BBC World News Interviews Zahra Jamal on Performing Hajj in a Pandemic

Farrokh Derakhshani: The Aga Khan Award for Architecture and its global impact, The Ismali

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) was established by Mawlana Hazar Imam in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. Since the award was launched, 122 projects have received the award and more than 9,000 building projects have been documented.

In November 2019, Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of AKAA and who has been associated with the Award since 1982, participated in a discussion with Dr. Zahra Jamal at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center, Houston. Mr. Derakhshani is trained as an architect and planner at the National University of Iran and later continued his studies at the School of Architecture in Paris. Dr. Zahra Jamal is Associate Director at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance.

Our Signature Spokesperson Training Gets Results, ReThink Media for Security, Rights, and Democracy

Over the course of the past two years, we have trained more than 200 people through this initiative—more than 60 percent of whom are women…

One of our star participants, Zahra Jamal, the Associate Director at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, has continued to refine her communications strategy and has leveraged her work into real results. We first trained Jamal in Houston in 2018, and have continued to work with her since building her media presence.

People, papers and presentations, Rice News

Zahra Jamal, associate director for community engagement at Rice’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, served on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Houston Diversity Month planning committee, which designated April as a month to bring together “people of all backgrounds to share diverse cultures and heritages, exchange knowledge and ideas and celebrate the core social values of inclusiveness, respect and equal opportunity for all.” Jamal appeared in a video featuring Diversity Month testimonials (Adobe Flash must be enabled to watch the video).

Rice Alum Returns to Advance Religious Tolerance, Glasscock Blog, Rice University

Last summer, Zahra Jamal, Ph.D., who earned two undergraduate degrees from Rice University, was named the associate director for community engagement at Rice’s Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance. She will lead a new daytime course at the Glasscock School beginning Thursday, March 31, 2016, called “Living the Faith: Religion and Spirituality in Everyday American Life.”

‘Hidden Heroes’, Rice News

Students from Rice’s Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance discuss love and community during Interfaith Week on “Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Hidden Heroes.” Zahra Jamal, associate director for community engagement at the institute; Marcia Brennan, professor of religion and art history and faculty fellow in the Center for Teaching

Excellence; and Rice students Sophie D’Amico, David Patterson, Arlen Suarez, Paul Meyer, Michael Otoo and Navya Kumar are featured.

KDAF-TV (Dallas)

Islamophobia spotlighted at daylong teach-in, Rice News

To understand Islamophobia, it’s best to start at the beginning.

That’s why Paula Sanders, professor of history and director of Rice’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, kicked off a daylong Islamophobia teach-in March 27 with a deep dive into the roots of both anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish hatred… Zahra Jamal, associate director of the Boniuk Institute, gave a presentation on historic and modern examples of anti-Muslim rhetoric in American political and social life, which often positions white, Christian and Western identities as enlightened, progressive and superior to violent, irrational and inferior brown, Arab, Muslim others.

Vigil commemorates victims of New Zealand mosque attacks, Rice News

A student-led discussion over lunch will be bookended by talks including “Islamophobia and Muslim Women” by Elora Shehabuddin, associate professor in the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality, and “Islamophobia in America: Manifestations, Roots, Impacts and What You Can Do” by Zahra Jamal of the Rice’s Boniuk Institute.

Boniuk Institute’s Jamal gives International Women’s Day keynote

Zahra Jamal ’00, the associate director of Rice’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, was the keynote speaker at the MD Anderson Cancer Center’s International Women’s Day event March 8. She is pictured with MD Anderson President Peter Pisters. Also in attendance were University Representative Y. Ping Sun and Boniuk Institute Director Paula Sanders, a professor of history at Rice.

Fort Bend sheriff hosts diversity and cultural awareness session

Speakers of different faiths and cultures advocated tolerance and equality in an effort to educate and spread awareness during a workshop hosted by Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls on Thursday.

During the event, “Diversity and Living Together: an Awareness Session from Various Cultural and Religious Groups,” law enforcement officers and local residents listened to presentations about the cultures that can be found in Fort Bend County, one of the most diverse counties in the nation, according to a report published by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

The goal of the workshop is to bridge a disconnect among people and to promote equality, Nehls said.

Zahra Jamal, associate director of Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, clarified myths and misconceptions surrounding Islamic traditions, specifically Sharia Law and terror groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram.

