The Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona (ISBA) is a non-profit, apolitical, educational organization founded in 1999. ISBA is an outreach institution that provides education about Islam and other faiths, builds cultural awareness and promotes interfaith dialogue and collaborations.
We aim to dispel harmful stereotypes and help build peaceful communities where people of diverse backgrounds and faiths come to know and respect each other
Using the tools of education, civic engagement, and constructive dialogue ISBA will foster communities of respect and mutual understanding. ISBA reinforces and promotes the American ideals of inclusion and religious freedom that are embodied in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution
- Education programs for K-16: ISBA offers presentations by trained volunteers and speakers to build context to understand Islam, to dispel misperceptions about Islam and Muslims and to equip students to participate in a peaceful, diverse and inclusive society.
- Cultural awareness and competency: ISBA conducts trainings for educators, law enforcement and health care providers on Islam and Muslims.
- Interfaith outreach and collaborations: ISBA builds relationships with and works with faith communities to build interfaith awareness, dispel misperceptions, and interfaith partnerships.
Upon request, ISBA is pleased to provide trained, local American Muslims to conduct presentations tailored for a variety of educational, religious and business settings. ISBA speakers are certified after a rigorous process of training, testing, and observation in a live setting by veteran trainers. ISBA speakers serve the entire state of Arizona and adhere to the guidelines provided by the First Amendment Center. Please see their publication A Teacher's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools for more information.
Azra trains speakers for the bureau, plans and facilitates educational and creative interfaith events for ISBA. As a speaker, she presents mainly on beliefs and practices, gender roles in Islam and conducts Cultural Sensitivity Training for police departments, hospital personnel, educators and corporations.
Azra has come up with many creative ways to bring people of different religions and cultures together to learn about each other from each other. ISBA signature programs like the Faith Tours, Movie & Discussion, Multifaith Food Drive and Springtime Tea Party are designed to bring people face to face in the same space to interact and get to know one another.
Azra currently serves on the Arizona Muslim Police Advisory Board, the Banner Health Professional Advisory Committee for Clinical Pastoral Education, and Professional Advisory Group for Templo Cristiano Central Clinical Pastoral Education. Azra is one of the founders and a past Board member of the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley. She has served on the Phoenix FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Board as Vice President and as a Citizen member on the Scottsdale Police Department Use of Force Review Board.
She has been recognized with the “Veora E. Johnson Spirit of Unity Award” from the East Valley Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and the “FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award” from the Phoenix division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of our 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Joseph Balian, Chairman of the Board
Joseph Balian, Chairman of Board - is an Executive News Producer, Multi - Emmy Award winning journalist and podcast producer. He’s also won an Edward R. Murrow Award and Associated Press Club Award for Outstanding Journalism. He’s been a broadcast journalist for the past 20 years.
Nidah Chatriwala has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Her job is in marketing and she enjoys public relations, volunteering and digital marketing.
Hana Kaakani has BS in Business Management. She worked as an Assistant Dean at a community college for one year and then managed a women’s boutique for two years in Lebanon. She has worked as a teller at Wells Fargo Bank for the past eleven years.
Dennis Ford, Board Member
Dennis Ford is the President and Founder of Quantum Leap Productions, and author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Monetize Your Culture-Create A Passionate, Committed Workforce That Actually Increases Your Bottom Line…and Costs You Nothing”. He has over 25 years of experience crafting unique corporate messages, creating entertaining and compelling videos, implementing sales and negotiating training, and producing myriad original Team Building experiences for over 500,000 corporate employees and Senior Management.
Michele Marion. Board Member
Michele Marion is a member of the Sociology Faculty and the college’s International Education Director at of Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. She served in the United States Air Force for six years, as a motion picture film editor. Her doctorate degree is in international education from Northcentral University. She received her BA in sociology and MA in education from Chapman University, and her second MA is in sociology from Vermont College. Michele is an Asian Studies Development Program alumnus of the Korean Institute (2000) and received a Rotary Club cultural exchange award to Russia’s Far East (Sakhalin island and Kamchatka peninsula—2004). She has also been awarded two Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Programs: Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore (2006) and Morocco (2008). Her publications include “Have You Eaten? Heterogeneity and Identity Through Food” (2007), “Culture, Context, and The Qur’an” (2010), Cultural Counterpoint: Dynamics of Asian Studies (2014), and Misconception (2017).
|Scott Olsen, Board Member
Sadaf Alam, Board Member
Sadaf Alam is the owner and artist at Scarlet Scroll Studio. She has pursued an interest in the arts from the Islamic world, with a further focus on Islamic geometric design and illumination. She has used her talents to teach many workshops and classes in the Scottsdale Mosque community, ISBA Distance Learning programs and at the Phoenix Art Museum. Her hope is to revive these traditional skills and promote and understanding of the unique Islamic cultures through art.
Ayla Linder, Board Member - Tucson
Ayla Linder, Board Member- is a combat veteran, who served in the Air Force for 7 years. She is currently Director of Marketing & Business Development at CountrySideNet, a full time student at GCU earning her MS in Leadership, and mother of a 6 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. She recently earned her BS in Entrepreneurial Studies at GCU. In her spare time, Ayla serves as a board member at Reach for the Stars Tucson, volunteers at her daughter's school and assists her husband in his carpentry business where she's needed. Ayla has been serving on the board since 2018.
|Dorothy Barth, Board Member - Tucson
|Iram Khan, Board Member
ISBA is an outreach institution that provides education about Islam and Muslims, builds cultural awareness and promotes interfaith dialogue and collaborations.