New York Warmly Welcomes KARAMAH

To close out the year, Dr. al-Hibri and Aisha Rahman were honored to attend an event hosted by KARAMAH alumna Zara Iqbal in her home town of White Plains, New York. The event, hosted with the help of longtime KARAMAH friends the American Muslim Women’s Association (“AMWA”) celebrated KARAMAH’s work for the past 20 years. Ms. Rahman spoke to the crowded room about leadership, the annual Law and Leadership Summer Program and family law. She stressed the need for Muslim communities to openly discuss the rights afforded to different family members, and spoke to KARAMAH’s direct legal services. Next, Dr. al-Hibri took the stage. She pulled the crowd into a state of play on the civil rights of Muslim Americans. Taking the rapt listeners into a quick history lesson, she helped contextualize the development of the civil rights movement and how different incidents have impacted where we are today. She discussed KARAMAH’s history before the 9/11 attacks and the issues we as a community were facing then. She moved through KARAMAH’s involvement immediately following 9/11 in the law enforcement raids of Muslim families and businesses around D.C. and discussed our current advocacy around issues of surveillance, unlawful detainment, profiling, and bullying. Dr. al-Hibri stressed the need for the Muslim community to educate ourselves on the history we come from, for fear of repeating the same mistakes. A principle that is deeply engrained into the work KARAMAH does, she helped the audience connect the dots between different grievances on our civil rights. When sharing accounts of the 2002 raids on Muslim businesses and homes in Virginia, Dr. al-Hibri read from a report KARAMAH compiled. Many women shared testimonials of how they were approached. Dr. al-Hibri relayed the story of women being placed in heavily air-conditioned cars in the dead of winter for six hours with no food, and later being detained while their children were unable to eat or use the bathroom. She spoke to the crowd about houses being searched without warrants, and of families being questioned with no grounds for doing so. Throughout her presentation, Dr. al-Hibri was careful to connect it to the need for our work today, as well as the need for us to harken back to our history in order to make decisions that reflect strongly on our futures. She further pulled the instances of civil rights grievances against Muslim Americans to those happening in Ferguson, New York, and around the country. Dr. al-Hibri carefully connected the different groups and stressed the necessity for Muslim Americans to form coalitions and recognize shared histories to be able to fight for our civil rights. The event was well-received, with many audience members leaving, full of a deeper understanding for both KARAMAH’s work and the fight for civil rights.

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