Religious tolerance in Trump’s America, Australian Broadcasting Company

You might think that in Donald Trump’s America, where there’s incendiary language about Muslims in particular, that someone running a think tank devoted to tolerance would have a tough task.

But Zahra Jamal, associate director at the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University in Texas, says there are challenges but also surprising optimism.

Andrew West of ABC’s Religion and Ethics Report caught up with her at the G20 Interfaith Summit.

New Webinar Series! Privilege, Race & Religion in the U.S., Tanenbaum

Following Tanenbaum’s four-part Spring Speaker Series, we are pleased to provide an upcoming two-part Fall Speaker Series. The focus this fall will be on the intersection of race and religion, with an emphasis on how these identities and their intersectionality can impact, and be impacted by, the workplace. Across two dates, Tanenbaum CEO, Rev. Mark Fowler will speak with two thought leaders who have each recently published books on this topic of intersectionality.

Tanenbaum’s Religious Diversity Symposium, Religion News Service

Tanenbaum | Center for Interreligious Understanding and Ted Childs LLC are holding their Fourth Annual Religious Diversity Symposium at HNA Premier Conference Center. The urgency to address religious diversity in the workplace continues to grow daily. The Religious Diversity Symposium is a unique opportunity to develop action orientated plans. This two-day, high-level, strategy oriented conference takes place in Palisades, New York and provides a spotlight on religious diversity and inclusion as an issue of importance to workplace culture and marketplace performance.

Speakers and moderators for the conference are leaders in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion such as Carmen Smith, Walt Disney Imagineering; Robert P. Jones, PRRI; Nadine Augusta, Goldman Sachs; Sumreen Ahmad, Accenture; Amy Feinman, ADL; Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Accenture; Dr. Zahra Jamal, Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance; Tanguy de Belair, Vinci; Monica Diaz, Blue Cross and Blue Shield; David Casey, CVS Health; Ann-Isabel Previl, FINRA; Adam Rosen, Door of Clubs; Andrew Selesnick, Katonah-Lewisboro School District; Denise Breaux Soignet, University of Arkansas; and Sandy Cross, PGA. The Symposium is sponsored by PGA and MITRE.

Tanenbaum’s 2020 in Review

120 people take part in Privilege, Race, and Religion in the U.S., a webinar conversation series presented by Tanenbaum’s Workplace program and co-sponsored by Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, under Dr. Zahra Jamal’s leadership.

When Will We See Diversity in the C-Suite? We Ask 10 Experts

We are going backwards right now, with the number of female Fortune 500 chief executive officers dropping by 25% last year and the number of black CEOs at its lowest since 2002. Companies are spinning their wheels but not going anywhere. What is going wrong, what needs to change, and who needs to make these changes for the C-Suite to become more inclusive? To find out, I reached out to several Diversity and Inclusion experts including Neil Milliken, Gail Zoppo, Sabine VanderLinden, Debra Ruh, Mira Brancu, Vessy Tasheva, Gregory Jenkins, Zahra Jamal, Cathy Gallagher-Louisy and Edie Stringfellow.

Dr. Zahra N. Jamal, Ph.D., CDP, Associate Director, Boniuk Institute, Rice University; @znjamal

“Companies in the top quartile for executive-board diversity (gender/foreign nationals) have had 53% higher Returns on Equity than those in the bottom quartile. Yet despite their commitments to diversity and the business case for it, corporate leadership is more homogeneous than in recent years. To diversify and retain talent in the C-Suite, the CEO, and by extension senior executives, must own and drive diversity and inclusion efforts. They should create a culture of trust, belonging, and ally-ship where all employees bring their whole, intersectional-selves to work and are encouraged to collaborate, voice concerns, and wrestle with disruptive ideas. Boards can hold their CEOs accountable, as can shareholders, employees, suppliers, and customers.”

What Faith & Belief have to say about Artificial Intelligence, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Today, business leaders are directing programmers and technologists to construct Artificial Intelligence systems that have global ethical impact. “AI” is enabling enormous medical, economic and social advances – and also enabling some alarming incivility and intolerance. Its impact on society is huge and expanding rapidly. Problem is: AI lacks the capacity for moral or spiritual discernment. We need perspectives of faith and belief in the rooms where AI decisions are being made…

Our purpose in this conference (and this blog) is not to advocate any particular faith’s perspectives on the ethical ramifications of AI, but rather to draw attention to the work that’s already underway to connect faith to work in this crucial arena, and to encourage leaders throughout commerce to purposefully and systematically seek out and thoughtfully consider perspectives of religiously diverse people on the ethical implications of AI.

