Meet the Leaders of Masjid AL-Taqwa
Imam Tariq I. El-Amin (Board Chair)
Imam Tariq I. El-Amin is a proud alumnus of the Sister Clara Muhammad School system and has served as the Resident Imam of Masjid Al-Taqwa (Chicago, IL) since 2013; during that time he has led the masjid’s programmatic and physical expansion. Imam Tariq has used his knowledge as a skilled tradesman (local 1 Ironworker) to oversee the rehab of Masjid Al-Taqwa’s new acquired home in Chicago’s South Chicago community. Imam Tariq is a 2022 graduate of Bayan Islamic Graduate School/Chicago Theological Seminary, with a Master of Divinity in Islamic Chaplaincy.
Imam Tariq served as the nightly host/producer of Radio Islam, a live talk program where he conversed with politicians, artists, activists, etc, and also gave social commentary on the issues of the day. He is the former Director of Civic Engagement & Interfaith Services at the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and a past appointee to the Illinois Muslim Advisory Council, established by former Governor Pat Quinn. His passion for freedom, justice, and equality have led him to serve on the boards of organizations working towards those goals.
Dr. Aisha El-Amin (Board Member)
Aisha El-Amin holds a PhD in Policy Studies in Urban Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Masters of Education from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Management Studies from the University of Maryland- European Division. Dr. El-Amin is passionate about issues of equity and justice in education. These passions have led her to become a Certified K-9th grade teacher, an adjunct professor at several colleges and universities, an elected school board member, board member for Routledge Journal Religion and Education, board vice-chair for Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago and board secretary for Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). Additionally, Dr. El-Amin has served in several leadership roles in higher education administration.
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.
Omar Yamini (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.
Gregory Abdullah Mitchell (Board Member)
Gregory Abdullah Mitchell, a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois, is the chairperson for the 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 his current Masjid.
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 2013, at which point he was succceded by current Resident Imam, Tariq I. El-Amin. He continues to teach Al Islam as a student of Imam W.D. Mohammed.
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 a graduate of American Islamic College, with a degree in Islamic Studies.