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meet the executive committee

True to a modern fairytale, Muslim Collective began online as a Facebook group. It brought together Muslims who were seeking critical engagement and open discussion on contemporary issues affecting their lives. In 2016, the Collective formalised as an incorporated association and started running social events and projects in Melbourne. Since then, dynamic collectives in Melbourne and Sydney have blossomed and flourished. Muslim Collective has a democratically elected national Executive Committee. You can meet our crew below.  

Sera Elmasri : President  Sera Elmasri was born in Brisbane, Australia and has lived most her life on the Eastern coast. In 1983 she moved to Saudi Arabia which at that time was the most culturally diverse country in the world. Her experience in the Middle East, though wonderful, had precipitated a ‘culture shock’ upon returning to Australia. She subsequently completed her studies at the University of Wollongong and has worked for twenty three years as a Psychologist, specialising in the treatment of trauma in refugees and asylum seekers. Sera recently completed the successful Spirituality and Mental Health series under Melbourne Muslim Collective. She currently works in several private practices across Melbourne with Muslim and non-Muslim members across the social spectrum, whilst studying her second Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. Her main area of interest is the role of spirituality and religion in the prevention and recovery from mental illness.

Sera Elmasri : President

Sera Elmasri was born in Brisbane, Australia and has lived most her life on the Eastern coast. In 1983 she moved to Saudi Arabia which at that time was the most culturally diverse country in the world. Her experience in the Middle East, though wonderful, had precipitated a ‘culture shock’ upon returning to Australia. She subsequently completed her studies at the University of Wollongong and has worked for twenty three years as a Psychologist, specialising in the treatment of trauma in refugees and asylum seekers. Sera recently completed the successful Spirituality and Mental Health series under Melbourne Muslim Collective. She currently works in several private practices across Melbourne with Muslim and non-Muslim members across the social spectrum, whilst studying her second Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. Her main area of interest is the role of spirituality and religion in the prevention and recovery from mental illness.


Mariam Tokhi: Vice President  My mum hails from Sri Lanka, Dad from Afghanistan, and I grew up in Melbourne. I've been parts of various communities throughout my childhood but home for me is wherever my loved ones are.  Despite feeling like a global citizen at times, I cherish the opportunities, amazing cultures, and freedoms that Australia offers. I love its sun burnt landscape, its cities and green spaces.  I'm a GP and global health researcher by day. I spend time looking after my patients, my friends and family. And they probably look after me too!  I'm inspired by the change-makers, the rebels, and the passionate, loving humans that I get to meet every day.  The things that make me happy are sunny days, delicious picnics, spending time with my baby, a good night's sleep, good conversation, an engrossing book... and despite what my lazy mind thinks, a bit of exercise.  The things that get me fired up are injustice and discrimination.   Muslim Collective is important to me because its the first Muslim organisation (that I've been part of) that allows women, rebels, questioners and dreamers to really be a part of the conversation. Not just to listen or participate passively, but to lead and to challenge, to converse, to pray and to work together for a more just world. It's creating an inclusive contemporary Australian Muslim landscape.

Mariam Tokhi: Vice President

My mum hails from Sri Lanka, Dad from Afghanistan, and I grew up in Melbourne. I've been parts of various communities throughout my childhood but home for me is wherever my loved ones are.

Despite feeling like a global citizen at times, I cherish the opportunities, amazing cultures, and freedoms that Australia offers. I love its sun burnt landscape, its cities and green spaces.

I'm a GP and global health researcher by day. I spend time looking after my patients, my friends and family. And they probably look after me too!

I'm inspired by the change-makers, the rebels, and the passionate, loving humans that I get to meet every day.
The things that make me happy are sunny days, delicious picnics, spending time with my baby, a good night's sleep, good conversation, an engrossing book... and despite what my lazy mind thinks, a bit of exercise.

The things that get me fired up are injustice and discrimination.

Muslim Collective is important to me because its the first Muslim organisation (that I've been part of) that allows women, rebels, questioners and dreamers to really be a part of the conversation. Not just to listen or participate passively, but to lead and to challenge, to converse, to pray and to work together for a more just world. It's creating an inclusive contemporary Australian Muslim landscape.

Zainab Farouk: Treasurer  I'm Zainab, I was born in Sri Lanka and moved to New Zealand when I was two years old. I now live in Australia and consider myself to have a mixture of all three cultures.  I'm a Management Consultant living in Canberra with my husband. I also teach RPM cycle classes. We love spending time in the mountain, I find them so magical and all my hobbies are based around them - hiking, skiing, trail running and mountain biking.  I am inspired and want to learn from genuine people who show kindness at any level and are willing to put in the hard work to make this world a better place. My biggest dislike is when people don't treat others with respect.  Muslim Collective is a space where I can be who I am, I don't feel like I am judged or need to change myself to be involved. It provides a space for me to meet similar like-minded Muslims, and also an avenue for me to combine my Islamic and cultural identities.

Zainab Farouk: Treasurer

I'm Zainab, I was born in Sri Lanka and moved to New Zealand when I was two years old. I now live in Australia and consider myself to have a mixture of all three cultures.

I'm a Management Consultant living in Canberra with my husband. I also teach RPM cycle classes. We love spending time in the mountain, I find them so magical and all my hobbies are based around them - hiking, skiing, trail running and mountain biking.

I am inspired and want to learn from genuine people who show kindness at any level and are willing to put in the hard work to make this world a better place. My biggest dislike is when people don't treat others with respect.

