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Faith in Action: At the Intersection of Islam, Race, and #BlackLivesMatter

  • Busboys and Poets 1025 5th Street Northwest Washington, DC, 20001 United States (map)

Registration Required!
This event is for ages 20 and above.

NWMI invites you to a presentation and panel discussion at the intersection of Islam, race, and Black Lives Matter (BLM). As we remember the legacy of Imam Hussain (as), who put faith into action to stand against the brutality, intolerance, and hypocrisy of his time, we can see clear parallels with our own modern-day struggles. So, what does that mean for us in daily life? How do we regard BLM among contemporary social justice issues?  Have we examined our own implicit biases?  Can we take a genuine stand against injustices toward our Black brothers and sisters?

Our panel of experts will tackle these questions from both academic and activist perspectives and offer practical ways in which we can take action as a community. Panelists include Donna Auston, PhD candidate at Rutgers University, Layla Abdullah-Poulos, an activist with Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), and Tariq Touré, Muslim artist, activist, and poet. 

Dinner will be provided during this event.

You MUST register for this event.  Space is limited.  If you have successfully registered you will receive a confirmation email that you must bring with you to the event. 

Paid Parking:  There is street parking, a lot across the street, and plenty of underground parking behind the building.


Saafir Rabb II has long worked with members of the US and international communities to represent and promote an effective interface between profitable business and corporate social responsibility.

As CEO of Interculture, Inc. he is a social entrepreneur, community developer, and high-level business advisor who leads a team of problem solvers in work that focuses at the intersection of community and international development. Saafir maintains a strong commitment to social change and urban revitalization.  He served as COO for I Can’t We Can (ICWC), a celebrated community development and drug-rehabilitation organization that has received over 100 awards and citations from state and local officials and peer organizations since its founding more than fifteen years ago.

He served as a consultant to the Obama administration’s transition team for public diplomacy, participates in the Brookings Institute’s US-Islamic World Forum, is a Senior Advisor to the dean of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is a member of the Pacific Council, and a board Member of Educate Girls Globally and Kanye West’s Donda’s House.  Saafir completed a two-year program in Islamic law at the Abu Nour Institute in Damascus, Syria and is a Columbia University Rothschild Fellow for interfaith relations.  He holds a BA from the University of Maryland, and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.  Saafir primarily resides in Baltimore, Maryland, and frequents the Middle East.


Donna Auston is an Anthropology doctoral candidate at Rutgers University, where she also received her BA in Linguistics and Africana Studies. Her research interests include race, ethnicity, media representation, and Islam in America. She has been researching and writing about American Muslim history for nearly two decades, particularly on the African American Muslim community. She has published book chapters on the historical legacy of African American Islam and its relationship to broader Black arts, culture, and protest. Additionally, she has forthcoming book chapters that include works on the intersections between Islamophobia and Black Lives Matter, and a study of the Nation of Islam’s religious transition in the aftermath of Elijah Muhammad’s passing in 1975.

Layla Abdullah-Poulos is adjunct faculty at SUNY Empire State College. She holds an MA in Liberal Studies and an advanced certificate in Women and Gender Studies.  Abdullah-Poulos is the project manager for NbA Muslims, a cultural project highlighting the heritages, experiences, and cultural productions of native-born American Muslims of African American, Indigenous, Latinx, and European descent. She also serves as a New York Trainer for the MuslimARC and a US Correspondent for AboutIslam.

Tariq Touré is an Award winning Muslim Artist & Activist born and raised in West Baltimore, Maryland.  With a Master's Degree in Social Work concentrating in Macro practice from Howard University, Toure has paired his renowned creative spirit with lifelong change agency. As a devout writer, Touré's 2016 debut compilation of poetry, "Black Seeds" is ranked in the top 100 best sellers on Amazon in African American poetry and Literature, and was the best seller during Black history month in 2016. Hip Hop artist and Lead member of The Roots Black Thought has regarded "Tariq Touré as the Amiri Baraka of this era."