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Our Team

Sameera Ahmed

Dr. Sameera Ahmed is the Executive Director and Founder of The Family and Youth Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Dr. Ahmed is a leading expert on American Muslim youth and has produced numerous groundbreaking publications, including The State of American Muslim Youth, Uplifting Black Muslim Youth, Prevalence of Risk Behaviors of US Muslim College Students, and Alcohol Use Among US Muslim College Students. Dr Ahmed is known for her contributions in promoting Muslim mental health through many avenues, including the publication of Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions, the most cited academic book on Muslim Mental health. She has been invited as a subject matter expert to events organized by the White House, Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), and the Department of Education (DOE). She has been referenced in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She also serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Muslim Mental Health

Dr. Ahmed is committed to supporting mental health practitioners and psychology students, and has taught classes at several universities nationwide. Dr. Ahmed has been a community activist at the grassroots and national levels for over 30 years, including serving as Vice-President for MSA-National and as a Muslim American Society (MAS) board member. She is based in Michigan, where she has a private clinical practice. For fun, she enjoys playing floor hockey, water sports, and eating good food.




Disbelief, Trauma, & Betrayal: 3 Tips To Healing

The Day they will appear before Allah, nothing about them will be hidden from Him. He will ask, “Who does...

Celebrate Eid. It’s What Allah (SWT) Wants You To Do.

Holidays may seem as simple as a day to have fun and celebrate. But, they are far more important to...
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  1. Ahmed, S., & Abdallah, K. (2023). Young, Black, Muslim American: An intersectional lens to understanding emerging adult religious experiences. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 15(2), 319.
  2.  Din, H., Ahmed, S., & Killawi, A. (2017) Pathways to Wellness: Exploring Muslim mental health promotion in the digital age. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 36(1-2), 96-116.
  3. Ahmed, S. & Hashem, H. (2016). A Decade of Muslim Youth: Global Trends in Research. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 10(1).
  4. Arfken, C. & Ahmed, S. (2016). Ten years of substance use research in Muslim populations- where do we go from here? Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 10(1).
  5. Arfken, C., Abu-Ras, W., Ahmed, S. (2014). Pilot Study of Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking Among US Muslim College Students. Journal of Religion and Health, 53(4).
  6. Ahmed, S., Abu-Ras, W., Arfken, C. (2014). Prevalence of risk behaviors among U.S. Muslim college students. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 8(1).
  7. Arfken, C., Ahmed, S., Abu-Ras, W. (2013). Respondent-driven sampling of Muslim undergraduate U.S. college students and alcohol use: Pilot study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 48, (6), 945-953.
  8.  Abu-Ras, W., Ahmed, S., Arfken, C. (2010). Alcohol Use among U.S. Muslim College Students: Risk and Protective Factors. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 9(3), p. 206- 220.
  9.  Ahmed, S. & Ezzeddine, M. (2009). Challenges and Opportunities Facing American Muslim Youth. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 4(2), p. 159-174.
  10. Ahmed, S. (2009). American Muslim Youth: Religiosity and Presence of Character Strengths. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 4 (2), p. 104-123.
  11. Ahmed, S. & Reddy, L. (2007).Understanding the Mental Health Needs of American Muslims: Recommendations and Considerations for Practice. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 35(4), 207-219.

Workshops & Lectures


Porn Addiction Toolkit

This toolkit includes resources to support someone with recovery from porn addiction. Home Toolkits What’s on This Page What is...
Suicide Prevention

The FYI's Suicide Prevention Toolkit

This toolkit is a curation of culturally attuned resources addressing suicide risks, intervention, assessment, and prevention. Home Toolkits What’s on...

Wellbeing in the Time of Coronavirus

As the nation goes into a state of emergency and people react to the uncertainty facing us, it’s hard to...

Uplifting Black Muslim Youth Toolkit

Our American Muslim communities are varied and the issues and needs we have are unique. This toolkit provides resources for...

Tragic Events Toolkit

The toolkit provides guidance on how to process a tragic event with your family. Home Toolkits What’s on This Page...
little boy on blue blanket background

Infant Mental Health Toolkit

This toolkit addresses Infant Mental Health, an integral component of raising a healthy child, and provides readings and practical tips...

Religious/Spiritual Abuse Toolkit

This toolkit includes resources to support those impacted by spiritual abuse. Home Toolkits What’s on This Page Resources on Spiritual...
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Workshops & Lectures


Professional Training

The Family and Youth Institute offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities.

Marriage Prep Workshop

Whether you are searching for a spouse or have been married for a number of years, no relationship is perfect....
Mental Health Workshop 1x1

Mental Health Workshop

It’s time to break the stigma surrounding mental health and talk about what we can do better as individuals and...

Mentoring Muslim Youth Workshop

Are you a youth director who is responsible for youth programming? A teacher trying to educate Muslim students better? Or...

Parenting Workshop

Description Parenting is difficult on its own but given the competing demands, multiple responsibilities, lack of support, and often increasingly...
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  1. Ahmed, S. Hashem, H, Khalid, M. (2020). Uplifting Black Muslim Youth: A Positive Youth Development Approach. The Family & Youth Institute.
  2. Ahmed, S., & Amer, M. M. (Eds.). (2013). Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions. Routledge.

Book Chapters

  1. Ahmed S and Muhammad H. (2019) Black Muslim Youth: Navigating their environment, while brokering new pathways. In: Abbas T and Hamid S, eds., Political Muslims: Understanding Youth Resistance in the Global Context, Syracuse University Press;
  2. Tahseen, M., Ahmed, S. R., & Ahmed, S. (2019). Muslim Youth in the Face of Islamophobia: Risk and Resilience. In Islamophobia and Psychiatry (pp. 307-319). Springer, Cham.
  3. El-Jamil, F., & Ahmed, S. (2015). Cultural Applications of Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavior, Family Systems, and Culture-Specific Approaches. Handbook ofA rab American Psychology, 303.
  4. Abo-Zena, M. M. and Ahmed, S. (2014). Religion, Spirituality, and Emerging Adults: Processing Meaning Through Culture, Context, and Social Position. In McNamara-Barry, C. & Abo-Zena, M. M. (Eds.) Emerging AdultsReligiousness and Spirituality, New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  5. Walker, D., Ahmed, S., Milevsky, A., Quagliana, H. , Bagsara, A. (2012). Sacred Text. In Walker, D. F., & Hathaway, W. L. (Eds.) Spiritually oriented interventions in child and adolescent psychotherapy, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  6. Walker, D., Doverspike, W., Ahmed, S., Milevsky, A., Woolley, J. (2012). Prayer. In Walker, D. F., & Hathaway, W. L. (Eds.) Spiritually oriented interventions in child and adolescent psychotherapy, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  7. Ahmed, S. (2011). Adolescent and Emerging Adults. In S. Ahmed, & M. Amer (Eds.) Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions. New York, NY: Routledge.
  8. Ahmed, S. (2011). Converts to Islam. In S. Ahmed, & M. Amer (Eds.) Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions. New York, NY: Routledge.
  9. Ahmed, S. and Aboul-Fotouh, F. (2011). Refugees. In S. Ahmed, & M. Amer (Eds.) Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions. New York, NY: Routledge.

Research Reports

  1. Tahseen, M., Ahmed, S., Ahmed, S.R. (2018). Bullying of Muslim Youth: A review of research and recommendations. The Family & Youth Institute.
  2. Ahmed, S., Patel, S., Hashem, H. (2015). State of American Muslim Youth. Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and The Family & Youth Institute
  3. Arfken, C.L., Ahmed, S., Abu-Ras, W. (2013). Under the influence: Alcohol Use Among College Students. Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
  4. Arfken, C.L. Abu-Ras, W., Ahmed, S. (2009). Alcohol use by Muslim college students: A review (Policy Brief #37). Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).