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Dr. Debbie Almontaser

Board President, Muslim Community Network
Brooklyn, NY

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Dr. Debbie Almontaser works to promote cultural diversity, interfaith coalition building, and youth leadership.


Dr. Debbie Almontaser is affiliated with the Yemeni American Merchants Association of New York (YAMA), which was birthed through the Yemeni Bodega Strike in New York in Protest to the Executive Order Travel Ban. YAMA is dedicated to supporting the Yemeni American community and uplift their contributions in the United States. YAMA seeks to support the growth and development of Yemeni-American merchants and their families through education, capacity building services, information, networking, and advocacy. She is also the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy. Dr. Almontaser is a twenty-five year veteran of the NYC Public School System, she taught special education, inclusion, trained teachers in literacy, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity advisor. Currently, she is the Board President of the Muslim Community Network. She frequently lectures, serves on panels, and facilitates teacher and public workshops on cultural diversity, conflict resolution, Arab Culture, Islam, Muslims in America, and interfaith coalition building, as well as youth leadership at schools, universities, libraries, museums, faith-based organizations, churches, synagogues, national, and international conferences. 

Dr. Almontaser for the last 20 years has been in the trenches advocating for Muslim Holidays, ending the NYPD’s Muslim Surveillance Program, the Community Safety Act which ended Stop and Frisk and instituted an inspector general in NYC, and stronger Handschu Guidelines to hold the NYPD accountable.

In November 2018, Dr. Almontaser published Leading While Muslim: The Experiences of American Muslim Principals after 9/11, which illuminates the adversities that Muslim American principals experienced post-9/11.

Recently, Dr. Almontaser was a featured speaker at the 2016 National Democratic Convention. Since the election, Dr. Almontaser has been organizing against the Travel Ban, better known as the Muslim Ban, as a member of one of the affected countries.  Dr. Almontaser with a collective of bodega owners led the historic Bodega Strike and rally in Brooklyn, Borough Hall in response to the Muslim Ban, where thousands of store owners peacefully protested the unjust ban.  She is a recipient of numerous presitigious awards, and was also named a Thought Leader at the ASMA Society Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow Program in 2006. Dr. Almontaser is a published writer on American Muslim issues, and has been profiled in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, and the Daily News.


  • Religion & Interfaith
  • Arts & Culture
  • Hate Crimes and Violence

Issue Areas

Muslim Ban, Yemen, Interfaith Relations, Women's Issues, Youth/Families, Hate Violence/Hate Crimes, Discrimination and Bigotry, Race and Racism

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