Meet the Leaders of Masjid AL-Taqwa
Imam Tariq El-Amin
Tariq has served as the Resident Imam & Chairman of the Board of Masjid Al-Taqwa (since 2013), and is a leader in Chicago’s Muslim community; he’s an active part of its Inter & Intrafaith Community. Tariq apprenticed with Imam Sultan Salahuddin (founding Imam of Masjid Mu’minun) studying Quran, commentary of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, masjid administration, and interfaith dialogue over a 10 year period. He has also studied the History of Islam, Arabic, and Quranic studies at American Islamic College.
Tariq has served as the host of Radio Islamm, airing on WCEV 1450AM from 6pm-7pm the Founder & Executive Director of Bridging the Gap Inc, which provides community bonding opportunities through service projects & recreational activities. He has also served on the Illinois Muslim Advisory Council, established by former Governor Pat Quinn, and serves on a variety of non-Profit Boards that reflect his commitment to servant leadership and social justice.
Tariq resides in the South Suburbs with his wife, Dr. Aisha El-Amin, and their three teenage daughters.
Dr. Aisha El-Amin (Board Member)
Dr. Aisha El-Amin holds a PhD in Policy Studies of Urban Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. El-Amin is passionate about issues of equity and justice in education. These passions have led her to become a certified teacher, an adjunct professor, an elected school board member for School District #168 and board member for Routledge Journal, Religion and Education. As a higher education administrator, Dr. El-Amin has served as a Grant Manager, Executive Director, Associate Dean and currently Associate Provost and Chief of Staff for the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Dr. Lionel Allen, jrDr. El-Amin’s activism is best captured in her work with, Just Greetings, a family owned greeting card line dedicated to celebrating a commitment to justice and in her volunteer work with various Chicago based organizations including Teachers for Social Justice, Bridging the
Gap, Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago and Masjid Al-Taqwa. Dr. El-Amin resides in Homewood, Illinois with her husband of 18 years Imam Tariq El-Amin and their 3 teenage daughters- Zakiyyah, Zahirrah and Yaminah El-Amin.
Dr. Lionel Allen Jr. (Board Member)
Dr. Lionel Allen, Jr. is the Chief Academic Officer of Urban Prep Academies, an organization founded in 2002 with the mission of providing educational opportunities to urban boys leading to their success in college. Urban Prep operates three all-male schools, including the country’s first all-boys public charter high school, as well as an alumni program and a full-year fellowship program for recent college graduates. For the past seven years 100% of Urban Prep’s graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges and universities.
Previously, Dr. Allen served as principal of the Sherman School of Excellence, the nation’s and the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s first No Child Left Behind turnaround school. Under his leadership, Sherman students achieved significant academic gains in both reading and mathematics. As Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Allen leads the network of Urban Prep schools to ensure students continue to achieve dramatic performance gains. Highlights of his responsibilities include establishing the network’s student development goals, implementing Urban Prep’s rigorous curriculum and participating in the application process for new schools. Dr. Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in leadership and administration and a doctoral degree in urban education leadership both from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
Dr. Allen was raised on Chicago’s Southside and attended Chicago Public Schools.
Omar Yamini (Board Member)
Omar Yamini’s childhood began on the south side of Chicago in 1976. When he was 12 years old in 1988 his parents bought a home and moved their family to, the first suburb south of Chicago. He was raised in a God fearing two parent household with five siblings, three of whom are college graduates. His younger brother serves as a sergeant in the United States Air Force. His other brother, who is 16 months younger in age from him, became a 9 time All-American in track and football, went on to play in the NFL and inducted into the University of Iowa’s Hall of Fame. Mr. Yamini too received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois Chicago in 2014.
At age 20, after being raised by parents who did their job the right way, Omar invited harmful influences into his life, and as a result he went to prison for 15 years under the “Theory of Accountability”. The demoralizing experience affected his spirit and soul so deeply it compelled him to write his book; “What’s Wrong With You!” (What You, Your Children, and Our Students Need To Know About My 15 Year Imprisonment From Age 20-35) in 2012. He wrote it so that our young people truly understand the mental and emotional devastation of prison and what will happen to any of us if we lose our dignity and decency and invite harmful influences into our lives. His book and program are being utilized by schools nationwide. With the support of his family, Omar founded “The Proper Perception, LLC” in the fall of 2012.
Ndidi Amatullah Okakpu (Board Member)
Ndidi Amatullah Okakpu is a small business and nonprofit consultant in community development and social enterprise with an extensive background in business, community activism, organizing, and Muslim community relations.
Ndidi has written vigorously in Muslim Journal, often reporting on community, civic, and world events. Ms. Okakpu’s background has called her to serve in several leadership capacities. She is the first woman and youngest to be nominated and elected to serve as Convener of the Chicagoland Shura
Council (CSC). CSC convenes the various Mosques and Muslim organizations representing Imam Mohammed’s community in the Chicagoland area. She is an alumnus of American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI).
