Sister Aisha Al-Adawiya
Community Relations Division
Sister Aisha Al- Adawiya has been at the forefront in the fight for human rights, social justice, and gender equality for over 40 years. As an organizational strategist, consultant, and curator of the historiographies of Muslims in America, Sister Aisha’s work is recognized nationally and internationally for its global impact. In 1992, she founded Women in Islam, Inc., an organization of Muslim women which focuses on human rights and social justice by strengthening the role and voice of women in Islam, through which she spearheaded a national campaign to create mosque access for Muslim women.
A recent retiree from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture where she served for over 35 years, Sister Aisha continues to organize and participate in conferences, symposia and other forums on Islam which address issues of Gender Equity, Conflict Resolution, Cross-Cultural Understanding, and Peace Building.
Sister Aisha has been an early ally and supporter of KARAMAH and its mission. She served on our board of directors for many years in the past decades. Sister Aisha has also represented KARAMAH and other Muslim women’s Non-Governmental Organizations at United Nations forums.
Indeed, throughout her career, Sister Aisha has served on numerous boards related to the interests of the global Islamic community, including the Interfaith Center of New York; New York Jobs With Justice; Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition; Muslim Consultative Network; The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial Educational and Cultural Center (The Shabazz Center); The Malcolm X Museum; Collections and Stories of American Muslims (CSAM); Council on American Islamic Relations, New York (CAIR-NY); and Turning Point for Women and Families.
She has also served as a consultant to numerous organizations and documentary projects on the Muslim American experience, including Columbia University’s Muslims in New York Project; Darfur Rehabilitation Project; Media for Human Rights; International Museum of Muslim Cultures; Malaria No More’s Muslim Advisory Council, Mali; and Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas. For many years, she was a guest host and producer on Radio Tahrir, the long-running magazine program on WBAI- Pacifica Radio, New York City, featuring Arab and Muslim voices.
Sister Aisha is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the 2017 Clara Lemlich Award for social activism from LaborArts and the Council on American Islamic Relation’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, given in recognition of her decades of service and commitment to advancing the legacy of Islam as an organic religious tradition. In 2022, she received the Outstanding Humanitarian Award (presented to her by Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan) from the US Council for Muslim Organizations, a coalition of national, regional, and local Muslim organizations.