Here's How the G20 Interfaith Forum Looks to Turn Potential Into Action, Deseret News

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Minutes after last month’s G20 Interfaith Forum officially began, as stragglers continued to wander in and search for seats, Brian Adams, one of the event’s organizers, took the stage to share a harsh truth.

Unbounded potential doesn’t guarantee incredible results, he explained. Good ideas don’t always translate into meaningful action.

The G20 Interfaith Forum, attended by religious and political leaders from six of the world’s seven continents and celebrated as one of the most important interfaith activities undertaken anywhere, can’t be content with a strong reputation, said Adams, director of the Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University in Perth, Australia. It still has growing to do.

Zahra Jamal & D. Todd Christofferson Discuss Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education and its Relationship to Religious Literacy​, G20 Interfaith Forum

Zahra Jamal, Alumna, The Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University in the News

Zahra Jamal (’08) hosted UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements and State Department official Wa’el Alzayat to comment on the global refugee crisis; Harpreet Singh Mokha, Department of Justice National Program Manager for Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian Communities, and a group of federal agents to explore how to protect places of worship in the wake of the Victoria Mosque arson and the Sutherland Springs Church shooting; and Columbia University’s Lisa Miller to discuss early childhood development and her book The Spiritual Child. Jamal sat on panels with artist Olafur Eliasson of Project Green Light regarding refugee resettlement and resilience, former UK first lady and Chancellor of Asian University for Women Cherie Blair regarding women’s education and power in Asian contexts, and producer James Younger of The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman regarding common values and principles that unite our global village.

Statement to Rice University, Baker Institute, Houston, Texas : “Refugees: Local Solutions to a Global Crisis,” by Kelly T. Clements, Deputy High Chair, The UN Refugee Agency

First and foremost I would like to thank Ambassador Djerejian and the Baker Institute for Public Policy, Ms. Paula Sanders and the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, and Mayor Sylvester Turner for hosting me on my first trip to Texas.This maiden voyage is a particular pleasure as I have family in Austin and Franklin, who spent a long time here in Houston, so I’ve heard much about the great state of Texas over my lifetime.Special thanks go to Oni Blair of the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs for the inspiration to come to Texas and the effort to make this visit possible.She’s a dear friend, whom I’ve admired for years for her commitment to public service and the impact that she has personally had on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Club Awards, Rice University Student Center

The Club Awards Reception, hosted by the Student Center, is an opportunity for the Rice community to recognize the contributions of dedicated student leaders, organizations and faculty/staff club sponsors. The first annual Club Awards Reception was held on April 17, 2019, and recognized the following student leaders, organizations and faculty/staff club


2019 Faculty/Staff Sponsor Awards

Hudspeth Award Winners

Maria Bejan, Rice Vegan Society Club Sponsor

Jonathan Flynn, Rice Neuroscience Society Club Sponsor

Zahra Jamal, The Boniuk Council for Interfaith Club Sponsor

Julie King, Rice Science Olympiad Club Sponsor

Alan Russell, Disability Advocates and Allies Club Sponsor

Gary Woods, Rice Electric Vehicle Club Sponsor

Media Stars, Rice Public Affairs M&M Report September-October 2018

Douglas Brinkley, the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Professor in Humanities, had the highest number of media mentions — 1,701 — during September and October, mainly for comments about President Donald Trump. Below are members of the Rice community who were mentioned in the media 10 or more times during September and October.


Douglas Brinkley 1,701

David Leebron 1,454

Dan Wallach 1,035

Vivian Ho 970

Mark Jones 906

Michael Deem 575

Michael Maher 574

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen 214

Zahra Jamal 151

Quebec’s burqa ban, Morning Brief, Foreign Policy

Next week the Quebec legislature will debate a proposed ban on government employees wearing religious symbols, which would primarily affect Muslim women who wear the hijab. The bill follows several recent bans on hijabs and niqabs in Europe but it the fist in the Americas, Zahra Jamal writes for FP.

