Asiya Sulaiman is an 18-year-old college sophomore currently living in Atlanta, Georgia. She was raised in the Bay Area, California. Her major is African American Studies and she is passionate about resisting anti-Black racism and empowering Black Muslim Women.
Hafsah Ya-Sin is an 18-year-old Zaytuna College student residing in Berkeley, California. She was born and raised on the East Coast. She tutors youth and children in Islamic Studies, and she is passionate about health and Islamic education. She enjoys any opportunity to be creative.
Abdul-Rauf first came to public attention as a Louisiana State University freshman sensation then named Chris Jackson. At just 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds, he averaged 30 points per game with a hair-trigger jumper and acrobatic layups. Despite having Tourette’s syndrome, he went pro after his sophomore year, was picked third in 1990 by the Denver Nuggets, and converted to Islam. By the 1995-96 campaign, Abdul-Rauf was doing unguardable Stephen Curry things, such as giving Utah 51 points and dropping 32 on Michael Jordan when dealing the Chicago Bulls a rare loss in their 72-win season.
Like Kaepernick, Abdul-Rauf said he viewed the American flag as a symbol of oppression and racism. Abdul-Rauf also said standing for the anthem would conflict with his Muslim faith because you can’t be for God and also for oppression.
On March 12, 1996, the NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for one game, citing a rule that players must line up in a “dignified posture” for the anthem. It cost him almost $32,000 of his $2.6 million salary. The players union supported Abdul-Rauf, and he quickly reached a compromise with the league that allowed him to stand and pray with his head down during the anthem. But at the end of the season, the Nuggets traded Abdul-Rauf, who averaged a team-high 19.2 points and 6.8 assists, to the Sacramento Kings. His playing time dropped. He lost his starting spot. After his contract expired in 1998, Abdul-Rauf couldn’t get so much as a tryout with any NBA team. He was just 29 years old.
Yaseen Mahmoud is a 19-year-old student of sacred knowledge who completed his memorization of the Holy Quran at the age of 14. Although he was born in the U.S., Yaseen has lived most of his life in the Middle East, and he has had the distinct honor of attending a month long Hifz intensive in al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah. Currently, Yaseen studies at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, and he enjoys photography as a hobby.
Shareef Salaam is the Director of National University’s LEAP (Life Enhancement Through Athletic Participation) Program as well as the founder and CEO of the Sport Psychology athletic performance enhancement consultation group, YOU LLC (Youth Onward & Upward LLC). Shareef also serves as an early intervention clinician for UCSF Benioff’s Center for The Vulnerable Child SPARK program. Currently Shareef is completing a duel degree program at John F. Kennedy University where he will obtain a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology coupled with a masters in Sport Psychology. Shareef values the importance of family and cites his greatest accomplishment as being a father of two boys. Aeneas his eldest son is a nationally ranked baseball player and freshman at Bishop O’Dowd High School. His youngest son is also a talented athlete who currently attends Berkwood Hedge Middle School where Shareef is a member of the Board Of Trustees. As a native of Northern California, living in Oakland, Shareef enjoys spending much of his free time hiking the bay area backroads with his Husky companion “Paw Paw” or enjoying his evenings of solace listening to Miles Davis’s album “Ballets and Blues.” Shareef is born from a long lineage of educators from which he has inherited a deep commitment to service and recognizes that, in the words of the great Jackie Robinson, “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Ahmed Abdullahi is a 20-year-old student of sacred knowledge who was born in Oakland, Ca and raised in Yemen and Stockton. In the coming year, he plans to study Quran, Fiqh/Sharia law, Tajweed, Ulum al Quran and Arabic calligraphy in Morocco or Senegal. In his spare time he enjoys airsoft and playing basketball.
20-year-old Jihad Dphrepaulezz is a rapper and political organizer from Oakland, California. He’s passionate about art, poetry and anti racist youth movement.
Bilqis Abdul Qadir
From a young age, Bilqis Abdul-Qadir knew she wanted basketball to be a part of her life. After first picking up a ball at the age of four at a local YMCA, Bilqis' love for the game began. Living in a practicing Muslim household, Bilqis was to follow her religious beliefs as she grew older. She began wearing a hijab, a traditional head covering for Muslim women, and practiced modesty on the court by covering all skin except her hands. She parlayed her skills into a full ride scholarship to the University of Memphis where she played four years (2009-13) and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in exercise science.
Her goal was to continue playing professionally in Europe, but quickly ended due to the international Basketball Federation (FIBA) rule prohibiting head gear larger than five inches. Unwilling to stray in her beliefs, Bilqis chose faith over basketball and became an advocate working alongside other Muslim players who began a Change.org petition and with Shirzanan Media and Advocacy Organization as an Athlete Ambassador. Through an op-ed published by TIME, an open letter signed by Olympic, retired and professional athletes, high-level speaking engagements and interviews with BBC Sport - and their 55 million strong audience, Bilqis raised her voice for the next generation and effectively forced FIBA to uplift the ban.
Bilqis is currently living in London, Ontario, Canada with her husband working ar London Islamic School. They also run their basketball program called Dribbling Down Barriers, hosting camps in clinics for the youth in the US and Canada.
Yasin Abdullahi is an 18-year-old student of sacred knowledge who was born in Oakland Ca, and raised in Stockton and Yemen.
Yasin is completing his fourth and final year at Miraaj Academy—a Hafiz leadership program based in Memphis, TN that develops Muslim community leaders. Upon completing his memorization of Quran and graduating the program, he will travel abroad to continue his Islamic Studies. In his free time, Yasin enjoy sports, advanced Martial Arts, and MMA.
Nasir Naeem is an 18-year-old College student pursuing chiropractic studies. He was born and raised in Berkeley California and now resides in North Dallas, Texas. He enjoys skateboarding in his free time and he is an active memeber of The Foundation-a youth organization that promotes self improvement for young Muslim men.