Al-Habri Addresses Women's Empowerment at MPAC-WNY Banquet

June 11, 2013

Last week, MPAC-Western New York held its 9th Annual Banquet in Buffalo, NY, with Azizah al-Hibri, a prominent Muslim lawyer and President Barack Obama's appointee, featured as the keynote speaker.

On the theme of women’s empowerment, al-Hibri said American Muslims, and particularly the women among them, are doing "pretty well" despite the challenges they’ve faced in recent decades.

"But there is more work to be done,” she said, adding that the U.S. can lead the way in defeating the misconception that Islam restricts the rights of women.

Al-Hibri, a former law professor at the University of Richmond, is the founder of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. A native of Lebanon, she has written and lectured on legal and women’s issues from an Islamic viewpoint, was a Fulbright Scholar in 2001 and appointed by the president in 2011 to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“Islam is a religion that empowers women,” al-Hibri said. “The problem has been that it has been taught to them by people who do not want to empower them. This is a very important time in which we move from being immigrants. We’re leaving that behind. We’re moving into being just Americans. And we can do a lot with that.”

MPAC-WNY was founded in 2004 and is the first chapter in New York state.

Dr. Khalid Qazi, President of MPAC-WNY presented the annual Community Service Award that night to Stanford Lipsey, publisher emeritus of The Buffalo News, citing his philanthropy and contributions to the Western New York area.

“I guess it was also precipitated because he recently retired,” Qazi joked.



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