Rice’s Boniuk Institute welcomes State Department officials

Rice’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance hosted Shaun Casey, the U.S. special representative for religion and global affairs, and his chief of staff in the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs, Rice alumna Liora Danan ’03, April 27 to explore collaborative opportunities on religious literacy and tolerance in global contexts. Rice faculty and the institute’s civil society partners were also included in the discussion. Casey and Danan had accompanied Secretary of State John Kerry to his April 26 speech at Rice. Established by Kerry in 2013, the office highlights religious dimensions of foreign policy and focuses on sustainable development, pluralism and human rights, and security efforts among faith-based and civil-society actors abroad.

Big news for recent CMES PhDs, Harvard University

Zahra Jamal (PhD ’08) is a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), a DC-based think tank, where she conducts research and writes policy reports, briefs, and op-eds. She was recently hired as the assistant director of Center for the Study of American Muslims (CSAM), one of ISPU’s two research centers. In this capacity she conducts and oversees policy-relevant research on topics such as Islam in prisons, American Muslim political participation, the Sharia controversy, and American Muslim women leaders; supports outreach with universities, policy makers, and media outlets; raises money for research; and directs research priorities. Zahra is also a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago, and was recently called on to advise Special Representative Farah Pandith of the U.S. Department of State on opportunities for American Muslim engagement. Her publication on American Muslim charitable giving has been circulated at the White House at the urging of one of President Obama’s advisors, and she has been encouraged to offer Congressional testimony on the same.

Justice Department, FBI officials discuss hate crime with Indian-Americans in Houston, New India Times

At the forum, entitled, “Understanding Hate Crimes and Protection of Places of Worship” facilitated by the United States Department of Justice Community Relations Services (CRS), law enforcement officials recommended numerous steps to make places of worship safe, and how to respond, as well as the legal definition of hate crime and aspects of the issue the community should be aware of, according to a press release from HGH.

Representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, Harris County District Attorney’s office, FBI Houston Field Office, Department of Homeland Security and Harris County Sheriff’s Office spoke at the event.

Muslim Resources, Faith Formation

Covid-19 Changes Muslim Celebration of Ramadan – Dr. Zahra Jamal from the Boniuk Institute at Rice University delivers an approachable explanation of Ramadan amidst the pandemic.

Chautauqua Interfaith Lecture: Zahra Jamal details Muslim ethics at intersection of food and faith, Ismailimail

Zahra Jamal, associate director at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, discussed “Food for the Soul: A Muslim Perspective,” Wednesday as part of Week Nine’s Interfaith Lecture Series, “Food and Faith.”

Scholar Zahra Jamal returns to Chautauqua to highlight spirituality of Muslim food rituals

Zahra Jamal fell in love with Chautauqua as a girl over a lemon poppy seed muffin and the inspiring speakers in the Interfaith Lecture Series.

Wednesday, many years later, Jamal is returning to Chautauqua Institution to stand on the other side of the podium to talk about how Muslims value food. Jamal, associate director at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, will speak on “Food for the Soul: A Muslim Perspective” at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Hall of Philosophy.

“In Islam, food, like health, is a divine gift to be cared for, nurtured and shared for the betterment of society,” Jamal said.

Zahra Jamal details Muslim ethics at intersection of food and faith

Zahra Jamal is used to being in front of the Hall of Philosophy podium. On Wednesday, she experienced her first time behind it.

She began her inaugural lecture with a joke — on Judgment Day, a diverse group of people is standing at the big, pearly gates of heaven. The Lord first asks the group to divide themselves into two smaller groups: those who have fed the hungry and acknowledged the bounty of God at meal time, and those who have not.

Shortly after, he asks them to form two groups again, this time with different guidelines: those who wear the pants, and those who do not. The women congregate to the “pants” group and the men to the other, but one man stands out in the group of women. When God asks what he is doing there, the man answers, “My wife told me to stand here.” God immediately grants the man access to heaven.

ZJ speaks alongside Mayor Turner Dragon 76 and Street Art for Mankind at ZERO HUNGER mural unveiling

Houston’s largest mural, advocating for #ZeroHunger, was created by prominent and dedicated artist Dragon76 and facilitated by Street Art for Mankind, UN Environment Programme. Funded by Kelloggs, the artwork supports the UN World Food Programme and World Food Program USA which advocate for the 169 million people in the world who face food insecurity, including in the US. This mural is particularly meaningful in Houston, during the pandemic and in the aftermath of the recent winter storm.

