Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

Nahela Morales

Nahela Morales is a convert, immigrant, Mexican-American, da’iya, Humanitarian, award winning activist, international public speaker, and a single mother of one. As a public speaker she has had the opportunity to speak in countries like Sweden, Columbia, Brazil, and especially her native Mexico. She has represented a variety of oppressed demographics through her years as an activist and humanitarian. She is also a co-founder of Embrace and currently serves as their Marketing Director.

Gyasi McKinzie

A co-founder of Embrace, Shaykh Gyasi (Ja-see) Mckinzie was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Memphis, TN. He accepted Islam in 1991 while he was still in high school. He is a graduate from the Islamic University of Madinah and also holds a Masters degree from Vanderbilt University in Theological Studies. He has over 20 years of experience providing Islamic leadership to schools and organizations. Besides having served as Imam of the Muslim Society of Memphis and as chaplain at two federal prisons, he has been the Youth Director of the Youth and Dawah Center in Memphis, TN. He has also served as an Islamic Studies teacher and school counselor at Pleasant View School and the Islamic school of Irving respectively. He currently serves as the Director of Education for Embrace.

Kenneth Misurella

Kenneth Misurella was born in Lakewood, NJ and currently resides in Bedford, TX. Kenneth learned about Islam during his college years and accepted Islam in 2012. Since then, he has been involved in a variety of causes such as Da’wah, mentoring new muslims, advocacy, and humanitarian aid. During his time as a humanitarian, he visited a number of neglected communities both local and international to provide aid. He is a co-founder of Embrace and currently serves as their National Secretary.

Haseeb Abdali

Haseeb Abdali has been an Islamic worker since his early adulthood. Born into a Muslim family in the Muslim majority country of Pakistan and living in the U.S. for over 20 years, Haseeb has utilized his cultural competency and passion for Islamic outreach to conceptualize Embrace and help lead it to fruition. He is a catalyst, without being overbearing or condescending, for the organization’s emphasis on inclusion and retention of men and women who have converted to the Islamic faith. Haseeb is a member of the Central Shura of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamically-educated, movement trained leader, and career IT professional. He currently serves as Embrace’s National Coordinator.

Philadelphia, PA

Jacquelyn Crutchley

Jacquelyn was born in New Jersey but currently resides in Philadelphia, PA. Accepting Islam in 2016, Jaquelyn is a Senior Program Coordinator at the American Association for Cancer Research. She also served on the board and as the Program Chair for Women International Leaders of Philadelphia. She has worked as an Account Analyst, Consultant for Business Development, and Event Planner. She advocates for human/women’s rights and is an active community builder. She is also a lover of service, nature, traveling, and learning. Jacquelyn currently serves as the core lead for the Embrace Philadelphia chapter.

Daniel Rebholz

Daniel was born and raised in Reading, PA and converted to Islam in February of 2017. Since then, Daniel enjoys teaching Sunday School at his local mosque and being involved with several islamic organizations: including ICNA, WhyIslam, MuslimServe, and Embrace. Daniel serves as the assistant lead for the Embrace Philadelphia chapter. He hopes his efforts in the Embrace Project will help find the support, care, and love that is needed for converts to further appreciate their Islam and integrate them into their respective communities.


Vina McDermott

Vina was born and raised in Connecticut and converted to Islam in 2007. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and works with children on the autism spectrum and children with other developmental disabilities as well as children who need behavioral support due to social and emotional needs. Vina also coaches families of children with behavioral challenges so that the family gains a toolbox of behavioral strategies to use to help their child succeed. Recently, Vina became certified as a Hijama Therapist and offers this service as well as other cupping therapy to Muslim sisters and women in Connecticut. Vina finds her connection to Islam through nature and is often out camping, hiking, kayaking or exploring the beauty within God’s creations. Vina serves as the Core Lead for the Connecticut Chapter of Embrace and hopes to grow the chapter and support converts as they continue their journeys in Islam.

Sacramento, CA

Aimee Sanatkar

Aimee Sanatkar was born in Mississippi, raised in Alabama and has lived in California for the last 35 years. She converted to Islam 45 years ago. Aimee has studied Sunni, Shia and Sufi Islamic disciplines, and has been active in many nonprofit activities. Her education is in accounting and management, and she enjoys assisting nonprofits in organization and management structure. Aimee currently serves as the core lead for the Embrace Sacramento chapter.


Shannen Espelien

Shannen is a homeschooling mother of four, wife, student, public speaker, and active volunteer in her local community. She is a life-long learner, currently studying Islamic Sciences in the degree program at Mishkah University. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. Since Shannen embraced Islam in 2007, she has engaged with her local community in a variety of ways; like giving dawah at prison, local churches, schools, and community education programs. She has a gift for finding commonality and diffusing high-conflict situations, always working to build conversation and education from a shared connection.

