The Panel Discussion

The July 30, 2016 film screening at Silk Road Rising was followed by a panel discussion, featuring co-writers Dr. Manal Hamzeh and Jamil Khoury, director Liz Wuerffel, animator Anna Hayden-Roy, and the following panel of respondents:

  • Suroor Raheemullah, Director of Organizational Development for the Muslim Women's Alliance
  • Itedal Shalabi, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Arab American Family Services
  • Fouad Teymour, playwright and Professor of Chemical Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology 


Suroor Raheemullah joined the board of directors of Muslim Women’s Alliance in 2012 as the Director of Organizational Development where she brings experience in how to more effectively manage an organization focusing on long term strategic planning, succession planning, board development, and fundraising strategies. She has spearheaded MWA’s inclusive spaces initiative aimed at raising the voices and leadership positions of Muslim women within masjids. Suroor is also the Director of Health & Wellness and Global Mobility at a global manufacturing firm. She lives with her husband and three young daughters in Chicago.

Itedal Shalabi co-founded Arab American Family Services (AAFS) in 2001 and officially received the title of Executive Director in mid-2005. Under her leadership and management, AAFS served 8,543 families in 2014, impacting over 34,303 individuals. Ms. Shalabi earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from the Jane Addams College of Social Work. Ms. Shalabi is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for her expertise on issues impacting women and children. Ms. Shalabi was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence and named to the Mayor of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence. She is also a Board Member of the Illinois Coalition against Domestic Violence and an advisory board member to the National Network for Arab American Communities. Additionally, Ms. Shalabi is an Advisory member of the Cook County Department of Public Health; Member of the Governor’s Language Access Task Force; Member of the Muslim American Advisory Council to the Governor; and previously sat on the Mosque Foundation Board member and Universal School Board. Ms. Shalabi serves on boards and committees as part of a strategic effort to build bridges of communication and resources between Arab/Muslim and mainstream organizations, institutions and governmental agencies.

Fouad Teymour is a Chicago-based Egyptian American playwright. He is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and a board member for International Voices Project (IVP). He has written six full length plays, which have been read and discussed at the Chicago Dramatists First Draft series, and are at various stages of development. His play, The Night Jesus Joined the Revolution, received a series of staged reading performances at Silk Road Rising in December 2012. An Afternoon With My Mother was featured in the 2015 New Work Festival by Three Cat Productions. Fouad has also translated Ahmed Serag's The Castle and The Sparrow from Arabic. His translation was performed in IVP 2014 and was published in June 2015 by Dar Ibda'a in Egypt. Fouad has directed a staged reading of two plays by Syrian playwright Mohammad Al-Attar for IVP 2015. He was the cultural consultant for the World Premiere of Jamil Khoury's Mosque Alert at Silk Road Rising. Fouad Teymour is a Professor of Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology.