Skip to main content


Dr. Ahmed Essa

First President from 1980-1989

Dr. Essa was a professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno, from 1967 to 1991, teaching multicultural literature and creative writing. He was known for his expertise in African and Middle Eastern literature. He served as the Director of Freshman English for several years.

Dr. Essa was also the founder of the Northern Nevada Muslim Society, bringing the group from its early days of a few members in the 1960s to an organization that includes several thousand today. He also was the advisor to the UNR Muslim Student Association for many years. He promoted interfaith dialog to help further mutual understanding and cooperation among religious groups in Nevada and was a tireless advocate for cultural understanding. In 2003 he received the World Citizen Award from the Northern Nevada International Center for “linking Nevada and its culturally diverse population with people nationally and internationally.“

Ashraf Azim

President from 1990- 1991 and 2021-current
Please see Below

Imtiaz Ahmad

President from 1991-1993

Imtiaz Ahmed was born and raised in Pakistan. In 1977, he came to Reno, NV, to establish his career in business/construction with his wife and two children. Imtiaz Ahmed always had a compassion for helping others, those most in need and growing in Islam. Since 1976, NNMC was struggling to find areas to pray. We would have to utilize spare rooms in local churches, backyards, and apartments in order to gather for Jumma prayer or any other religious events.

Then in 1992, within a year of his presidency, miraculously, with the grace of Allah SWT, Imtiaz Ahmed founded the first Mosque in the history of Reno, NV. This was located on Valley Road and was the first space we called our Mosque. This opened doors for many successful months of Ramadan, our first Sunday School, and was the start of exponential growth for NNMC. He was the President of NNMC from 1991-1993. Imtiaz Ahmed is an asset to our growing Muslim community and continues to be the epitome of patience, togetherness, and innovation. The Northern Nevada Muslim Community is fortunate to have him continue to be a part of our mission here in Reno, NV.

Dr. Yunus Cengel

President from 1995-1999

Yunus Çengel is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno, USA. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and served as a faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno, since 1984. He was the Director of the Industrial Assessment Center and served as a consultant in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy policies. Professor Çengel is the author or coauthor of several widely adopted engineering textbooks.

Dr. Cengal, secretary of NNMC from 1992 through 1994. He was elected as President in January 1995 and served in that position until he returned back to Turkey in June 1999.

Dr. Mohammed Sami Fadali

President from 1999-2000

Mohammed Sami Fadali was born in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering. He continued his education in England, then in the United States. After teaching for two years in Saudi Arabia, he returned to the US and moved to Reno in 1985. He was the President of NNMC from 1998-99 and presided over the first attempt to construct a Masjid for the community. Although the attempt was unsuccessful, it led to the decision to move the mosque to its current location. He later served as NNMC Secretary.


President from 2000-2001

Mahmoud Hendi

President from 2001-2010

Mahmoud Hendi served as the president of the Northern Nevada Muslim Community (NNMC) for 12 years and a board member for 10 years. During his presidency, he managed two major incidents, one where two prominent members of the NNMC were attacked and the other being the events of 9/11/2001. Mr. Hendi leveraged his skills and connections to create a safe environment for the community, establish relationships with law enforcement, and implement security procedures.

He oversaw the purchase of a new Masjid location, it’s remodeling and the relocation of NNMC to the new mosque. Mr. Hendi also purchased a second building to serve as an event and community center and a school for Muslim children and adults. Both buildings were paid for through productive fundraising campaigns. As a board member, he was appointed as the fundraiser chairman and was able to raise over one million dollars in donations, including $325k during the 2021 Ramadan.

Dr. Sherif Elfass

President from 2011-2021

Sherif Elfass has been on the NNMC executive board, serving in different capacities since 1999. He was elected president in January 2012 and served for five consecutive terms until he retired in December 2021. During his tenure, NNMC not only became debt-free but amassed healthy savings to tackle any future projects. Dr. Elfass’ vision was to build a strong and secure Muslim community in Northern Nevada. His mission focused on ensuring the safety of the Muslim community, strengthening its ties with other communities and law enforcement agencies, and eradicating misconceptions about Islam. Education was his approach.

-Dr. Elfass received Mike O Callaghan Humanitarian Award in 2017 for his effort to bring Muslims and northern Nevada closer together. He also received the Community Service award in 2022 from the Nevada Interfaith Association.
-Dr. Elfass taught Islamic Studies at the NNMC Weekend Islamic School before becoming its principal.
-Dr. Elfass is an Associate Research Professor with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is a registered Professional Engineer and Project Management Professional.
-Dr. Elfass is a proud father of two girls and a boy and a grandfather of a baby girl.

Ashraf Azim

President from 1990-1991 and 2021- current

Ashraf Azim, our current president at the Northern Nevada Muslim Community (NNMC), has been a dedicated and integral part of the Muslim community in Reno, NV for several decades. His journey towards assuming this leadership position began with his academic pursuitsUniversity of Mississippi, Oxford campus, where he pursued his passion for urban and regional planning. In 1983, armed with his Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP), he embarked on a professional path that led him to the regional planning department of Washoe County in Nevada. During his time there, he gained valuable experience and insights into community development and the importance of effective planning.

In 1990, he was elected as the second president of the Northern Nevada Muslim Community (NNMC) until Dec of 1991. He focused on fostering unity and empowerment. Under his leadership, the first mosque near the University of Nevada, Reno was established, providing a spiritual sanctuary for the Muslim community. Ashraf also served as the founding chairman of the first Muslim Cemetery of Northern Nevada, ensuring a dignified burial site for Muslim families.

He was once again re-elected in 2021 as president through his service and optimism. Looking to the future, he is excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. He firmly believes by building bridges of understanding and fostering a sense of unity, a more harmonious and inclusive society can be created. He is dedicated to continue his service to the NNMC and the broader community, with a focus on promoting interfaith dialogue, social justice, and cultural diversity. Ashraf continues to make a positive impact in the lives of those around him and this community.


Dr. Eltag Mirghani

Dr. Eltag Mirghani moved to Reno in 1992 with his wife and three children. He previously worked as a physician in India, UAE, and Baltimore before moving to Reno, NV. Dr. Mirghani initially worked for a group practice, Great Basin Medical Group, in Reno, but his dream was to open his own medical practice to provide quality care for the entire community. In 1994, he and his wife opened Medina Medical Center, an Urgent Care Clinic.

Dr. Eltag Mirghani was very active in volunteering at our masjid at every opportunity he had. He also mentored pre-medical and medical students at his clinic. Unfortunately, Medina Medical Center had to abruptly close in 2001 after Dr. Mirghani suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a hate-fueled violent crime. He was a beautiful asset to our community, and we will forever be grateful for his years of contributions and efforts to help anyone in need.