Anse Tamara Gray
Anse Tamara Gray is the founder of Rabata, an organization dedicated to promoting positive cultural change through individual empowerment, spiritual upbringing of women by women, and the revival of the female voice in scholarship.
She lived in Syria for twenty years, studying sacred knowledge and traveling along the road of tarbiya (spiritual upbringing). Anse Tamara studied a full curriculum of Islamic sacred texts and subjects including: Shāfiʿī jurisprudence (fiqh), Islamic theology (ʿaqīda), Quranic sciences (tafsīr and tajwīd), Arabic grammar (naḥū), geography of the Muslim world, Islamic civilization and culture, Islamic history and classical methods of spiritual growth (tazkiya). Her specialty area is the life of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him (sīra), which she studied in-depth with the foremost sīra scholar of our time. She is fluent in both spoken and classical Arabic and received her ijāza in the recitation of Quran from the late Shaikh Muḥyī al-Dīn al-Kurdī in 1997.
Anse Tamara is a doctoral student in the Leadership, Policy and Administration program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum Theory and Instruction, and works in the field of education, focusing on instruction, curriculum design and implementation, administration, and teacher training.
Her publications range from several culturally appropriate English language curriculum programs to translations of sacred texts. Her most recent publication is an interactive journal called Joy Jots: Exercises for a Happy Heart, which takes the reader through 52 weeks of growth, discovery and joyful outreach.
Some of the projects that she has initiated through Rabata include: The Lina Project, a two-day workshop that addresses the unique needs of female converts; Circles of Light, group and individual activities that foster a strong habit of worship; Daybreak a publishing company and third space in Minnesota and Ribaat, an online academic program that brings college-level Islamic learning to women across the world, offering certifications in the Islamic sciences as well as teaching certifications.
Rumana Ahmed currently serves as a Senior Advisor at the White House to the President's Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. During her time at the National Security Council her work has encompassed global entrepreneurship focused on women and youth, normalization of US-Cuba relations, rebalance in Asia (particularly in Laos and Burma) and the President's engagements with Muslim Americans, such as his meetingwith community leaders last year at the White House and his visit to a mosque in Baltimore earlier this year. Prior to this role, she served in the Office of Public Engagement as the interim liaison to the Muslim American, Arab American and Iranian American communities. She also directed the White House Champions of Change Initiative. She has served at the White House for over 5 years in various capacities, but first started at the White House as an intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence in 2010 while completing her BA in International Affairs at The George Washington University.
Melanie Elturk is the CEO of Haute Hijab, one of the largest U.S. brands for modest fashion. Melanie aims to empower hijab-wearing women worldwide, and in addition to her clothing and hijab line, she facilitates support for those struggling with hijab in addition to highlighting inspiring women who contribute to their communities in significant ways. By providing compelling and innovative products and connecting with her customers in a meaningful way, Melanie has propelled Haute Hijab from a cult favorite to a household name with a loyal following and dynamic social media presence. She is a regular contributor on ELLE.com, has been featured in the New York Times, NBC Today, USA Today, Buzzfeed and others. She is an industry expert in modest fashion and has spoken at the WIEF in Malaysia, GIES in Italy, and Istanbul Modest Fashion Week.