She has joined several delegations to The White House Office of Public Engagement addressing issues affecting marginalized American communities. Ndidi has been featured for her organizing work by the US State Department in its documentary on the contributions of Muslims in America along with other noted Americans such as Congressman Keith Ellison.
Zakiyyah H. El-Amin (Board Member)
Zakiyyah El-Amin has been involved in Theater Arts in Chicago for over 35 years. She is the playwright, instructor, director and producer of over 100 plays. Zakiyyah is also well know for her not- for- profit work as the co-founder of Society of United Neighbors (SUN) and SUN Puppet Theatre, which is know for edutainment (education and entertainment) at it’s best .
Zakiyyah has worked in the Muslim community for over 40 years. She currently serves as a member of the International League of Muslim Women, treasurer of her block club, member of the Harris Park Advisory Council, secretary of Chicagoland Shura, member of Masjid Al-Taqwa board and director of SUN Cultural Arts. Zakiyyah volunteers with Bridging the Gap, WITTS and Central Park Elementary School. She has also raised 5 children who currently serve as leaders in the the Muslim community.
Halimah Webster (Board Member)
Halimah Webster serves as the secretary of Masjid Al-Taqwa and Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of Bringing the Gap Inc. Halimah has worked in the arts in Chicago in various roles for the past 10 years. She is well know for her work with Chicago Public Schools and SUN Theatre Arts as a choreographer, lyricist and drama instructor. Halimah is also the co-founder of SUN puppet theatre, where she is popularly known as the hilarious Aaliyah.
Halimah serves as a member of her block club, a volunteer for 50 wards-50 meals, board member of Jean and Gail Cantave Foundation and event organizer for Midwest Leadership Conference, with over 300 attendees. As a member of Sigma Game Rho Sorority Inc. Halimah is dedicated to a life of service.
Gregory Abdullah Mitchell (Board Member)
Gregory Abdullah Mitchell, a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois, is chairperson for Leadership Development Institute and a board member of Masjid Al-Taqwa of Chicago, Illinois. Having served on the board of, and provided legal assistance to, many Muslim organizations over the past 25 years, Brother Mitchell brings a wealth of knowledge and experience concerning not for profit organizations to CIOGC
Dr. Mikal Ramadan (Board Member)
Dr. Mikal Ramadan has practiced full-time emergency medicine for over 36 years.
Dr Ramadan and his family moved to Chicago in 1975 after a private meeting which he had with Imam WD Mohammed in the National House in Hyde Park.
In 1975 he served as the national committee coordinator under Imam W D Mohammed. In 1977 he served as the Director of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad Memorial health facilities corporation.
He served as the Resident Imam of Masjid Al-Taqwa for 14 years until deciding not to seek ratification in 2014, at which point he was succceded by current Resident Imam, Tariq I. El-Amin. He continues to teach Al Islam as student of Imam W.D. Muhammad.
Ammiel Mateen (Board Member)
Ammiel Mateen is a high-level administrator, human resources specialist, and event manager. She has also directed a Farmers’ Market – the first ever, full-scale farmers’ market in the Chicago Lawn area. Ammiel is drawn to organizing and advocacy programs. Her passion for organizing and activism was ignited by her parents who were storied community activists in Flint, Michigan, and for the last 20 years Ammiel has followed in their footsteps.
Ammiel is also an avid runner and coach who has completed over 30 races, including the 2015 Boston Marathon. In 2008, she founded the Aquilla Nisaa Project, an organization created to inspire, empower and provide life skills training to young women and children. Ammiel received a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and Economics from Greensboro College. She has also been certified as a Professional in Human Resources by DePaul University.
Imam Rabbani Mubashshir (Imam Staff)
Imam Rabbani Mubashshir is an Associate Imam at Masjid Al-Taqwa and is the Arabic & Islamic Studies Instructor. In 1992 Imam Mubashshir was selected by the board of Masjid Ar-Rahman located on Chicago’s Westside to serve as Resident Imam and President of The Mosque of the Beneficent, Inc. In 1998 Imam Mubashshir was asked by Imam Mohammed to coordinate the First Midwest Regional Convention which featured the first national satellite address by Imam Mohammed delivered from Los Angeles, California. Imam Mubashshir also served as Director of Advertising for the Muslim Journal. He has been a student of Imam Mohammed since first hearing an early lecture in 1971 at Mosque No. 2 in Chicago. He attended Imam Mohammed’s weekly Sunday classes where the Imam taught Classical Arabic and Comparative Religion. Imam Mubashshir has been a student in the Muslim American Logic Institute’s (MALI) Arabic language program for the past three years. He is also currently completing his undergrad degree in Islamic Studies at the American Islamic College in Chicago, Illinois and hopes to obtain a Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago.