ISNA Appoints Two New Members to Executive Committee

ISNA has appointed two new members – Dr. Julie Belz and Dr. Asra Ali – to its 5 member Executive Committee. The other members are ISNA President Azhar Azeez, ISNA Vice President – USA Dr. Altaf Husain, and ISNA Vice President – Canada Br. Pervez Nasim. In a statement, ISNA President Azhar Azeez said: “I am very pleased to welcome two very talented and highly accomplished sisters to our new executive committee. ISNA will tremendously benefit from their knowledge, wisdom, and experience.”

Dr. Julie Belz currently teaches graduate courses at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis. She has served as tenured professor at 5 Tier-1 schools. Dr. Belz is an internationally published scholar on Applied Linguistics and has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in books and journals. She received her PhD and Master’s from University of California – Berkeley. She spent her sabbatical leave as a Visiting Researcher in the Department of German at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. In addition to her academic career, Dr. Belz is active in a number of non-profit organizations. She was the founder and director of the Indianapolis Muslim Community Association Food Pantry from 2011 – 2014. She has been elected to two terms on the board of directors of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA): Community Representative (2013-15) and Member-at-Large (2016-2020). In a statement, Dr. Belz said: “I am humbled by the opportunity to serve on ISNA’s Executive Committee. My main focus is collaborating with my board colleagues to improve the quality and reach of ISNA’s community programming, especially in the areas of poverty relief, youth development, Islamic chaplaincy, and interfaith relations.”

Dr. Asra Ali is a newly elected executive committee board member.  She lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she is a practicing dentist and a clinical faculty member/associate professor at Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine.  She is a graduate of Northwestern University where she received her undergraduate degree, Purdue University for her master’s degree, and Indiana University School of Dentistry for her graduate degree.  Dr. Ali is an active member of her community, serving in many leadership roles — she is a board member at the MECCA center in Burr Ridge, IL, and is involved with many other service, civic, and philanthropic organizations in the Chicago area.  On a national level, she is chair of the MSA scholarship review committee, has served as the co-chair of the ISNA national convention steering committee over the last three years, is a member of the ISNA mosque development initiative, and has served on the narrative committee and sustainer’s circle.  She is a 2017 cohort of the El Hibri Foundation’s Harvard Kennedy School community organizing/ leadership training program.  In 2016 the Muslim Women’s Alliance recognized Dr. Ali with the Inspiring Women Award for her passion for excellence in all she does and her services to the community. In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, decorating, running, and following Chicago sports.  In a statement, Dr. Ali said: “I’d first like to commend ISNA’s leadership and members on the adoption of the new bylaws. This is a momentous step forward in the history of the organization. I’m honored to serve as a member of the inaugural Executive Committee, and I’m eager to work towards helping make ISNA a stronger organization with greater services and a greater voice for the community.”