A Message from Your New Executive Director

Bismillah and gratitude on this new beginning.

Since stepping foot on my first day to our offices at the Friends Center in Philadelphia in September 2017, I tried to remind myself that serving a civil rights and advocacy organization in Philadelphia, a historic site for American-Muslim life, brings a great deal of responsibility. 

In my new position as the Executive Director of CAIR-Philadelphia, I will work hard to further deliver on this responsibility and develop CAIR-Philadelphia’s capacity to serve our communities. 

From an imam being harassed by the FBI to a school violating the rights of one of its Muslim teachers, from a student denied the right to modest clothing to an establishment discriminating against Muslim customers, the legal challenges our community faces continue unabated, and we are dedicated to being a crucial and active legal force ensuring our community’s rights are not violated and younger generations step up as protectors of our community. Our educational programs, media advocacy and student leadership programs each will allow us to develop a proactive framework to think about Muslim-American life and its futures. Our civic engagement work will ensure we seek critical engagement in civic life and the vote and protest of our community will be a strong voice. We will keep organizing and pushing back against harmful practices at the local and state level, foregrounding the needs of our community. 

While doing so, we will keep our Muslim identity core to our mission and will build alliances with partners from across the faith and civic spectrum. 

I am grateful to our board members, my colleagues and our community members who have been my teachers on this path of serving our community as well as my family who allowed me to be on the road and on calls. 

I am particularly grateful to Jacob who exemplified leading with humility, humor and a strong sense of dedication to CAIR-Philadelphia’s mission. He has been graciously supportive during this transition, and I am excited to continue to work with him. 

In these early days of Muharram and the new Hijri year 1444, we are reminded of the stories of hijrah and perseverance, of Moses and his dedication to lead his community, of Prophet’s grandson Hussein and his modeling for us the importance of speaking up against oppression. From Malcolm X to Imam Warithuddin, from the community members who sacrificed on new paths of hijrah to build their mosques and Islamic schools, our community continues their legacy. 

Myself and my colleagues at CAIR-Philadelphia, Jacob, Timothy, Leena, Asiyah, and Zeynep; we feel blessed to serve our wonderful community. 

Please continue to support us by donating generously towards our bold and interactive programs.Have a blessed new Hijri year and a joyous Friday, Bismillah.

Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, PhD, Executive Director
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