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.
Nina Rossi, ESQ.
Nina brings a wealth of employment discrimination legal experience to her position as a civil rights attorney for CAIR New Jersey.
AYAH ZAKI, ESQ.
Ayah is part of the growing legal team at CAIR-NJ, where she focuses on civil rights casework and legal initiatives, including representing clients and affected communities in advocacy and litigation. She also engages elected officials and other key stakeholders to advance the organization’s overall mission and address the concerns of clients and the New Jersey Muslim community at large.
Prior to joining CAIR-NJ, Ayah served on the Deportation Defense Initiative Team at the American Friends and Service Committee. She represented clients in removal proceedings, most of whom were held in immigration detention facilities. She also represented non citizens in removal proceedings and clients detained in Guantanamo Bay at the City University of New York Law Clinic. Ayah obtained her Juris Doctor Degree from CUNY Law and her Bachelor’s of Arts from Columbia University.
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, 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.
Dina Sayedahmed comes from a wealth of experiences having worked at CBS News, Al Jazeera English, and The Intercept, where she produced news analysis videos presented by Marc Lamont Hill and Mehdi Hasan, respectively. Her work largely covers the Middle East and North Africa, state surveillance, and the various forms of American and European imperialism. The object of Dina’s work has always been to hold the powerful to account, and through her role as Communications Manager at CAIR-NJ, she hopes to work toward tangible improvements in the lives of American Muslims and minority groups. Dina graduated from Rutgers University – Newark with a degree in Political Science and Journalism.
During her free time, Dina enjoys gardening and practicing Arabic calligraphy.
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.