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(Burtonsville, MD - April 27, 2024) The Shia Muslim Foundation, in collaboration with Idara e Jaferia, hosted a highly successful Leadership Brunch at their Burtonsville location. The event, held at 3140 Spencerville Rd, saw an impressive turnout of distinguished guests, including county delegates, state representatives, and key leaders from various sectors of Montgomery County.

Prominent among the attendees were representatives from the Montgomery County Police Department and notable Shia Muslim leaders from the Maryland community, including a representative from the Howard County Muslim Council. The brunch served as an exceptional platform for mosque leaders and county officials to engage in meaningful dialogue, fostering stronger relationships and promoting unity within the community.

Rahat Husain, Executive Director of the Shia Muslim Foundation, expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming response and participation. "Today's event exemplifies the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect that is essential for the progress of our community. We are honored to have such esteemed guests join us in discussing initiatives that will undoubtedly contribute to the betterment of Montgomery County."

The gathering facilitated open discussions on various topics, including community safety, social welfare, and collaborative efforts to address the challenges faced by the Shia Muslim community. The event highlighted the importance of interfaith dialogue and the shared commitment to fostering a harmonious and inclusive society.

The Shia Muslim Foundation extends its heartfelt thanks to all the attendees for their valuable contributions and support. The organization looks forward to continued collaboration with county officials and community leaders to ensure a brighter and more unified future for all residents of Montgomery County.

For more information about the Shia Muslim Foundation and its initiatives, please visit

About Shia Muslim Foundation:

The Shia Muslim Foundation, established in 2020, is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. The foundation works to support the civic rights of American Shia Muslims, advocate on social and political issues, and promote the rights and welfare of Shia Muslims globally. With a focus on addressing the challenges faced by the Shia Muslim community, the foundation aims to raise awareness about the persecution of Shia Muslims and foster understanding and cooperation between the Shia and Sunni communities.

Washington, D.C. – The Shia Muslim Foundation (SMF) participated in a significant event at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which also marked the launch of the “State of the Global Islamic Economy Report” by DinarStandard. The event was a convergence of key players in the halal food industry and provided a platform for discussing the halal food ecosystem and its economic impact. The report is available for download here:

Dinar Standard Global Report 2023
Download PDF • 11.39MB

Insights and Highlights from the USDA meeting:

  • Tackling Food Insufficiency: The alarming issue of food insufficiency among American Muslims was addressed, with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) distributing 800,000 meals annually to those in need across 40 states.

  • Prominent Industry Figures: The event was attended by influential figures in the halal industry, including the founder of and the President of Crescent Foods.

  • Advocacy for Halal on Campuses: The event highlighted initiatives to promote halal food options at 30 universities in the Northeastern US, emphasizing the importance of meeting diverse dietary needs in academic institutions.

  • Research Initiatives: Texas A&M University’s commitment to funding research related to halal food practices was showcased, with the support of various Muslim groups.

  • Amish Farms’ Role in Halal Meat Production: A surprising discovery was the substantial contribution of Amish farms to the US halal meat supply, aligning traditional farming values with halal principles.

Market Statistics:

  • The US halal market has reached impressive milestones with $60 billion in sales of halal food products and $20 billion in halal lifestyle spending in 2022.

  • On a global scale, the halal market is estimated at $2.3 trillion, with Muslim assets worldwide totaling $3.8 trillion.

The event at the USDA was a landmark occasion, bringing together an assembly of esteemed professionals:

At the helm of the USDA’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships stood Samantha Joseph, whose leadership and vision have been instrumental in fostering community engagement and environmental stewardship. Her welcoming remarks set the tone for a day of meaningful dialogue and collaboration.

The international trade landscape was represented by Aamer Uddin from the Department of Commerce. His expertise in global markets and digital diplomacy initiatives provided a valuable perspective on the economic intricacies of the halal industry.

From the corridors of the White House, Senior Policy Advisor Sameer Hossain brought a wealth of knowledge from the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. His contributions to the discussion underscored the importance of inclusive policies that resonate with diverse communities.

The core of the event was the unveiling of the “Global Islamic Economy 2023/2024 Report” by DinarStandard. CEO Rafi-uddin Shikoh, alongside Partner Reem El Shafaki, presented the key findings, offering a data-driven analysis of the Islamic economy’s trajectory. Their work at DinarStandard has been pivotal in providing actionable insights and fostering economic development within the Islamic markets.

Dr. Aamir Rehman, Senior Partner at DinarStandard, joined the panel discussion, bringing his academic prowess and strategic acumen to the forefront. His contributions to investment strategy and his role as a Senior Fellow at Columbia University have enriched the discourse on Islamic finance and its potential.

Elaine Trevino, the Associate Administrator of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, shared her

experiences in addressing export-import challenges and her involvement in the White House Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. Her expertise was invaluable in understanding the complexities of the global food supply chain.

Asma Ahad, the Director of Halal Market Development at IFANCA, provided insights into the certification processes and consumer needs within the halal market. Her dedication to servicing the halal consumer has been a driving force in the industry’s growth.

Shahed Amanullah, a Director at Frost Capital and Co-Founder of Zabihah, brought an entrepreneurial spirit to the event. His innovative approach to connecting consumers with halal options through Zabihah has been transformative for the industry.

Lastly, Ahmad Adam, President and CEO of Crescent Foods, shared his journey in establishing one of the largest providers of premium Halal poultry and meat in the United States. His vision and leadership have been central to meeting the growing demand for halal products.

Together, these speakers contributed to a rich tapestry of discussion, their collective wisdom paving the way for a more inclusive and prosperous halal market. The SMF, having been part of this gathering, looks forward to the continued growth and success of the global Islamic economy.

The SMF is honored to have been a part of this event and to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on halal food policy and practices. The Foundation remains dedicated to supporting the halal food ecosystem and the broader Islamic economy.

(WASHINGTON DC - March 28, 2024) The Shia Muslim Foundation (SMF) supports President Biden’s recent acknowledgment of Nowruz and his mention of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Executive Director Rahat Husain has expressed concern over the anti-Shia bias evident in some groups’ criticism of the President’s statement. Mr. Husain's discussion of the President's comments were recently featured in Politico article.

RAHAT HUSAIN, of the Shia Muslim Foundation, said he thought that Biden’s decision to mention Gaza in the statement was “entirely appropriate.” He hoped, in fact, to see the president speak more directly to the crisis.
“Most people that I know who are celebrating or commemorating Nowruz in my community and other communities are entirely concerned about Gaza. And it’s colored our celebration of Nowruz,” he said. “How much can you celebrate when people are suffering?”

Contrary to the claims of these critics, Nowruz is not exclusively a non-Muslim celebration nor solely an Iranian holiday indifferent to Gaza. This festival is observed by numerous Shia communities across India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Turkey. The debate on whether Nowruz is a cultural festivity or has Islamic roots does not diminish its significance to these communities.

The SMF emphasizes that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza transcends religious, regional, and ethnic boundaries; it is a matter of universal human rights. The Foundation commends President Biden for addressing this issue in the Nowruz statement and urges for more substantial action rather than divisive rhetoric online.

Executive Director Husain, whose insights were sought by Politico, reiterates that unity and scholarly discourse should prevail over attempts to isolate Shia Muslims or any community.

The SMF remains committed to fostering understanding and advocating for the rights of all individuals, regardless of their background or beliefs.

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