Sheikh Azhar Nasser was born and raised in Michigan and has a degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan. After completing his academic studies, he pursued his religious studies at the Hawza of Najaf under the offices of Grand Ayatollah Sistani and Grand Ayatollah Hakim.
In addition to his extensive study of classical religious texts, he has also taught introductory courses to western students at the seminary. Sheikh Azhar has a deep passion for the study of the Holy Quran which is evident from his lectures and discussions. He continues to teach courses online and has recently published a book titled, “The Grand Tour: Quranic Descriptions of Paradise”.
Sheikh Azhar is also the religious director of CBE, an organization which specializes in the production of short, spiritually-uplifting videos.
By profession, Laya Behbahani is a Sessional Lecturer in Labour Studies, an Associate at the Police Studies Centre at the School of Criminology and a Business and Policy Analyst at Simon Fraser University. Behbahani previously worked at the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria and served as a Research Associate at the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business at York University’s Schulich School of Business.
She completed her BA with Honours and Master’s at the School of Criminology at SFU before completing further course work at the University of Vienna, BCIT and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.