Asad Dandia

Asad Dandia is a Pakistani-American writer, organizer, and teacher born and raised in Brooklyn. He is currently the Community Program Coordinator at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York (CAIR-NY), second faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (BISR), and an urban studies graduate student at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU). As a teenager, he cofounded a mutual aid organization called Muslims Giving Back, which was surveilled by NYPD informants, leading Asad to join a historic and successful lawsuit challenging police surveillance of New York’s Muslim communities, forever transforming his life. Since then, he is often invited to write, teach, and speak on grassroots and faith-based organizing and resistance. Asad also holds an MA in Islamic Studies from Columbia University, and his writing has been featured in the Washington Post, the LA Review of Books, and Al Jazeera English, among others. He is a co-host of the New Books in Middle East Studies podcast at the New Books Network. With deep roots in New York City, and particularly in working-class Muslim New York, Asad hopes to take advantage of his time as an Open City Muslim Communities Fellow to tell the untold stories of the communities and neighborhoods that have always served as an anchor for him. As such, hopes to write about the new wave of Muslim immigration into the Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island; the sociopolitical legacy of Black Muslim Bedford-Stuyvesant from the late 20th century going into the 21st; and the emergence of new Muslim community institutions in Bay Ridge Sunset Park. On the side, he is studying for his NYC tour guide license so he can further spread the gospel of Gotham. You can follow him on Twitter: @DandiaAsad.