In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, knitting, and generally avoiding housework. She currently serves as the core lead for the Embrace Minnesota chapter.

Nabeela M Zubair

One of the key founding members of the Minnesota chapter, Nabeela is a Pakistani-born American citizen who studied in Saudi Arabia and earned a BA in Arabic literature. She is fluent in three languages and is currently pursuing a higher degree in Islamic studies. Nabeela has a passion for serving the Muslim community, especially those who embrace Islam. She is a board member of ICNA Relief and a representative of the ICNA Sisters Minnesota Chapter.

Mujahid Shahjehan

Mujahid was raised in Minneapolis, MN. Accepting Islam at the age of 23, he taught general Islamic Studies at Masjid Ikhlaas and Urdu at The North West Islamic Community Center in Minnesota. Shortly after becoming Muslim, Mujahid began giving da’wah to his brothers, three of which accepted Islam. He holds several college-level degrees including Sociology, Computer Science, and Management Information Systems. Currently Br. Mujahid is teaching Islamic Studies for a local Muslim Children of North America (MCNA) chapter and is also working as a business analyst while seeking a degree in data science.

Bethany Waldron

Bethany is Minnesotan born and raised, with lineage originating in Norway, Amsterdam, England, and Germany to name a few. Bethany embraced Islam in 1991and has three sons: ages 21, 19 & 10. She is on the board of SNAP (Sisters Need a Place) and is on the Outreach Cadre with Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (TC IWOC), where she advocates for incarcerated people and their loved ones. Bethany graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2014 and is currently wrapping up her Master’s in Multicultural College Teaching and Learning at the U of MN. She has also volunteered teaching English to adult immigrants of seven years. Her passion is social and racial justice. Bethany is excited to be part of Embrace to help converts have a sense of belonging. Allah, family, and friends are her priority. Bethany’s idea of an ideal day is spending the day in worship, laughter and activism.

New York

Samantha Budd

Samantha was born at Fort Hood, Texas. She was raised in Colorado and the Appalachian Basin region of Kentucky and now resides in Ithaca, New York. She was raised a Southern Baptist accepting Islam in August of 2015 at Masjid Bilal in Lexington, Kentucky. Samantha has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado and is a Grant Coordinator with the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware. She lives with her husband and their three cats Persephone, Saroo, and Sora, making Instagram reels of the three cats Meowstafa. Samantha is altruistic activist who wants to devote her life to social justice, public service, and community building. She is currently obsessed with crocheting and self-sustainability. Samantha currently serves as the one of the founders and the Core Lead for the New York Embrace chapter.

Alishba Iftikhar

A born and raised New Yorker, Alishba comes from a Muslim background and underwent many hardships as an American youth. By the mercy of Allah she was able to find peace and solace in Islam when she was at her lowest point. Through her journey of healing and self-discovery, she found a deep sense of purpose and drive to make a positive impact in the lives of young Muslims in her community. Her experiences taught her the importance of faith, resilience, empathy, and the power of human connection. She chose to channel her own pain into her passion and focus on creating safe spaces for other Muslimahs to find community, compassion, friendship, and sisterhood. Alishba currently serves as the Hospitality and Social Activities Lead for the Embrace New York Chapter. She hopes to offer the support and care for new Muslims to establish a stronger connection with their faith.

Sarah Horton

Sarah was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, and accepted Islam in the fall of 2018. She has a broad skill set, managing the Embrace website, and is the marketing lead for the New York chapter. She hopes to use her unique experiences to help other young women gain foundational Islamic knowledge and find their place within the community. When Sarah isn’t working with Embrace, she is either working on an embroidery project, reading, or out searching for retro video game consoles.

Janah Trueblood

As salaamu alaikum! Sister Janah Trueblood joins the New York chapter of Embrace as the Events Coordinator. When she’s not supporting fellow reverts in her spare time, Sister Janah enjoys inspiring her students and colleagues, connecting with family and friends, and spending time in nature and near water acknowledging the wondrous creations of our Creator. Sister Janah’s educational background in Broadcast Journalism, Education and Social Justice, equip her with the skills necessary to successfully connect and encourage fellow Brothers and Sisters to step beyond their comfort zone and explore new information, and dimensions of themselves as individual believers. An original quote, Sister Janah strives to live by and seeks to share with others as often as possible states, “If a person is patient, persistent, and passionate enough, anything is possible.”

Let’s make meaningful change in the lives of Muslim converts