Khadijah Abdullah, President
Khadijah’s experience as a HIV/AIDS activist began in college when she learned a friend had contracted the virus. Aware of her own ignorance, she started advocating on her college campus and organized the first AIDS Awareness Week. Due to her efforts she received prestigious awards from her University and the State of Connecticut. She continued on to volunteer at AIDS Project New Haven and organized a team to walk in AIDS Walk New Haven. After graduating in 2009, Khadijah relocated to Washington DC and completed an internship at the National Minority AIDS Council and began volunteering in the community. In 2010 Khadijah received the President Obama award for Volunteerism for her efforts. Khadijah later began work at Islamic Relief USA, a humanitarian nonprofit. There she realized her passion was not sitting behind a desk, but being directly in the community serving others. In 2012, Khadijah joined AmeriCorps and served at Horton’s Kids in Washington, DC where she created partnerships with local organizations to provide HIV testing and educational workshops to inner city youth and their families. Khadijah holds a degree in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion. She is also a Certified HIV/AIDS Community Health Worker, HIV Tester and Counselor.
A Connecticut Native and graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, Khadijah founded RAHMA in 2012 as she recognized the need to provide HIV education in the American Muslim community. Khadijah experienced several encounters with Muslims living with HIV who expressed the hurt and pain they felt due to stigmatization and isolation within their own community. As RAHMA’s President, she has overseen and built crucial programs to tackle this issue in the Muslim community and other faith communities. Khadijah continues to look for innovative and powerful ways to make a greater impact and eliminate stigma. To learn more about Khadijah, please visit www.iamkhadijah.com.
Vice President, Karim Amin
Karim Amin’s motto is where there is life there is hope. Raised in inner city Baltimore, MD he was influenced by his environment to work with people who are the most vulnerable in society. His love of writing motivated Karim to complete his Bachelors in Mass Communication from Towson University in Baltimore. While pursuing his Bachelor degree at Towson, Karim joined the AmeriCorps Service Corps. His year of service in AmeriCorps inspired Karim to pursue a career in Public Service. Karim taught special education for 7 years at the Baltimore City Public Schools and also worked with Catholic Charities as a treatment counselor for youth with emotional disabilities. Karim recently served as the domestic program coordinator for Islamic Relief USA. At Islamic Relief, Karim traveled around the U.S and Haiti responding to Humanitarian Crisis and developing programs to assist persons in need.
Karim is involved with RAHMA to promote AIDS education and healthy life choices. AIDS education and prevention is a passion for this experienced humanitarian. Karim’s family has been severely affected by HIV/AIDS and six of his family members have died from complications bought on by the virus. He hopes that his involvement in RAHMA will help prevent other families from enduring what his has.
Ihssan Tahir, Secretary
Ihssan Tahir is a twenty something self-proclaimed “SistaQueen”. Raised in Switzerland by an African American mother and Kurdish stepfather she has a broad perspective of the world.
By profession, Ihssan is a registered nurse and specializes in emergency and trauma medicine. Her main passion lies in healthcare justice and accessibility. She works with several non-profit organizations including Zakat Foundation of America. She has globe trotted from Ghana to Bangladesh working at health clinics and hospitals. In conjunction with Zakat Foundation of America, she founded “Wednesday Wellness”. This grassroots program was established on the south side of Chicago and offered blood pressure, glucose screenings, health seminars and HIV screenings to local residents who lacked proper healthcare coverage.
While taking care of a young patient newly diagnosed with AIDS her interest in HIV/AIDS management, specifically in minority communities, grew. Working in several different hospitals across the U.S. she realized HIV is a large scale issues across all communities. Her interest not only lies in HIV prevention but awareness in Muslim communities. Ihssan looks forward to working with RAHMA and focusing on its profound mission.
In her spare time Ihssan enjoys reading love novels, writing for her blog and practicing the violin. Currently, she resides in the city of wind with her cat Rumi.
Mariam Mehter, Treasurer
Mariam Mehter became involved with RAHMA after participating with and fund-raising for Team RAHMA at the 2013 AIDS Walk Washington. After realizing the severity of the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in DC (with areas having rates as high as some of the worst-afflicted countries in the world!) she became more involved with RAHMA to play her role in raising awareness and addressing the needs of those afflicted. Her professional background consists of various roles in the financial services industry serving clients from all backgrounds. She currently works to advance peace education and inter-religious cooperation at the El-Hibri Foundation located in the heart of DC.
Mariam is the oldest of five siblings born was raised in central NY and graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in Economics and Biology. She is passionate about humanitarian and social justice causes, particularly the plight of voiceless ethnic and religious minorities. She believes that awareness and education are the responsibilities of those who have access and the HIV/AIDS issue in DC is no exception. As a Muslim, Mariam recognizes the need for more information and understanding about HIV/AIDS in the Muslim community and looks forward to achieving this with RAHMA!
Nechelle Terrell, Interfaith
Nechelle Terrell has worked as the HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Alexandria Health Department in Alexandria, VA since 2002. In this role, Nechelle coordinates HIV prevention, education, outreach and testing events for Alexandria and other jurisdictions throughout Northern Virginia and has coordinated events for the Alexandria Office of the Mayor, Alexandria Commission on HIV/AIDS, Alexandria City Public Schools, Alexandria Department of Parks and Recreation, NAACP Alexandria Branch, Northern VA HIV Prevention and Education Committee and various local churches in the community. Nechelle is most notable for her yearly National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Symposium held in February each year, focusing on the African American Faith Community.
Realizing the need for HIV education to extend beyond the walls of local health departments, schools and recreation centers, she has extended her primary focus to work with the faith community providing monthly workshops to local churches and other faith based organizations, participating in health fairs and other presentations as requested. Nechelle recognizes the need to utilize the church and other faith based institutions to reach out to the community and yet at the same time, not compromising their individual beliefs and doctrines.
Nechelle hopes to bring her interfaith work and expertise to help further RAHMA's mission and implement innovative programs that will unite faith based communities.
Dr. Sohail Rana
Dr. Sohail Rana is a Professor of Pediatrics at Howard University College of Medicine. Dr. Rana received his medical education at King Edwards Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan and trained in pediatrics and hematology at Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn in New York City and University of Rochester at Rochester, New York. He joined the faculty at Howard University in 1980 and is currently Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Hematology and HIV services. He has been providing care to children and young adults with sickle cell disease and HIV for more than 3 decades. He has conducted more than 60 studies to improve the treatment and quality of life of people living with sickle cell disease and HIV. He is a well published author and has received several awards for research, teaching and service to the community. He has been listed among the “Best Doctors in America” several times. He runs a busy practice at Howard and he oversees numerous research studies. Dr. Rana feels indebted to his patients, their families and his family for teaching him about empathy and humanity. He is the Conference Director for the annual International Conference on Stigma and he is passionate about human rights for people with stigmatized illnesses. His goal is to establish a Center for Social Justice in health to fight stigma attached to illnesses such mental disorders, HIV, pain and disabilities.