KARAMAH is pleased to announce that in 2017, we introduced our first ever executive session (“ES”) in honor of our fifteenth Law and Leadership Summer Program. While KARAMAH’s three-week LLSP has been well attended and has graduated over three hundred alumnae, KARAMAH wanted to adapt the program to reach more Muslim women leaders. Because of work and family obligations, three weeks is often difficult for many to accommodate. Also, Muslim women who have advanced in their leadership in the American Muslim community face similar barriers and obstacles. In order to meet the needs of this demographic, KARAMAH instituted the ES.
KARAMAH accepts applications for the regular LLSP, but for the ES this year we invited fourteen mid-career Muslim women leaders. Among them, were six African Americas, four Arab Americans, and four South Asian women. They were equally diverse in their fields of work. KARAMAH wanted to ensure that we had representation from senior Muslim women leaders who were leading their own organizations, on boards of Muslim organizations, or on the boards of masajid around the country. Each leader fit this profile. Over the course of the week, KARAMAH modified its three-part curriculum that includes courses on Islamic law, leadership, and conflict resolution. To maximize impact, KARAMAH offered lunchtime sessions with other senior women leaders in the DMV, such as Dean Annamaria Steward of UDC Law, Manal Omar of USIP, and Shireen Zaman of the Proteus Fund, as both learning and networking opportunities.
KARAMAH’s pilot ES was very well received. Among the feedback that we received were these testimonials:
“I thoroughly enjoyed the program, and wish I could manage to attend the full 3 weeks sometime. I appreciate the tremendous amount of effort that was put into such a well-coordinated, high quality event. May Allah reward you and KARAMAH immensely.” Salma Abugidieri of the Peaceful Families Project.
“I wanted to first thank you again for extending me the invitation to attend the executive session. It was an absolute honor and an experience I will never forget. For so many years, I have turned to Azizah al-Hibri’s writings to get guidance for so many of the issues I faced as a Muslim woman leader. Her wisdom has always been a treasured resource. So, this week was absolutely life-changing. I felt like I have left KARAMAH with a real sense of conviction for the path ahead.” Fatima Saied, President of the Muslim Women’s Organization (Orlando).
“KARAMAH’s LLSP executive session is a ‘must’ for all executive directors. The information, particularly about gender equity in Islam that KARAMAH has developed over the last twenty-five years is unique and necessary learning for all leaders in the American Muslim community. The entire program is an ‘eye-opener,’ and in this day and age where people are being bombarded with misinformation about Islam, it is essential for all people [including men] to hear the authentic research that KARAMAH has done. I wish that I could have spent all three-weeks with you.” Hind Jarrah, Executive Director of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation
“I have been singing the praises of KARAMAH for a month now since our program ended. In fact, several of the issues we tackled during the session came up during the Black Muslim Psychology Conference and I found myself, multiple times, directing people to what I learned at KARAMAH! The LLSP Executive Session is both exceptional and a dire need in the Muslim community. The group of women leaders in our session would not have been otherwise able to take off from our organizations for more than the one week, but the information we gained was valuable and very critical to the work that we do. We are often in the trenches, striving to help push our communities forward while navigating gender disparities in the religious and cultural space. Within that one week, we gained critical tools that can be used toward further study and examination of often misunderstood concepts with Islam. This better informs, prepares, and supports the woman leader and thereby better helps and supports healthier, holistic communities.” Ndidi Okakpu, Board President and Convener Chicagoland Shura.
KARAMAH is an organization dedicated to advancing the rights of Muslim women and girls through thoughtful, authentic research in Islamic law. We disseminate this research through our educational programs, namely our Law and Leadership Summer Program. This program, particularly the ES, is helping to advance inclusion in the American Muslim community by being a purposefully female space and by empowering leaders with knowledge about their faith, giving them leadership skills, and providing an environment where they can share their challenges and obstacles with one another.