SHAYKH RAMI NSOUR, FOUNDING DIRECTOR
Rami Nsour is a scholar, counselor, public speaker, teacher, and translator of Islamic texts. Spending seven years in Mauritania studying Islamic studies at some of the foremost Islamic colleges, Shaykh Rami received licensure (ijaza) to share his wisdom with students. Further enhancing his extensive study of fiqh, Nsour completed an extraordinary ‘in-residence’ experience, allowing him to research questions (fatawa) of Islamic faith, law, and practice.
Rami Nsour cofounded the Tayba Foundation, the first organization in the United States to offer a distance-learning program in Islamic Education to incarcerated men and women. Shaykh Rami has extensive experience in curriculum development, specifically in character (akhlaq), and holds a B.A. in Human Development with a focus on Early Childhood. He also obatained an M.A. in Educational Psychology. A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, he lives with his wife and three children.
NABIL AFIFI, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & FUNDRAISING COORDINATOR
Nabil Afifi is a seasoned businessman and visionary with many years of experience in private and non-profit settings. With a Master’s degree in Public Administration and 4 years of seminary training at Murabit al Hajj’s mahdara in Mauritania, Nabil brings fundraising, administrative, and sacred knowledge acumen to his work with the Tayba Foundation.
A cofounder of the Tayba, Nabil is a champion of the spiritual needs of Muslim inmates, noting, “I pray to Allah that He accepts our work. Ameen. In the end, that is all that matters.” Originally from Morocco, he is married and has 3 children.
ISA AMEZQUITA, OFFICE MANAGER
Isa Abdullah Amezquita, a Latino and Oakland California native, is the office manager for the Tayba Foundation. Gifted with a robust entrepreneurial spirit, Isa has managed a Fortune 500 Sports and Entertainment Company, and guided his own successful ventures in music, clothing, and automotive customization.
While incarcerated in the California prison system, Isa encountered the work of the Tayba Foundation through one of the program’s most successful students. Encouraged to study traditional Islam through the mahdara system, he converted to Islam over 20 years ago. Today he studies and memorizes classical texts in fiqh and aqida. Isa is currently writing a book entitled “1001 Questions with the Sheikh” that addresses the most extensive concerns of the incarcerated Muslim’s day-to-day life.
MICHELLE HARMER (KHADIJA), ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATOR
Michelle Harmer serves as program manager for the Tayba Foundation, overseeing the development and implementation of the unique curriculum Tayba provides for its students. Passionate about client success, Michelle helps to ensure that “best practices” lead to excellent outcomes. She also helps with Tayba’s development and outreach endeavors.
Michelle holds a BA (Hons) in Retail Marketing and a professional diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK). Originally from the UK, she embraced Islam in 2004, and believes that Tayba Foundation offers, “reliable, practical education in a highly accessible form.” Married with one child, she currently lives in Toronto, Canada.
JAWAD PIOREK, SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Equipped with a degree and a decade of experience in Information Technology, Jawad Piorek develops and maintains media outlets for Tayba including its Facebook page and website. Born and raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, he converted to Islam in 2004 after a spiritual discernment trip to Morocco. A native of France, Jawad has extensive experience translating Islamic educational material from English to French. He has also assisted Montreal organizations with translation and programming.
Jawad Piorek enjoys “helping Muslim inmates learn the traditional Islamic sciences.” Married with two children, he appreciates spending time with family, studying the Islamic sciences, learning the Arabic language, and a host of other interests.
WALEED RAJABALLY, PODCAST CONSULTING
Concurrently a research assistant at Cal State East Bay, Waleed Rajabally brings a heart for community service and social justice issues to his work with the Tayba Foundation. Grateful that Tayba, “uses sacred knowledge as a means of transformation,” he sees the foundation as a positive influence in and beyond the prison system. Active with social justice movements and community-organizing entities, Waleed recognizes the power of digital communication and knows how to harness digital media to tell Tayba’s story.
Prior to his work with Tayba, Waleed worked in politics and public health. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, soccer, and boxing.
LUMUMBA SHAKUR, FULL-TIME TEACHER
Lumumba Shakur works as an instructor and course developer for Tayba Foundation. He also addresses questions submitted by Tayba’s clients. Converting to Islam in 1997 prior to college, he studied classical Islam through notable online and distance learning organizations. Aware of the attributes and challenges of distance learning, Lumumba brings a unique perspective to Tayba’s delivery of educational resources.
Lumumba’s robust study of disciplines like fiqh, usul, hadith, aqida, and logic is supplemented through personal reflection, conversations, and weekend retreats. His breadth of experience is invaluable in the classroom setting. Honored by the opportunity to help the character development of those who are often neglected by society, he refines the “nuts and bolts” of class offerings, while assisting clients in their quests to master materials.
SARA KURATNIK, ACADEMY ASSISTANT
Born to Kashmiri parents who immigrated from Saudi Arabia to Canada, Sara Kuratnik works as Academy Assistant for Tayba, offering support to the Academy’s projects and initiatives. Sara is specially equipped to improve current course materials and review student assignments.
Graduating with honors from the University of Toronto (St. George Campus), she majored in Russian Language and Literature with a double minor in Italian Language and Linguistics. Introduced to the Muslim scholarly tradition during her second year of study, Sara was positively impacted by the wisdom of the Islamic scholars and decided to dedicate herself to studying Islamic sciences.
At Tayba Academy, she is grateful for the opportunity to directly help others learn about Islam and feels that meeting students at the Academy is deeply inspiring.
ABDUL MAHAYMIN AL-SALIM, TEACHER
Abdul Muhaymin Al-Salim (Eugene Priester, III) has been a student with the Tayba Foundation since 2013. After converting to Islam in 2004, while serving a dual Federal and State sentence, he sought an understanding of the Prophetic Model. After eight years in a Federal Institution without spiritual support for himself and the larger Muslim population, Al-Salim connected with Shaykh Rami and Tayba Foundation.
Abdul Muhaymin is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology while furthering his studies of the Islamic sciences. He is also the visionary behind the non-profit Al Qiyaamah, Inc., which focuses on community consulting and learning opportunities based on the Islamic model. Hailing from Savannah, Georgia, Al-Salim sees his work with Tayba as, a “tremendous opportunity to gain redemption from my previous path in life.”