Executives and Board
Chief Executive Officer
Sharif Aly is the Chief Executive Officer at Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). Sharif joined the IRUSA as Advocacy Counsel in 2014. During his tenure as Advocacy Counsel, Sharif spearheaded and managed major IRUSA strategic advocacy campaigns focused on food security and livelihood programs, refugee resettlement, civil society and humanitarian access, as well as climate change and environmental policies. Sharif also served as IRUSA’s Lead United Nations representative where he developed and utilized evidence-based research to advocate on behalf of the organization’s core values, programs philosophy, and policy positions. As Advocacy Counsel, Sharif led major non-governmental coalition efforts to promote and strengthen financial access for civil society organizations.
As Chief Executive Officer, Sharif oversees a dynamic team of executives, senior managers, and support staff to carry out IRUSA’s humanitarian programs in the areas of disaster response, international relief and development, domestic social services, as well as major gifts-in-kind programs. Under Sharif’s leadership, IRUSA was able to raise record funds and increase the extent of impact for millions of beneficiaries across the world despite an increasingly hostile political climate and complex regulatory environment. Sharif is a subject-matter expert and frequent speaker on various topics in the humanitarian and development sector, including the impact of Islamophobia on refugees and migrants and the intersection of faith and humanitarian relief. His extensive advocacy efforts and policy initiatives have been instrumental in building strong strategic partnerships with key stakeholders and maximizing the impact of IRUSA’s humanitarian objectives and programming.
Prior to IRUSA, Sharif served as the Executive Director and General Counsel of Oaktree Institute, Inc., a leadership and educational nonprofit organization that aims to develop value-driven, action-focused, and results-oriented leaders. While at Oaktree Institute, Sharif was able to manage a team of subject matter experts in a comprehensive and systematic way to develop and implement educational programs of a newly-formed nonprofit organization, build leadership capacity, and provide support for community-based initiatives. Sharif has over 14 years of experience in a wide range of legal and humanitarian areas, including nonprofit law and management, civil litigation and arbitration, community development and humanitarian sector advocacy. Sharif is a 2009 graduate of Hofstra University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctor degree and served on the Dean’s Advisory Committee. In 2018, the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross appointed Sharif to the organization’s National Diversity Advisory Council.
Anwar Khan has more than twenty years of experience working in the field of humanitarian and development assistance. Anwar is of Pakistani descent and grew up in England, but has lived in the United States since 1994. He holds a degree in biochemistry.
In 1993, Anwar began working with Islamic Relief Worldwide, then moved to the United States in 1994 where he helped start Islamic Relief USA. Since then, he has aided in IRUSA’s expansion, and under his leadership, seven IRUSA offices opened across the country, with the headquarters originating in California and then moving to Washington, DC.
Anwar has extensive experience in the field: he has traveled to conflict and disaster zones including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Palestine, Sudan, Haiti, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria. He has also traveled for development work in Africa and South Asia, visiting locations including Timbuktu. In the United States, he helped set up an extensive volunteer network that now consists of several thousand people. On behalf of IRUSA, Anwar has been appointed to the board of Interaction, Joint Learning Initiative (JLI), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA). Along with other leaders in the international development field, Anwar provides advice, analysis, and recommendations to USAID on the most pressing development issues in the world today. He has also served on the U.S. State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, where he advised on humanitarian issues and the intersection of faith and development.
Anwar is a dynamic motivational speaker on various topics in the humanitarian and development sector. Before becoming IRUSA President, Anwar held a variety of leadership roles at Islamic Relief USA, directing Islamic Relief USA’s program efforts; managing its fundraising offices and operations; overseeing its fund development work; and leading the organization as Chief Executive Officer. Anwar is the longest serving staff members in the organization.
Vice President of Finance and Administration
Sherif Ahmed is the current VP of Finance and Administration at Islamic Relief USA, where he oversees the daily operations of the organization.
Sherif holds both BS and MBA degrees in Economics and Statistics from Pace University, Lubin School of Business, and he is currently a PhD candidate, studying Constitutional Economics at the International University of Malaysia. In addition, Sherif is a visiting lecturer at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Within his career, Sherif has held a variety of positions, including fund management lead, corporate M&A strategy analyst, head of trade operations and controls, across New York City investment firms, including Credit Suisse First Boston, LiquidNet, and Harris Nesbitt.
He is very passionate about volunteering for sustainable development programs, and does so as often as he can.
Director of Programs
Anne Wilson, Director of Programs, has spent her career in the faith-based sector. Her early professional experience focused on youth and rural development in north India.
For more than two decades, Anne worked in the field of refugee and migrant protection and services, including as a senior executive with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She has led and managed a wide range of programs, including refugee resettlement, children’s services, justice for immigrants, legal services, international social services, workforce and livelihoods, and public advocacy. She has worked with partners all across the US in grant-making and technical assistance capacities. Much of Anne’s international focus within her career has been on the Central American and Caribbean region, although she has also participated in projects centered in Asia, Europe, and most recently the Middle East. She believes that multi-faith partnerships are particularly important to meet the humanitarian challenges of the current era.
