Muslim Journal Newswire

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The opening statement on KARAMAH’s website: STOP ASIAN HATE! “Our communities stand united against racism. Hate against Asian American Pacific Islander communities has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we can stop it.” ~  Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights

Those who have experienced oppression or condoned oppression, by human nature know that oppression of a people is wrong. The Qur’an (Surah 2:191) expresses that in some cases, oppression equaling persecution is worse than slaughter.

Muslim Journal salutes the organization KARAMAH for its frontline endeavors to educate and promote human rights globally, especially gender equity, religious freedom and civil rights in the United States. It pursues its mission through education, legal outreach and advocacy.

KARAMAH’s MISSION: To educate all people on the just, gender equitable foundation of Islam. The organization post explains, “We produce, promote and publish Islamic scholarship, from a non-patriarchal perspective, through our programs and publications. 

“We contribute to social and legal discourse by emphasizing core Islamic principles of civil and human rights.  We challenge and inspire Muslim women to become leaders in their communities and throughout the world.”

KARAMAH’s VISION: “We have given dignity (karamah) to the Children of Adam.” (Qur’an 17:70)  Inspired by this verse, we strive toward the day when every person can reach his or her full potential, and we all treat one another with respect and compassion.”

KARAMAH TRIBUTE: On its social media platforms and website, KARAMAH gave tribute to the Honorable Judge Charlene Elder, who currently serves at the Wayne County Circuit Court, specifically working in the family division. 

In 2005, she became the first female, Muslim, and Arab-American judge in the country. Momentously, Judge Elder was also one of the first three judges who initiated the Domestic Violence Prevention Court, which extends resources to domestic violence victims. 

In her words, she states, “My only advice, not just to women in hijab, but to women not in hijab: Whatever you decide to do, be the best at it.”

KARAMAH FOUNDER DR, AZIZAH AL-HIBRI, PhD, JD: Dr. Azizah Y. al-Hibri’s foundation for KARAMAH was a platform for “Muslim Women lawyers for Human Rights.” Dr. al-Hibri is Professor Emerita at the University of Richmond School of Law, and the first American Muslim woman to become a law professor. 

She is also a former Professor of Philosophy, and founding editor of Hypatia: a Journal of Feminist Philosophy. She incorporated KARAMAH in 1993 in Virginia, wanting it to be the leading organization that educates Muslim women about Islamic law and jurisprudence from a critical gender-equitable perspective rooted in traditional sources.

Dr. al-Hibri was KARAMAH’s first president and chair. Over the following 27 years, she remained actively engaged in various leadership roles. She also taught annually at KARAMAH’s Law and Leadership Summer Program. 

In January of 2021, at the expiration of her term as president, she announced her retirement at KARAMAH’s annual meeting.

KARAMAH’s original research and innovative programming includes leadership training and conflict resolution skills. Together, these elements provide Muslim women with the essential tools and knowledge to promote reform in their own communities.

At the request of various institutions, such as the State Department, the United Nations, and international and local universities and Islamic centers, Dr. al-Hibri has shared her perspective at speaking engagements throughout Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, and the United States. 

She has lectured on issues of Muslim women’s rights, the Islamic marriage contract, Islam and democracy, human rights in Islam, Islamic interfaith values, and Muslim civil rights in the U.S.

Dr. al-Hibri most recent publication is “The Islamic Worldview: Islamic Jurisprudence, An American Muslim Perspective” (ABA Book Publishing 2014), which is a critical examination of traditional Islamic Jurisprudence in order to develop a gender-equitable understanding of Islam, with respect to society, marriage, family, and democratic governance. 

Dr. al-Hibri was a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (2011-13), a Library of Congress Scholar in Residence, and Fulbright scholar and National Humanities Center scholar (2000 2001). 

She is signatory to the Marrakesh Declaration (2016) and the Washington Declaration (2017) asserting freedom of conscience for religious minorities in Muslim countries.

Dr. al-Hibri is currently a member of the board of directors of the Fulbright Association. She has received many honors and awards, including the Virginia First Freedom Award, presented in 2007 by the Council for America’s First Freedom, the Life Time Achievement Award in 2009 from the Journal of Law & Religion and the Dr. Betty Shabazz Recognition Award in 2006 from Women in Islam.

She was also the first American woman invited to deliver a Dars Hassani, which is part of the official Ramadan lecture series “Al-Dourous Al-Hassaniyyah,” presided over by Moroccan King Muhammad VI and televised to the public.

Dr. al-Hibri and her family foundation have been providing grants to KARAMAH since its inception. For more information, visit: https://karamah.org/about/.

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