The mural was inaugurated today with remarks from Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, NAACP President Bishop James Dixon, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Food Bank CEO Mr. Brian Greene, Rice University & Community of Conscience’s Dr. Zahra Jamal, and American Liberty Hospitality CEO Mr. Nick Massad II.

Religious hate crimes will increase, says Rice expert, Rice News

A first-of-its-kind virtual forum from the Department of Justice will discuss hate crimes committed against places of worship, hosted by the American Jewish Committee, the Community of Conscience, the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council and Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance.


“As of 2019, 80% of hate crimes in the U.S. are committed against racial and religious minorities, including their religious institutions. As houses of worship slowly re-open during COVID, hate crimes against various houses of worship are projected to increase, especially in an election year,” said Zahra Jamal, associate director of the Boniuk Institute.

Forum : Understanding Hate Crimes And Protecting Places Of Worship

On 6th April, Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) hosted a first-of-its-kind Forum on “Understanding Hate Crimes and Protection of Places of Worship” for faith based and community leaders to learn how to prevent and respond to hate crimes against places of worship. 

Facilitated by the United States Department of Justice Community Relations Services (CRS), it held presentations by representatives from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, Harris County District Attorney’s office, FBI Houston Field Office, Department of Homeland Security and Harris County Sheriff’s Office. 

About 40 faith based organizations attended the forum which was held at the Houston Durgabari Society. 

The event touched on four issues: Hate Crimes Prosecutions Overview, Hate Crimes Statistics and Symbols of Hate, Preventing and Responding to Active Shooter Situations and a Panel Discussion on Protecting Places of Worship by Interfaith leaders.

Indian Diaspora Council International condemns Atlanta murders, News India Times

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC), an organization formed in 1997 which says it has a presence in 21 countries, put out a statement March 18, joining with other organizations, agencies, groups, individuals and institutions locally and worldwide “in unequivocal condemnation of targeted racial attacks, including intimidation, brutality, violence and deaths, directed against Asian-Americans and persons of Asian origin in the USA.”

“IDC considers these despicable and reprehensible acts as unjustified criminal actions targeted against persons because of their race and ethnic origin,” the organization said in a press release.

Engaging and Building Partnerships with Muslim Americans and Engaging and Building Partnerships with Sikh Americans, The United States Department of Justice

Engaging and Building Partnerships with Muslim Americans and Engaging and Building Partnerships with Sikh Americans are three-hour, in-person trainings designed to increase community awareness and built relationships between law enforcement, government officials, and Muslim and Sikh American communities. The trainings also help participants create an action plan to strengthen engagement with their local Muslim and Sikh American communities.

In these trainings, participants learn about the beliefs, practices, customs, and cultural aspects of Muslim and Sikh Americans. The trainings define key terms, highlight hate crime trends and their impacts on the Muslim and Sikh American communities, recommend appropriate language and conduct when engaging with members of these communities, and provide best practices for engaging Muslim and Sikh communities and individuals.

3 Texas Educators On Ethical Leadership In This Moment, Interfaith Youth Core

Each of us makes numerous ethical decisions every day, but for educators preparing for fall 2020 amidst the persistence of Covid-19 in the US, those choices feel particularly consequential right now. We asked three seasoned educators from different colleges and universities in Texas to weigh in on how they approach ethical decision making at this moment.  

None of these questions is easy. Do we hold classes in person, virtually, or with a hybrid model? When do we change course, what evidence will that require and how will we communicate that shift? How do we foster physical health and safety alongside economic security and educational outcomes? Given our diverse community, how do we prioritize competing goods? Interfaith leadership is made for these moments, for the genuinely hard questions. We know that our students are learning a great deal in the midst of this pandemic – about adaptive leadership in an ever-changing landscape, ethical decision making in a diverse democracy, and what people and institutions truly value.

Ismaili, Ahmadi Muslims Push Voter Registration Efforts, Interfaith Youth Core

This year, the Muslim civic advocacy organization Emgage promised to turn out one million Muslim voters in the 2020 presidential elections.

To do that, its team has been feverishly building up a database of Muslim voters to target for phone banking and other get-out-the-vote initiatives. Much of that has been based on common Muslim last names: Ahmad, Bashir, Mohamed.