Director of Fund Development
Ahmed Shehata, who holds a master’s degree in management, is certified in fundraising management (CFRM) and has more than 20 years of experience as a fund development professional. Early on in his career, he volunteered with local grassroots organizations to serve multiple humanitarian causes. He was first introduced to Islamic Relief in 1999 when he volunteered on his visit to England. Five years later, Ahmed joined the organization permanently as a development coordinator at IRUSA’s Chicago office.
In 2008, Ahmed became IRUSA’s Midwest regional manager. He then became the organization’s Community Relations Manager after moving to IRUSA’s headquarter office in DC.
Later, in 2018, Ahmed was promoted to Director of Fund Development. Since taking over the Fund Development division, Ahmed has helped grow its humanitarian work to reach millions of people in need around the world, and has helped nurture and build long-lasting community relationships within the sphere of humanitarianism.
Ahmed loves to spend time with his wife and two kids.
Director of Marketing
David is a communications professional with more than 25 years of experience in advertising, marketing, project management, video production, graphic design, public relations, and web design. He holds a communications degree from George Mason University and is certified in fundraising management (CFRM) from the Lily School of Philanthropy, Indiana University.
David is the Director of Marketing at IRUSA. Skilled in managing projects, budgets, operational plans, and structure, David has expanded IRUSA’s marketing efforts to include advertising, direct marketing, web experience, engagement, social media, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer efforts, photography, videography, graphic design, campaign development, and so much more.
Prior to Islamic Relief, David worked as an art director in New York and Washington, DC. His career history includes companies such as AOL, Booz Allen Hamilton, Ciber Inc, CareerBuilder, and 20/20 design. He also founded and lead marketing and design firm Daze Studios, where he served over 150 clients from small to large firms in over 20 different sectors such as the Fairfax County, Oracle, NASA, GMU, and Accenture.
David serves on several boards within his local community. In his free time, he enjoys sporting events with his family, coaching little league, and taking his kids to Costco for their amazing pizza.
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Christina Tobias-Nahi has been at the helm of IRUSA’s public affairs efforts since 2006. Prior to rejoining the organization as Director of Public Affairs, Christina lead International Programs at the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, with a portfolio on orphans and nutrition. She also managed the program Tech Girls, a summer program of the U.S. State Department and Legacy International that brings emerging female leaders from the Middle East and North Africa to DC for leadership training.
Christina holds a post-graduate certificate in Community-Based Development and an M.A. in International Relations from Boston University-Paris, where she spent two years working in Paris for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). She then obtained her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and worked at Harvard for nearly a decade with the Islamic Legal Studies Program and the Civil Rights Project.
In 2016, she partook in an interfaith, interagency team trip to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Then, in fall of 2018, she similarly visited Moria camp in Lesbos, Greece.
Christina has utilized platforms such as UN Habitat III, the Conference on World Affairs, and the G20 Interfaith Summit to speak about and raise awareness on the refugee crisis.
Dawn Sikorski has worked as in-house counsel at Islamic Relief USA since 2011.
She graduated from Cornell Law School and worked at a law firm on non-profit law and litigation before joining IRUSA.
Dawn oversees organizational compliance, advises on risk management, and advocates for legal and regulatory issues that impact nonprofits working on issues of relief and development.
She serves on a World Bank Multi-Sectoral Working Group to address issues of financial access for international NGOs and serves on the steering committee for InterAction’s Together Project. Her areas of interest include international development, religious liberties, financial access and sanctions law. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting.
Vice President of Community Affairs and Alliances
Azhar Azeez, one of Islamic Relief USA’s earliest volunteers, employees, fundraisers, and motivational speakers, now serves as the VP of Community Affairs and Alliances, traveling the nation and the world to bring IRUSA’s values and mission to light in the humanitarian sphere. Before becoming VP, Azhar served as director of the Fund Development team, where he oversaw seven Islamic Relief regional offices, created fund development plans, managed events, and much more.
A member of the Association of Funding Professionals, he has served as a member of the ISNA Executive Council since 2002 and was elected president of ISNA in 2014. A regular speaker and fundraiser for various local, regional and national events, he has been active in media appearances and interviews for many national television networks and newspapers.
Azhar is the founder of a weekly global email newsletter on issues related to Islam and Muslims, reaching more than 15,000 subscribers weekly. He also founder and past president of the Islamic Association of Carrollton, TX, and was a founding member and past president of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Dallas/Fort Worth chapter. Azhar served as past president of the North Texas Islamic Council which represents 35 Islamic Organizations in Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Azhar Azeez holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Osmania University as well as a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA)—he is currently pursuing his PhD in Islamic studies.
Tareq Osman, CPA
Tareq Osman, a Certified Public Accountant, serves as Controller for Islamic Relief USA.
Tareq has more than 15 years of experience in a variety of accounting specialties, including account analyses, budgeting, internal control, reconciliations, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll management, financial reporting, revenue recognition, and individual and corporate taxation. Tareq has served in accounting-related capacities at a spectrum of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including Teligent Inc., the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the World Wildlife Fund, and AARP.
