrants' rights.  In 2011, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination awarded him the        distinguished George Napolitano Fellowship.  Rizwanul is also a Board Member and Treasurer of the New England Muslim Bar Association.  He is a former Board Member and Treasurer of Bridge Over Trouble Waters, a non-profit who provide services for homeless youths. 
Nancy A. Khalil
Co-Founder and Director
Nancy A. Khalil completed her PhD in Anthropology at Harvard University and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale's Center on Race, Indigeneity and Transnational Migration. Her research focuses on the politics of American Islam with an emphasis on the profession of the Imam in America. Other research projects she has worked on include: research on migrant and second generation political and civic engagement; Muslim students on U.S. college campuses; as well as a large project specific to the Muslim community in Boston. Her academic work has been supported by several foundations, including the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Bucerius Zeit-Stiftung, MSA National, IIIT, and the Islamic Scholarship Fund. She has a particular interest in building bridges between activism and academia. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as Muslim Chaplain at Wellesley College and Advisor to their Multi-faith Living and Learning Community.  She is a board member of Islamic Relief USA and will soon begin as an Assistant Professor in the department of American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Stephanie Marzouk
President, Director, and Co-Founder
Stephanie Marzouk is an attorney focusing on immigration and criminal law in Somerville, Massachusetts. She is board president and a cofounder of the Muslim Justice League, and an active member of the Boston Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, University of Minnesota, and Louisiana State University.
Charu Verma
Director
Charu A. Verma is an attorney focusing on criminal law. Since 2012, she has worked as a full time staff attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Middlesex County. In addition, she is on the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Massachusetts, and is on the Criminal Law Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association. She received a BA and MA from the University of Washington, and her J.D. from Suffolk Law School.

 

STAFF

Shannon Al-Wakeel
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Shannon was one of four Muslim women who founded MJL after federal announcements of a "countering violent extremism" program in Boston.  An attorney and printmaker, Shannon received her B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.  Prior to MJL, Shannon worked with Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and later Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, where her advocacy contributed to advances in immigrant access to education and health care and safeguards against unconstitutional deportation programs, as well as defeat of scores of anti-immigrant legislative proposals.  Shannon previously served as president of the Board of Directors of the New England Muslim Bar Association and, following the Boston Marathon bombing, provided "Know Your Rights" education and government relations assistance to Massachusetts mosques in response to increased targeting of local Muslim communities. Outside MJL, Shannon serves on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts.
Fatema Ahmad
Deputy Director
Fatema is a former biomedical engineer turned community organizer with experience organizing against racism and Islamophobia in North Carolina. She was an organizer with Muslims for Social Justice and the American Friends Service Committee of the Carolinas under the Communities Against Islamophobia project. She helped lead the Stop CVE at UNC campaign and worked with organizations across North Carolina to connect Muslim, Black, and/or Latinx communities around criminalization and surveillance.

ADVISORY BOARD

Ayesha Kazmi
Community Education Advisor
Ayesha Kazmi is the Community Organizer at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, where she organizes service projects as well as on issues such as affordable housing. Ayesha provides her expertise to the Muslim Justice League as a Community Education Adviser, having gained her expertise on Muslim civil rights issues under the War on Terror previously working as a researcher and analyst for CAGE, UK. She has written various articles including reports on British stop and search laws and cyberterrorism. Ayesha’s research and expertise has featured in many outlets such as The Guardian, the BCC and the New York Review of Books. She currently serves as a fellow at the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), committed to combating racism and promoting racial justice within American Muslim communities.
Sarah R. Wunsch
Sarah R. Wunsch is Deputy Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU) of Massachusetts and has been a staff lawyer there for 25 years. Sarah is responsible for litigation in areas such as freedom of speech, reproductive rights, police misconduct, discrimination, drug policy, and freedom of religion/separation of government and religion. Prior to her work at the ACLU, Sarah was an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, the Executive Director for the Cambridge Human Rights Commission and a staff lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights and for two labor unions. She received her J.D. from Rutgers (Newark) School of Law, a Master’s in Education from Columbia University, and a B.A. in government from Cornell University. She was a junior high school social studies teacher for several years in Irvington, New York.