About Us

In 2007, a small group of Muslims hosted a zero-trash potluck iftar during the month of Ramadan. These individuals intended to raise awareness of global environmental issues within a Muslim community while hoping to create a language of Muslim-based environmentalism that would precipitate across communities. This group began a discussion of what unique actions Muslims could take to address environmental challenges at a local and spiritual level. Within a few months, the group held two more green iftars, reaching attendance five times greater than the initial one. It seemed Muslims in the Washington, DC area were thirsty for this kind of thinking and this group was filling a void.

Since then, Green Muslims has continued to organize events to raise environmental awareness and encourage activism. It holds Our Deen is Green! educational programming for local youth, hosts community hikes and cleanups, and provides speakers and educational material for local Islamic centers and youth groups.

Our Mission

To serve as a source in the Muslim community for spiritually-inspired environmental education, action, and reflection. We engage locally while serving as a national resource.

Our Vision 

Muslims living in the environmental spirit of Islam, striving towards connection with nature and environmental stewardship. 


Our Team

 

Staff

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Sevim Kalyoncu, Executive Director 

sevim@greenmuslims.org

Growing up in Alabama surrounded by woods and creeks, Sevim discovered at an early age that her most direct connection with God came through nature. To this day, she still finds peace in natural surroundings and holds a deep concern regarding humankind’s responsibility as vicegerent of the earth. She is involved with multiple local climate action groups and dedicated to helping educate youth about the importance of environmental awareness for spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. She holds a B.S. from Georgetown and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and has many years of nonprofit experience in Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a professional writer/editor and yoga instructor and is currently training to be a master naturalist.

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Hala Barmil, Director of Communication

hala@greenmuslims.org

When not working as a staff volunteer for Green Muslims, Hala is the Marking and Outreach Coordinator for the Fairfax County Farmers Markets, under the umbrella of the Fairfax County Park Authority. She is also a Substitute Teacher at the Fairfax County Public Schools and volunteers on greening school courtyards and implementing permaculture designs at West Potomac High School, Pulley Career Center, and Quander Road School. Hala is a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Certified EcoLeader; the project for which she received certification focused on promoting bicycle transportation at George Mason University. During her spare time, Hala enjoys raising chickens and sheep, gardening, hiking, biking, and practicing parkour. 

Board of Directors

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Ann Birkelbach

Ann is currently Assistant Director at the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Birkelbach holds a dual master’s degree in Near Eastern Language and Cultures and Art History from Indiana University at Bloomington and a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. She also pursued post-graduate studies in nonprofit management and fundraising.

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Abu Ryan Dardir

Abut Ryan Dardir has completed two masters in education. He is currently enrolled as a student in Mishkah pursuing a bachelors in Islamic Studies. He is working at the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) as an educational advisor. He is the founder and Chief Coordinator of the non-profit organization The Building Blocks of New Jersey whose mission is: “To aid self development, promote activism, and bolster community building”. He also consults and is a trustee at “Outreach on the Barrio” based in Houston and a writer at MuslimMatters.

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Sanaa Unus

Sanaa has over a decade of nonprofit legal, business and governance operations experience at the National Wildlife Federation - the United States’ largest private, nonprofit conservation education and advocacy organization, serving over six million members and supporters, and 51 state and territorial affiliated organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and also serves on the board of a private foundation providing educational grants and services to students in need and those pursuing careers in community and public service.

Advisory Council

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Muna Rehman

Muna is an international development professional. In her position, she manages programs that focus on sustainable community-led development in Asia. She served as Green Muslims' Director of Outreach from 2016-2018. She has a B.A. in Arabic Language and Political Science, M.A. in Middle Eastern Language and Culture, University of Texas at Austin.

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Rumin Sarwar

Rumin grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where she learned to concentrate on the small actions she can do to make the world a healthier, safer, and more love-filled place. She joined Green Muslims to inspire others to be better stewards of the planet and be inspired to do the same. Rumin received a Master of Science in Public Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at University of North Carolina and currently works in public health policy research in Washington, DC.

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Ryan Strom

A native of Michigan and long time resident of the District, Ryan is an avid champion for all things outdoors. He has worked at various federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior as well as working with DC youth for many years teaching all aspects of environmental protection and awareness. You can often find him hiking mountains or riding his bike in the city and beyond.