For the past five years, Tareq has worked as a public accountant at a CPA firm he founded.
Director of Business Services
Tammam Dandashi joined Islamic Relief USA in 2017, and currently serves as Director of Business Services. His portfolio includes operations and facilities, volunteer management, and information technology.
Tammam holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Tulane University, and a Master’s of Science from the University of New Orleans, both in Electrical Engineering—he also earned a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from George Mason University. Before joining IRUSA, Tammam was a Cyber Security professional safeguarding the networks and digital assets of large corporations.
In his free time, Tammam is passionate about assisting community-based non-profits achieve their mission. Over the years, he has served on the boards of local, national, and interfaith nonprofits in various capacities.
Director of Human Resources
Khadija Athman is the Human Resources Director, overseeing and managing the implementation of all core human resources functions and programs for Islamic Relief USA.
Khadija has more than twenty years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in the United States and was a practicing attorney in Kenya. She holds a Master Degree in Laws (LL.M.) from George Washington University Law School, a Bachelor of Law Degree (LL.B.) from MS. University of Baroda, and a Bachelor of Science Degree (B.Sc.) in Zoology from University of Bombay.
Khadija is an outdoor enthusiast, having climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to the summit, and a certified scuba diver. She is also the author of the book “Presumptuous of Me to Think Otherwise: Negotiating the American Muslim Identity”.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
HAMADI BENGABSIA-MBA, CPA
Hamadi Bengabsia is a Vice President at the ViacomCBS Tax Department in New York City. Hamadi has been with ViacomCBS since 2006. He is also a certified Sharia Advisor and Auditor (CSAA) by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).
Prior to joining CBS, he worked at Ernst & Young for eight years. He is a certified public accountant, holds an M.B.A. in accounting and a master’s degree in statistics and applied economics. Hamadi is a member of the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants), and NYSCPA (New York Society of Certified Public Accountants). In addition to his tax expertise, Hamadi’s main area of concentration is process improvement and technology enablement within the tax department and between the tax and accounting departments.
Hamadi first joined IRUSA’s board in 2012, and subsequently became the board’s treasurer before becoming chariman in 2020. Hamadi has been instrumental in launching the IRUSA Waqf, an endowment that helps support IRUSA’s humanitarian work.
Hamadi has been an active board member of several local centers and schools as well as several relief organizations within his community. He currently sits on the executive committee of the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center, one of the largest Islamic centers in northern New Jersey.
Khalid Lamada serves as president of the Society of American-Egyptian Development (SAED), an education and advocacy group for Egyptians living in the United States.
Khalid is also a member of the Council of Islamic Leaders of New York. He has served as a board member for the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge; as president of the Arab American Muslim Federation (AMAF); and as co-chairman of the Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim American Society (ICNA-MAS) national convention.
Khaled first joined IRUSA’s board of directors in 2011.
HAMDY RADWAN, PhD
Hamdy Radwan is a professor of Physical Therapy at Winston Salem State University, North Carolina. He earned his bachelor’s of science and master’s of science in Physical Therapy from Cairo University, and received his PhD from Texas Women’s University in Houston. At Winston-Salem State University, Hamdy serves as the director of the transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy program, and the director of the Community Care Clinic.
Hamdy was one of the founders of Al-Iman Academy in Houston, and has served as both board chairman of Al-Iman School in Raleigh, NC, and director of the outreach department at the Muslim American Society, Raleigh chapter. He also served as president of the board for the Muslims Association of the Triad in Winson-Salem, NC (also known as Annoor Islamic Center) from 2000 to 2017.
Hamdy joined the IRUSA board of directors in November 2012.
NANCY KHALIL, PhD
Nancy A. Khalil is an instructor of Muslim Ministry at Harvard Divinity School and completed her PhD in Anthropology at Harvard University in 2017. Her current 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, Nancy worked as Muslim Chaplain at Wellesley College and Advisor to their Multi-faith Living and Learning Community. She is a co-founder and board member of the Boston-based Muslim Justice League and will soon begin as Assistant Professor of Muslim American Studies in the department of American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Ihab M. Hamdi Saad, PhD
Ihab M. Hamdi Saad is a full-time professor and former department chair of Construction Management at Northern Kentucky University. Ihab has also taught at other notable institutions such as the University of Cincinnati.
In addition to his teaching, Ihab is a published author, penning several noteworthy articles on engineering. He is a celebrated speaker at events for the engineering industry.
Ihab has been recognized with numerous awards including the 2004 ASC National Teaching Award; 2003 Pendered Memorial Award at East Carolina University; and the Teaching (1999) and Research (1998) Excellence Awards at Bradley University.
He is a member of several organizations including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Project Management Institute (PMI); Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE); Egyptian Association of Engineers; and American Society of Training and Development (ASTD).
Ihab joined the IRUSA board of directors in March 2006 and was appointed chairman in May 2011.