Our Founder & Executive Director

Daisy Khan is an award-winning speaker, author, activist, commentator, and the founder of Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE), the largest global network of Muslim women committed to peacebuilding, gender equality, and human dignity.

She has been involved in grassroots efforts combating anti-Muslim bias for over twenty years and is renowned as a thought leader on Muslim women’s rights, Islam in America. As an bridge builder she has been hailed for producing interfaith programs like Same Difference, the Cordoba Bread Fest and the “Today, I am a Muslim Too” rally.

Khan believes that women’s leadership is essential to solving societal issues. “we need to remove structural barriers to Muslim women’s leadership, to enable them to use their resolve, passion and humility to bring societies into greatness.” She founded the first global Muslim women’s Shura (advisory) Council to amplify Muslim women’s scholarship. The Council uses an egalitarian interpretation of scripture to publish position papers against issues such as child marriage, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and many others.

Khan published WISE Up in collaboration with 72 authors to create a counter-momentum to the rise in hateful rhetoric and violent extremism. Her memoir, Born with Wings, published in 2018 by Random House, depicts her spiritual journey as a modern Muslim woman and her circuitous path to leadership. Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review.

Khan is a prolific speaker who has lectured at major institutions, like Council on Foreign Relations, Aspen Institute, Chautauqua Institution, World Economic Forum and many others. She is a media commentator and an Op-Ed writer who has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, PBS and BBC and is featured in documentaries and publications like TIME, Newsweek, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Elle and many others.

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

Born in Kashmir, she spent twenty-five years as an interior architect for various Fortune 500 companies. In 2005, she dedicated herself to full-time community service and building movements for positive change, both in the United States and around the globe.

In her off time, you can find Daisy working in her flower garden or cooking up a storm. She lives with her husband in the New York tristate area.

Click here to watch Born with Wings: The Spiritual Journey of a Modern Muslim Woman 

Click here to view long- and short-form versions of Daisy’s bio.

Follow Daisy on Twitter (@DaisyKhan), Facebook (@DaisyKhanWISE), and Instagram  (@daisykhan.nyc).

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.