Muslim Collective is a space where I can be who I am, I don't feel like I am judged or need to change myself to be involved. It provides a space for me to meet similar like-minded Muslims, and also an avenue for me to combine my Islamic and cultural identities.

Irma Bilgrami: Secretary  "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” - Dr.Seuss  I grew up surrounded by the desert in middle east and the rain forest in south east Asia. I have also lived in India and New Zealand but now call Australia home.  My parents were my role models for the Islamic ideals of compassion, love and generosity and Alhamdolillah, they continue to inspire and encourage me.  I work as a doctor in Melbourne, and when I'm not working I surround myself with friends who also happen to be good cooks :)  The great outdoors make me happy as do the Muslim Collective peeps. Because when it comes to standing up against terrible things like bigotry, racism, inequality and dogma, they constantly remind me 'Today you are you. That is truer than true'.

Irma Bilgrami: Secretary

"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” - Dr.Seuss

I grew up surrounded by the desert in middle east and the rain forest in south east Asia. I have also lived in India and New Zealand but now call Australia home.

My parents were my role models for the Islamic ideals of compassion, love and generosity and Alhamdolillah, they continue to inspire and encourage me.

I work as a doctor in Melbourne, and when I'm not working I surround myself with friends who also happen to be good cooks :)

The great outdoors make me happy as do the Muslim Collective peeps. Because when it comes to standing up against terrible things like bigotry, racism, inequality and dogma, they constantly remind me 'Today you are you. That is truer than true'.

Reem Sweid: Founder & Grants Officer  I’m what people call a ‘third culture kid’. I’m originally Syrian but I was raised in Europe and the Middle East. I met my Australian husband while we were both studying in the UK. We have been in Melbourne for almost a decade now.  I’m doing my PhD at Deakin University, working as a researcher on projects around social policy and multiculturalism, and enjoying my role as Founder and Immediate Past President of Muslim Collective.  I feel so passionately about Islam, its values and role in shaping my ethics. Muslim Collective gives me a space to express that, and to share it with others who share similar values and beliefs.  I’m inspired by a belief that my privileges in life are also great responsibilities, things like living in a safe and free country, getting into a warm bed, having access to education and to intelligent people, so I want to give back as a way of showing my gratitude.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing my family! Close seconds are crossing things off lists and chocolate. Injustice and the feeling of helplessness are things that upset me.  I look after my husband, my cat Neko and all the Muslim Collective members that come looking for a community to fit into. In turn, they look after me! I also have incredible parents who have always had my back.

Reem Sweid: Founder & Grants Officer

I’m what people call a ‘third culture kid’. I’m originally Syrian but I was raised in Europe and the Middle East. I met my Australian husband while we were both studying in the UK. We have been in Melbourne for almost a decade now.

I’m doing my PhD at Deakin University, working as a researcher on projects around social policy and multiculturalism, and enjoying my role as Founder and Immediate Past President of Muslim Collective.

I feel so passionately about Islam, its values and role in shaping my ethics. Muslim Collective gives me a space to express that, and to share it with others who share similar values and beliefs.

I’m inspired by a belief that my privileges in life are also great responsibilities, things like living in a safe and free country, getting into a warm bed, having access to education and to intelligent people, so I want to give back as a way of showing my gratitude.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing my family! Close seconds are crossing things off lists and chocolate. Injustice and the feeling of helplessness are things that upset me.

I look after my husband, my cat Neko and all the Muslim Collective members that come looking for a community to fit into. In turn, they look after me! I also have incredible parents who have always had my back.

Omar Hashmi: Canberra Rep & Immediate Past President  Hi, I'm Omar, a sixth generation Australian with a colourful and mixed heritage. I was born Muslim, and raised in the Muslim community here in Canberra. I now live on a rural property outside of the city with my wife and daughter, two goats, two chooks, a lot of bees, a few thousand worms and a lot of bush.  I'm an engineer and more than anything else, it's learning and building things that makes me happy. Whether it be the history of philosophy, or a compost heap I love being able to connect the dots to make a better world. Even if that world is only slightly better by a few tastier vegetables.  The things I dislike include inaction, poorly thought out or incorrect information. Poor quality material, and most of all, injustice caused by the above.  Muslim Collective is the first religious community that I've been a part of that encourages me to learn and engage with my religion. It provides a space and opportunity to ask, question, learn and debate with other Muslims, and be the person I am without having to pretend to conform to some other ideal.

Omar Hashmi: Canberra Rep & Immediate Past President

Hi, I'm Omar, a sixth generation Australian with a colourful and mixed heritage. I was born Muslim, and raised in the Muslim community here in Canberra. I now live on a rural property outside of the city with my wife and daughter, two goats, two chooks, a lot of bees, a few thousand worms and a lot of bush.

I'm an engineer and more than anything else, it's learning and building things that makes me happy. Whether it be the history of philosophy, or a compost heap I love being able to connect the dots to make a better world. Even if that world is only slightly better by a few tastier vegetables.

The things I dislike include inaction, poorly thought out or incorrect information. Poor quality material, and most of all, injustice caused by the above.

Muslim Collective is the first religious community that I've been a part of that encourages me to learn and engage with my religion. It provides a space and opportunity to ask, question, learn and debate with other Muslims, and be the person I am without having to pretend to conform to some other ideal.


meet the advisory board

Muslim Collective is honoured to have an esteemed advisory board that helps to provide sound direction and strategic advice for our growing community. 

 

our values

What we do

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