Our Founder & Executive Director

Daisy Khan is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality & Equality (WISE), a New York based non-profit organization which enables Muslim women leaders to create a peaceful and prosperous world anchored in gender equality and human dignity. Formerly, Khan served as Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, where she spent eighteen years creating groundbreaking intra- and inter-faith programs based on cultural and religious harmony through interfaith collaboration.

Since 2014, Khan has confronted the unprecedented rise in violent extremism and Islamophobia by promoting interfaith collaboration and amplifying the ethical and egalitarian values of Islam. In addition to her forthcoming memoir, Born with Wings (Spring 2018), Khan has served as Executive Editor for WISE Up: Knowledge Ends Extremism, a 2017 publication she led in collaboration with 72 contributors. WISE Up is aimed at empowering Muslims and the general American public with the knowledge and resources to discredit extremist ideology and prevent Islamophobia.

Khan also appears regularly on media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and ABC and is frequently quoted in print publications like The New York Times and TIME Magazine. She has appeared in numerous documentaries including PBS’s Three Faiths, One God; Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, and National Geographic’s Inside Mecca. Khan has also contributed to The Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog.

Khan lectures in the U.S. and internationally on numerous topics including Muslim women, Islam in America, Islamophobia, and violent extremism. Her audiences are varied and she has spoken at prestigious think tanks, such as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), universities, congregations, and women’s and youth groups. No matter whom she addresses, she passionately and unequivocally confirms that gender equality is an intrinsic part of the Islamic faith and affirms that Islamic values promote freedom of religion and expression.

 

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Interfaith Center’s Award for Promoting Peace and Interfaith Understanding, the Edinburgh Peace Award, and the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award. MORE Magazine described her as “a link between moderate Islam and the West.” Women’s E-News named her “21 women of the 21st century.” The Huffington Post listed her among “Top Ten Women Faith leaders,” Glamour Magazine listed her among “7 Women You Must Follow on Twitter,” and she was mentioned among TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Born in Kashmir, Khan spent twenty-five years as an interior architect for various Fortune 500 companies before committing to full-time community service. Khan works in New York and resides in the tristate area with her husband.

Daisy in the Press

See Daisy Khan's Latest Media Appearances

MSNBC

Muslims 'more fearful than anybody else' Executive Director of the Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality Daisy Khan reacts to Donald Trump's proposal of a database for Syrian refugees and how the lives of Muslim Americans has changed since the attacks in Paris.

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CNN

'Nothing Islamic' about ISIS, just 'psychopaths' Daisy Khan, director of a non-profit organization dedicated to equality and justice for Muslims, speaks with Christiane Amanpour.Source: CNN

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ABC

Islamic State: Tony Abbott's 'death cult' tag feeds terror group's propaganda machine, expert warns

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Huffington Post

WISE's Jamila Afghani Is Educating Imams In Afghanistan On The Value Of Women In Islam (All Together Podcast)

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The Daily Caller

Muslim Women’s Leader Says Trump Defamed Islam, Calls Tweets ‘Reprehensible’

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VoA Dari

Muslim Women Fight Extremism at the WISE Up Summit in Washington D.C. by unveiling the WISE Up Report and campaign.

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Press Inquiries

Our Board

Latifa Yusufi Woodhouse

Over the past 19 years, Latifa has volunteered her time and talents at The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock. She was President of Women’s Board and created a Friday discussion circle titled “Thank Goddess It is Friday”, where women have met on Fridays for 15 years to discuss issues, concerns and the role of women in society . She was one of founding member of Women for Afghan Women. She has long worked with the Afghan and American communities in New York City and Long Island to support non – profit initiatives that focused on developing educational and health facilities for women and children in Afghanistan. To create greater public awareness of the fate of the Afghan and Muslim women, Latifa has been interviewed about Afghan women’s rights in local newspapers, Public Access TV channels, Hofstra University radio, CW Post Long Island University Radio and in many churches and Temples.

 

Leyla Turkkan

Leyla Naile Turkkan is a public relations and communications strategist who was instrumental in bringing hip-hop music into the mainstream, and promoted the first major anti-Islamophobia campaign in the United States. Leyla has worked in the music and entertainment industry since 1983, when she organized a benefit concert for Zimbabwe with reggae world superstars Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh and Black Uhuru. She founded two PR and marketing firms (The Catalyst Group and Set to Run), and has held executive positions at Columbia Records, The Atlantic Group, EMI Records, Rush Communications, and BET Networks. Throughout her career, Leyla has championed emerging artists and music genres, including hip-hop, alt-rock, and indie. Among the artists Leyla has launched, developed or rebranded are The Cure, The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, the Fugees, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Jeff Buckley, Mariah Carey, Tony Bennett, The Breeders, David Bowie, B-52s, Duran Duran, Kid Rock, TLC, Alicia Keys, Aliyah, Cibo Mato, Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer, Lucious Jackson, Grand Royal Records, Def Jam Recordings, Russell Simmons, Missy Elliott, Ludacris, Lemonheads, Fountains of Wayne, Jawbox, Inbreds, Sloan, Fluffy, Drain STH, September 67, World Party, and Belle & Sebastian.

 

Yasemin Saib

Yasemin Saib has 21 years of professional experience in philanthropy, non-profit management, social enterprise development and broadcast media and has spent the last 9 years in senior Director roles raising major funds for the organizations she represents, developing creative fund generation opportunities, cultivating strategic CSR partnerships with the private and public sector and managing a wide array of donor relationships in the Arab world generally and in the GCC region specifically.
In her capacity as a fundraising and CSR expert, Yasemin Saib, is currently consulting and advising individuals and organizations globally on effective fundraising, donor cultivation and management, impactful CSR activations and sustainable funding of programs. Previously she was the Director of Fundraising at Dubai Cares in the United Arab Emirates for 6 years which is the private Foundation of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Cares has programs in 35 countries providing over 10 million children worldwide with access to quality primary education.

 

Fazeela Siddiqui

Fazeela Siddiqui is currently a Staff Attorney in the civil division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City. She is a member of the Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY), the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY) and a regional fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI). Fazeela has worked at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, was a Voting Rights Fellow at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and served as a law clerk at the Vera Institute of Justice, the Center for Constitutional Rights and in the office of the Honorable Judge William Young of the United States District Court in Boston.

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