Selah CAIR
Executive Director

Selaedin Maksut

Selaedin Maksut is a recognized civil rights leader who has dedicated his career to advancing Muslims’ civil rights in New Jersey.

As Executive Director, Maksut leads a team of dedicated professionals and guides CAIR-NJ as it seeks to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Maksut received his Master’s degree in Islamic Studies with a specialization in in the pre-modern convergence of Sufism and Islamic political theory from Columbia University and his Bachelor’s degree in religious studies from New York University. Maksut traveled to Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and throughout the Balkans in pursuit of traditional studies of Islam and Muslim societies.

Dyaa CAIR
Operations Manager

Dyaa terpstra, MpA

Dyaa Terpstra, MPA is an alum of the Rutgers Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration; he earned an MPA with a concentration in Public Budgeting and Finance. During his undergraduate years, he was an accelerated MPA student and studied Public and Nonprofit Administration, and Political Science. Dyaa served as the Vice President of the Students for Justice in Palestine Chapter and in numerous other campus leadership roles, ultimately undergraduate student body President. He focused on tangible impacts for the student community and was the 2021 recipient of the Paul Robeson Award — the highest honor a student leader can receive. He was appointed to the Jefferson Township Board of Education in 2021 and won reelection for a 3-year term in November, 2021. Dyaa previously interned with the district office of Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., worked on the 2020 Census in two roles, and worked on political campaigns where he was most recently campaign manager for State Assembly candidates. In his role at CAIR-NJ, Dyaa focuses on the operational, financial, and administrative functions of the organization. 

Lamia CAIR
Programs manager

LAMIA RASHID

Lamia Rashid is currently a master’s student in the Rutgers School of Public Health; She is pursuing her MPH with a concentration in Health Systems and Health Policies. Lamia has spent the majority of her time in undergraduate at Rutgers working with and empowering the ummah both on and off campus. Whether it was serving over 500 Muslim youth as MIST’s logistic chair, serving hundreds of Muslim college students as RU-MSA’s event coordinator, or serving her masjid’s growing community as an Al-Falah board member she has been able to connect with and develop programming for all different ages and interests. In her role at CAIR-NJ, she focuses on developing programming relating to advocacy, organizing, communications, and outreach for New Jersey’s Muslim community. Lamia is excited to serve in her role as Programs Manager for the vibrant NJ Muslim community, and all New Jerseyans of all backgrounds—defending, educating, and empowering everyone!
Fernando-Square
Development Associate

Fernando ayerdi

Fernando Ayerdi is a Guatemalan native. He studied International Relations and comes with nearly ten years of experience. As the Development Associate at CAIR-NJ, he is committed to establishing and executing impactful outreach for fundraising initiatives that highlight the organization’s work across the legal, news and media platforms, community programming, and more. Fernando is eager to contribute to and uplift CAIR-NJ’s mission of civil rights advocacy. 

MousaNaji
Advocacy and Community Relations Coordinator

Mousa Naji

Mousa Naji is a seasoned community advocate with a proven track record of grassroots organizing and community commitment.

At CAIR-NJ, Naji advocates for the rights of the Muslim community across New Jersey and engages different pockets of the community to strengthen reciprocal trust.

Naji holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Relations from Manhattan College. Prior to joining CAIR-NJ, Naji worked at Sesame Workshop’s Ahlan Simsim project, where he helped provide early childhood education tools to children experiencing occupation and/or war across the Middle East and North Africa region. He also worked at the New York State Assembly, where he helped bridge the gaping holes in the state’s service and commitment to the growing Muslim population in the Bronx’s Little Yemen district. At Manhattan College, Naji worked with students across campus to amplify the Muslim voice and promote inclusivity.

Najdah Abdul-haqq (2)
Paralegal

Najdah Abdul-Haqq

Najdah Abdul-Haqq is an experienced paralegal and community advocate dedicated to social justice and public service.
 
As a paralegal at CAIR-NJ, Najdah assists Ayah Zaki, Esq. in protecting and advancing American Muslims’ civil rights and liberties in New Jersey. Through legal expertise and community engagement, she works to promote diverse Muslim voices, foster understanding of American Muslims, and address deep seated issues of discrimination.
 
Najdah’s journey into public service began at Essex County Commissioner Leonard Luciano’s office, where she gained valuable insights on the intersection of law, policy, and governance. She has amassed a wealth of interdisciplinary knowledge to help tackle complex societal issues and contribute meaningfully to the legal advocacy for the New Jersey Muslim community. Najdah holds a Paralegal Studies degree with honors distinction. She is currently pursuing an accelerated MA/BA in Criminal Justice at Rutgers University.