Our Team

MSN Speakers are volunteers certified through a seven-step process, including training, evaluation, and background check.

Shaista Azad is a co-founder of MSN and an attorney with a law degree from Santa Clara University based in central OC. She conducts cultural competency trainings and has appeared as a guest speaker for a variety of audiences and institutions over the past 18 years. She is married with three children and loves her two kittens and detective fiction.

Duaa Alwan is a co-founder of MSN and an educational consultant, developing supplemental educational materials for teachers covering Islam and Muslims. She completed a Diversity & Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University and her Master’s in Film from Chapman University. She is a guest lecturer in over 16 college campuses and has conducted several teachers trainings. Duaa serves as an elected representative of the American Muslim community in SoCal as well as a community representative for various school districts including LAUSD. She loves traveling, sudoku and live performances.

Farhan Simjee is a co-founder of MSN and an early contributor to how the program started offering tech support and content development. He is an electrical engineering graduate of UC Irvine and works on creating the world’s first commercial spaceline. He has been speaking in public schools for more than ten years. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing tennis, and snowboarding.

Rina (Tia) Faisal is an online editor for a non-profit organization and a booster parent for her daughters marching band. She is also a former board member of the Malaysian Islamic Foundation of North America. Tia earned her MBA from CSUF and worked as an engineer for Motorola for nine years. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. She loves yoga, Zumba, and golf.

Tahir Aziz is a Professor of Computer Science & Information Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Capella University in Minneapolis and his MBA from National University in Los Angeles. He has presented in public schools, colleges, universities, and conferences to all ages for over 20 years. Tahir lives with wife and three children, and enjoys scuba diving, skiing, skydiving, and hiking.

Jeelanne Khattab holds a California Multiple Subject and Special Education credentials from Chapman University. She received her Civil Engineering degree from Alexandria University in Egypt. Jeelanne lives in IE with her husband, three boys and her cat Frank. She enjoys water sports and Afghan food.

Hussein Sakr is a security engineer with an MBA in Technology Management. He is a board member with the Islamic Education Center in Walnut and has been a youth mentor for over 25 years. He enjoys chess, cooking, wood-working, hiking, and ping-pong.

Yaman Kahf works in hospital financial services. He earned his B.S. from Rutgers University and his MBA from CSUF. He volunteers as a youth mentor and a career counselor.  Yaman lives with his wife and three children. He enjoys bike riding, cooking, gardening, and caring for animals. His pets include rabbits, chickens, ducks, a parrot, frogs, turtles, and possibly the world’s longest surviving goldfish.

Azeem Syed is a pharmacy supervisor with Kaiser Permanente with a degree from Western University of Health Sciences. He is an elected board member of the Shura Council of Southern California serving as one of nine representatives of his SoCal Muslim community. He has been a speaker at different venues for over 20 years. Azeem lives with his wife and two children, and enjoys traveling and playing basketball.

Naznin Barakat is an Entrepreneur with a passion for inspiring positive social change in her locale through community empowerment. She has been presenting about religion and culture for over 10 years. She lives with her husband and two children, and loves traveling and spending quality time with her family.
Ibtissam Chang earned her MBA from UCLA and recently retired. She is married and have two grown children. Ibtissam enjoys traveling, reading, line dancing and Taichi martial art.
Mona Younes earned her PhD from Lancaster University (U.K) specializing in Education in Emergencies and Refugee Education. She has worked as a consultant for United Nations and other international development organizations. Mona is half German and before starting her graduate studies, she taught English and German in Egypt. She loves baking and spending time with her daughters.

Rashid Khan woks for an Aerospace company and holds a Bachelor of Science from Pakistan Air Force Academy. He lives with his wife and two children. Rashid enjoys reading, community work, and table-tennis.