Their database saw a major jump over the summer when a group of young Ismaili activists handed them an additional 400 last names — including Bharwani, Mitha, Gohari — common among members of Shiite Islam’s second-largest branch.

Engaging Religious and Worldview Diversity: A Snapshot of Promising Practices at US Colleges and Universities, Interfaith Youth Core

The United States today is one of the most religiously diverse societies in modern history. This diversity is not good or bad in itself ― it is merely a fact. What ultimately matters is how we address it. We have the power to determine whether diversity strengthens the fabric of our society or divides us. Today, as we see daily in the news, the diversity that characterizes American life is accompanied by alarming levels of polarization and tension. Interfaith Youth Core is committed to changing this narrative and pursuing the “energetic engagement of diversity toward a positive end” of pluralism.1 We are committed to building an America where people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions can bridge differences and find common values to build a shared life together.

Rice’s Boniuk Institute is mentioned. These efforts were spearheaded by Dr. Zahra Jamal.

It’s Time to Make the Hajj Smaller,

The COVID-19 shutdown is an opportunity to reflect on what Islam’s holy pilgrimage has become—and what it should be…

“This is something infectious disease experts talk about pretty much every year,” says Zahra Jamal, associate director of Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance. She says that although the decision to severely limit the hajj this year over COVID-19 concerns is the correct one, gathering in the millions makes the spread of disease a major concern even in years without a pandemic: “Basically, you’re body to body, right? And not everybody has a great immune system for exposure to, for example, malaria.”

Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center hosts Fort Bend Interfaith Community's Youth Day of Service, Houston Chronicle

The Aga Khan Council for the Southwest United States hosted the Fort Bend Interfaith Community for its second annual Youth Day of Service Monday, Jan. 21, at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center in Sugar Land. Youth volunteers representing a variety of faiths including Christianity, Islamic and Jewish religious communities among others, gathered for community service activities. Following the service projects, youth volunteers participate in group interfaith discussions facilitated by Dr. Zahra Jamal from Boniuk Institute at Rice University. The event was well-attended and was a success, organizers said.

Empowering Women Through Education: Informed by the Women’s Leadership Series, The Celt Press

Cherie Blair, an outspoken supporter of women’s education in Asia, led the Asia Society’s Women’s Education and Empowerment panel Wednesday, March 29. The panel included Dr. Dina Alsowayel, Associate Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Houston, and Dr. Zahra Jamal, Associate Director at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, and was moderated by Andrea White, Houston Chronicle contributor and wife of former Houston Mayor, Bill White. Mrs. Blair began the talk with a short speech giving us the facts: there are 31 million girls not attending school, and of these 31 million, 17 million will probably never attend school in their lifetimes.

Changing the world ... One Muslim woman and one Jewish woman at a time, Jewish Herald Voice

The Sisterhood Salaam Shalom is not your typical sorority. Yes, its members are only women. Yes, it’s a national organization with chapters in multiple cities across North America. Yes, members can rise through the ranks and assume leadership positions. But, membership in the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom requires no financial commitment, and no rush parties or periods of pledging like you’d find on college campuses. 


It is open to women of all ages, and the mission of this sisterhood is simple: to change the world one Muslim woman and one Jewish women at a time through conversation and social and service projects.

Texas State Representative Dan Huberty’s Newsletter

Stars of Santa Fe is being made possible through a collaboration with Volunteer Houston, Gallery Furniture, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston and organizations who are part of Houston’s Coalition Against Hate including: Alliance for Compassion & Tolerance, Anti-Defamation League Southwest Region, Asia Society Texas Center, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Daya, eMgage, Empowering Communities Initiativ e-Houston, Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, My Brother’s Keeper Houston, The American Pakistan Foundation, The Hindu American Foundation, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and Zahra Jamal of The Boniuk Institute at Rice University

America has changed Islam’: A woman runs for the board of Houston’s largest Muslim organization, Houston Chronicle

In a front room of the Masjid at Taqwa, a Sugar Land mosque, Sarah Alikhan watched M.J. Khan film a Facebook video endorsing her. It was Khan who recruited Alikhan, who’s in her early 40s, to become the first woman ever to run for the shura, or governing board, of ISGH, one of the largest Mulsim organizations in the U.S.