Executive Leadership

Meet the HalalFest Team

Abbas Mohamed

Creative Director

A social entrepreneur, biotech professional, and SERIOUS foodie. He coordinates the entertainment, cooking demos, and eating competitions at Halalfest, so be sure to swing by the stage and say hello! He is also the director of GAMA, a non-profit dedicated to supporting and empowering artists in the Muslim community. Abbas co-hosts The Artistic Foodies Podcast with Irfan Rydhan. Follow their podcast on Instagram @theartisticfoodies

Aziz Poonawala

Regional Coordinator

Aziz Poonawalla has 15+ years of experience in writing, doing research, and data analysis. He has a PhD in Medical Physics and is registered as a Patent Agent before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Aziz also wrote about Islam and culture st the City of Brass blog, first at Beliefnet.com and later at Patheos.com. He currently tweets as azizhp and blogs about sci-fi and other geeky stuff at haibane.info.

Javaid Alam

Multi-Media Director

Javaid has over 27 years of experience in video production, live broadcasts, producing, directing, audio and video editing on various media projects across the globe.  Javaid was on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmy Awards) for 4 years, worked at ABC News in San Francisco,  California Music Awards and founded IslamicFilms.com in 2003. 

Bhumika Jackson

Event Logistics Team

Bhumika has lived in the Bay Area for nearly 20 years and has been a part of the HalalFest team since 2016. Being of Indian background, her favorite food is Hyderbadi Chicken Dum Biriyani paired with a piping hot cup of Chai! 

David Fairweather

Event Logistics Team

Originally from Canada, David has lived in the Bay Area for most of his life. He has been a part of the HalalFest team since 2015. A contractor by trade, David is our "Jack of all trades" or should we say "David of all trades" since he can fix almost anything and always get's the job done!

Sumiya Khan

Event Logistics Team

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sumiya loves creating connections through food and creative culinary experiences. She is a Registered Dietitian who has worked in various settings, from public health organizations to wellness and culinary programs, and serves as a consultant, author and presenter on nutrition, food justice, sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and religious and multicultural competency in health and culinary settings. Sumiya founded the Sanctuary Kitchen, a program in New Haven, CT that partners with refugee and immigrant chefs to build economic opportunity and authentic connections through food. Sanctuary Kitchen is the synthesis of her upbrining in the diverse Bay Area, work is social justic and passion for food and nutrition. 

Nizar Ahmed

A native to the San Francisco Bay Area and has volunteered with many non-profits such as Medina Education Center, Rahima Foundation and the North American Islamic Shelter for the Abused (NISA). From calamari to cocoa Nizar is always up to taste where the next hot spot would be to recommend to all with the affinity for delicious food

Azfar Khan 

Content & Brand Lead

Azfar Khan is a 19 year-old first generation Pakistani-American. Azfar is  based out of the Bay Area and enjoys creating content pertaining to the Islamic faith, and now specializes in merging Halal Food awareness & @HalalFest with his content. Azfar would like to inspire a broad audience with his platform and show them that we all start somewhere, but our journey and trajectory lands us too being the greatest version of our future self!

Atif Qureshi

Long time American Muslim Community Activist. He was one of the Past Directors of Bay Area based AMILA.org (American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism), as well as zabihah.com – the World’s largest database of Halal Restaurants and Businesses and also The ICCF (Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno). His quest for finding the best gyros has taken him to locales all over the country

Meriam Salem

Videographer & Digital Media