Meet the Faces Behind Masjid al-Rabia


Board of Directors:

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Cruz June Rodriquez
Director of Development

Cruz June Rodriguez is a Latino Queer Muslim living in Chicago, IL. Cruz has dedicated his religious life to building accessible spaces where no one is turned away from Allah and Islam, no matter who they are.He recognizes his efforts as part of a movement calling for an inclusive community that moves forward together, for all Muslims. 


Mahdia Lynn
Executive Director

Mahdia is an educator and community organizer centering transgender liberation, disability power, prison abolition, and youth suicide prevention. She lives in Chicago where she is a senior caregiver and works as a freelance writer and private chef/cooking instructor. You can learn more about Mahdia and her work at or on Twitter @MahdiaLynn

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Zaynab Shahar
Director of Spiritual Education

Zaynab is currently pursuing her doctorate in religion at Chicago Theological Seminary. She holds an M.A in Religious Studies and a B.A in Jewish Studies. Her specializations include the intersections of gender/sexuality & religious law within Judaism and Islam, historical anti-semitism, and talmud/rabbinics. 

Ashley A
Director of Communications

Ashley's bio is incoming! Trust us: she's great.


Cherese Reemaul
Coordinator, Transgender Muslim Support Network

Cherese was born into a Muslim family in the Caribbean and is a recent immigrant to Canada. She is an active member of the El-Tawhid Unity Circle in Vancouver, BC, Noor of Seattle, Co-chair of the annual international LGBTQ Muslim Retreat. In her professional life she works with mental health, addiction and homeless folks. In her personal life she is a road trip queen and cat mommy.



Interns, Volunteers and Coordinators:

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Reed Fowler
Administrative Intern

Reed is a first-year seminarian at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. They spent undergrad studying theater in Abu Dhabi, and the past few years freelancing in Chicago. It wouldn’t surprise their younger self that they are studying theology, and thriving as a trans and mentally ill human, but becoming a cat person would! Reed has a wonderful day job as a dog and cat groomer, and continues to design and devise art. They are invested in interfaith collaboration, holding space for witness and tenderness, and centering alternate and artistic expressions of faith. They spend downtime knitting, queering faith + domesticity, gardening, and snuggling with their ever-increasing menagerie. Reed is (joyfully) interning at Masjid al-Rabia through LSTC’s Public Church Fellowship.


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Samantha Rose
Social Media Intern

Samantha was born in Chicago and raised between Illinois and Florida. She’s a social media wiz who is dedicated to activism and her faith. You can find Samantha either reading memoir centered on racial/gender identity or BuzzFeed listicles about dogs. Returning to Chicago to lend her talents to the nonprofit world after working in publishing in New York, she is excited to contribute meaningful change to the community that shaped her.


Claire H
Prison Outreach & Support

Claire is a third year at the University of Chicago studying history with a focus in race in United States history. She is proficient in Italian, which she has studied for 10 years. Claire worked at the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Georgetown Law School and is currently the president of Students for Criminal Justice Reform at her University.


Masjid al-Rabia is a 100% volunteer led endeavor. All funding goes towards daily operating cost, supplies and direct support services for marginalized Muslims. You can learn more on how to support our mission on our donate page.

Want to join the Masjid al-Rabia team?
Seeking volunteer opportunities here in Chicago? Contact us!