Staff

Rita Sutton, Administrative Director

Rita Sutton was born and raised in Chicago and attended Kennedy-King and Truman City Colleges. She comes to the Council with over ten years of bookkeeping and accounting experience, six of which were spent at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare where she was lead in cash services. Rita also works with the Southside Eid Committee. Rita can be reached at rita@ciogc.org.  

Aymen Abdel Halim, Communications Director

Aymen has served in communications leadership roles for over 15 years. He holds both BA and MA degrees in Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts from San Francisco State University where he studied media research, theory, and production. He is the author of many articles and studies on the topic of media portrayals of Islam and Muslims and co-authored a textbook chapter in Pearson's Race/Gender/Class/Media (Third Edition) with Dr. Dina Ibrahim titled “How TV Makes Arabs and Muslims Feel About Themselves” based on their 2010-2011 study. Aymen has led and contributed to numerous Muslim community media, public relations, and marketing campaigns that have been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Al Jazeera, NPR, CNN, Huffington Post, and more. As an educator, Aymen has taught media courses at San Francisco State University and DePaul University and has presented lectures and workshops nationwide on numerous topics related to media and society. Aymen is passionate about media literacy and communications and has trained dozens of Chicago Muslim community leaders and professionals in developing communications capacity and infrastructure for their organizations. He has also served as a multi-subject learning consultant and tutor to help people overcome learning challenges and hone their own unique learning styles to advance their education. He be reached at aymen@ciogc.org.

Jameel Karim, Youth Coordinator

Jameel Karim has over ten years of experience working with youth of various communities. He has served as a youth worker and supervisor for the Bridgeview Muslim community and the Mosque Foundation since 2007 and has been active in volunteer work with numerous Chicago-based organizations since the early 2000s. Jameel can be reached at jameel@ciogc.org.

Walid Sankari, Programs Coordinator

Walid Sankari began at CIOGC as Program Coordinator in July 2016. As Chicago native of Syrian heritage, Walid has been working through various Muslim social institutions throughout the Chicagoland area since he helped co-found his high school MSA. Since that time, he has collaborated with people of dozens of national backgrounds in many of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods on various social projects aimed at strengthening Chicago communities. Walid studied philosophy of religion at Loyola University – with particular focus on the ideas of Immanuel Kant and Imam al-Ghazali – before continuing his studies in international business at DePaul University, with a specific focus on contemporary marketing strategy. He has used this unusual combination of theoretical knowledge and administrative skill towards advancing the causes of non-profit organizations. Walid is passionate about youth development because believes that talents of the youth are the Muslim community’s greatest asset. He hopes that his generation can move toward a world without borders on maps or in people’s hearts. In his spare time he volunteers with Chicago Youth in Motion, a non-profit organization aimed at mobilizing Chicago youth towards providing social services and developing aid projects for their communities, and teaches Arabic at a local Sunday school. He has worked on international humanitarian and educational projects in multiple countries and wishes to continue cultivating the Islamic spirit of social service in Chicago. Walid is an avid film aficionado and a die-hard Bulls fan whose dream is to open his own movie theater in Aleppo once the war in Syria is over. Walid can be reached at walid@ciogc.org

Husnaa Vhora, Civic Engagement Coordinator

Husnaa graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. Husnaa has been a passionate performer since her high school years where she participated in competitive radio and public speaking. She then went on to become a reporter and broadcaster in college. Husnaa joined the CIOGC team in late 2016 to fulfill her dream of getting involved in social justice and giving back to the larger Muslim community. She aims to use her communication skills to become a voice for not only the broader Muslim community, but for Muslim women, especially those in the Indian community. She has volunteered for Muslim non-profit organizations such as Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and the Center for Islamic Teachings and Community Development (CITCD). Aside from her passion for Muslim community organizing, she is a die-hard Cubs fan and blogs about the team during the baseball season. In the future, she hopes to put Muslim women on the map even more by becoming the first hijabi broadcaster with a major news outlet in the U.S. Husnaa can be reached at husnaa@ciogc.org

Sana Ihmoud, Communications Associate

Sana holds a degree in Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology and has worked in the architecture and design field since 2009. She was involved with CIOGC for 3 years with the design and layout of the monthly publication, The Chicago Crescent. In the past she has also contributed to the organization’s events as a volunteer. She hopes to continue to connect with the Muslim community and to contribute to the mission of CIOGC. Sana can be reached at sana@ciogc.org.

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