Dr. Ahmed Bangura was born in Sierra Leone, where he did his undergraduate studies. He earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta in 1994. In 2017, he took early retirement from the University of San Francisco, where he had been a professor since 1994, and had taught courses in French, Literature, Islamic studies and Arabic.
Dr. Bangura has traveled extensively and has spent time with world renowned scholars overseas. He has authored several books both in English and Arabic including: Indelible Footprints: Stories from the Life of the Prophet Muhammad and Islam and West African Fiction: Politics of Representation, a work in literary criticism. He is also the founder and chair of the Ihsan Foundation for West Africa.
Imam Tahir Anwar is an American Muslim scholar born in London, England, and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1983.
After completing his religious studies, Imam Tahir has served the Bay Area Muslim community since 2000. He also teaches Islamic Law at the renowned Zaytuna College, America’s first Muslim liberal arts college located in Berkeley, CA.
In addition, he is the founding board member of Averroes High School, the Bay Area’s first Muslim high school. He is currently the chairman of the board of NISA, North-American Islamic Shelter for the Abused, an organization that works towards alleviating issues related to domestic violence.
He has a passion for community service. He served on the Human Rights Commission for the City of San Jose for over 5 years and on the Human Relations Commission for the County of Santa Clara for one year. He also leads a group for Hajj each year.
Imam Bilal Elsakka is currently serving the MAS Community and Youth Center (MCYC) in Elk Grove, CA. He was born and raised in the Bay Area where he memorized the Quran, studied with local scholars, and obtained a degree in Communication Studies from San Jose State University.
He has served the general Muslim community for several years in varying capacities, particularly as it relates to working with the youth. From the classroom to the Masjid, elementary students to respected elders, immigrants to the indigenous, he tries his best to teach Islam in as relevant a fashion as possible.
Ustadh Feraidoon Mojadedi is one of the most well-known and respected community leaders, lecturers, and entrepreneurs in the Bay Area – California. He was born in Herat, Afghanistan and immigrated with his family to America during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1985. After graduating from American High School and Chabot College he attended San Francisco State University where he majored in history.
He grew up in a household with a deep love and reverence for poetry. At the age of five he began to memorize poems by Rumi and other great poets. His love of poetry continued to grow and eventually developed into a passion and calling that would allow him to teach regular classes on Rumi throughout California, the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Germany and even as far as Konya, Turkey, where Mawlana Rumi is laid to rest. The nuances of the Farsi language, in which he is fluent, allows him the unique ability to bring Rumi’s poetry to life and to help listeners recognize Rumi’s essential message of peace, love, coexistence, and connection with the Divine.
Ustadh Feraidoon spends his free time reading, studying, and lecturing on many topics including Rumi and a wide collection of Farsi poetry, spirituality, and self-development. He currently lives with his wife and two children in Dublin, California.