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IRIS BENDAHAN, Board Secretary
Iris Bendahan has been a Jewish educator in the South Bay Area since 2001. She taught supplementary Jewish education at various synagogues, served as Religious School Principal at Congregation Beth David (Saratoga) for eleven years, and continues to train Jewish students for their Bnei Mitzvah. Iris curates The California Holocaust Awareness and Action Interactive Museum (CHAIM), a mobile educational exhibit which is brought to schools, workplaces, and community centers. Prior to working in Jewish education, Iris worked in biotechnology for twenty years after earning a Bachelor degree in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a Master’s in Life Sciences from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Iris has engaged in numerous social action and social justice projects with Congregation Beth David. She discovered AAi in 2014 and resonated deeply with its mission to building interfaith bridges through social action. Since then she led two to three AAi Compassion events annually for Congregation Beth David, coordinated an AAi Trialogue event with Congregation Beth David, West Valley Muslim Association and Saratoga Federated Church, and assisted in organizing Temple Emanu-El San Jose’s first AAi compassion event in November 2018.

AGHA BILAL, Board Treasurer 
(bio coming soon, إنشاء الله )




ROD CARDOZA, Founder and Executive Director 
Rod Cardoza is a cultural, theological and linguistic anthropologist. He has published ethnographic research on Muslim ritual, and lectures internationally on Muslim-Christian dialogue. He studied Urdu language at Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, India. He researched social stratification among Muslim communities in Ahmedabad, India; shamanism among Maguindanaon Muslims in rural Mindanao, Philippines; and Shi'ite mourning rituals in Gujarat, India. He worked closely with leading scholars from Delhi University and Hazrat Pir Mohammed Shah Research Centre in India to publish religious peacebuilding Urdu texts. He also researched the role of Muslim cinematography in teaching Islamic knowledge in Egypt, where Rod lived with his family for several years while studying Arabic. Rod has lectured widely at universities and seminaries such as Lewis & Clark College, American University DC, Fresno Pacific University, and Fuller Theological Seminary. Rod authored "New Paths in Muslim-Christian Dialog: Understanding Islam from the Light of Earliest Jewish Christianity," (originally presented in Washington, DC at the Annual Conference on Muslim Peace, Justice and Interfaith Dialogue sponsored by Salam Institute for Peace and Justice, and Islamic Society of North America), published in The Muslim World, a journal devoted to the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. Rod lives in San Jose, California and attends a Mennonite church with his wife and three children.



Emeritus Board Members


SOHAIL AKHTER, Board Member Emeritus
Sohail Akhter is the founder of The Cordoba Foundation, a non-profit organization working to promote education about Islam and elderly care for Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attends South Valley Islamic Center in San Martin, California where he served as president for two terms, leading numerous community service and interfaith events with both Jewish and Christian communities. Sohail has long been an activist for peacebuilding, community outreach and civil rights initiatives, participating regularly in interfaith dialogue and community outreach programs with organizations such as Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Networks Group (ING) and United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance. Sohail has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and a 20-year professional career in Sales, Marketing and Corporate Development. Sohail is a co-founder of Abrahamic Alliance International, helping take it from concept in 2007 to launch operations in 2008. Sohail served on the AAi Board of Directors from 2008–2014, and remains a distinguished and honorary Board Member Emeritus today.



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