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Engy Abdelkader
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Engy Abdelkader co-directs the Immigration Intervention Project at Sanctuary for Families - New York's largest not for profit agency serving the legal, clinical, shelter and economic needs of victims of domestic violence, gender based violence and human trafficking. She is an award-winning attorney with two U.S. law degrees including credentials from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she served as a teaching fellow and graduated with academic distinction.

At Penn Law, her graduate thesis explored the intersection of Islamic law and women's rights. And, her coursework focused on civil liberties, human rights and security. Notably, her studies culminated in legal scholarship published in academic journals.

Today, Ms. Abdelkader serves on or helps lead several global, national and regional legal institutions and nonprofit organizations.

Beginning in 2013, she joined the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as the U.S. representative on an advisory panel of experts on religious freedom. Serving in an independent capacity, she has made related strategic and policy recommendations, participated in conferences, reviewed country laws and policies, collaborated on guidelines establishing a legal framework for recognizing religious communities in Member States and shared gender related insights on a country's draft constitution post-'Arab Spring'.

Ms. Abdelkader is the recipient of a Speaker and Specialist Grant awarded by the U.S. State Department in gender, human rights and Islam. The grant is given by invitation only to American experts in a particular field to present lectures and conduct workshops and seminars for audiences sponsored by U.S. Consulates.

As chair of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Committee on National Security and Civil Liberties, a part of the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, she engages in policy analysis and designs cutting edge legal educational programs on 'hot button' issues of the day. During her chairmanship, the Committee was voted the winner of the 2014 Committee Excellence Award for providing leadership to the legal profession in protecting and advancing human rights, civil liberties and social justice.

Ms. Abdelkader is also a Board Member of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a New Jersey based nonprofit dedicated to enhancing interfaith relations between Muslim and Jewish women throughout the U.S. She serves as an appointed member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Board on Continuing Legal Education, New Jersey State Bar Foundation Respect Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board, New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns and the New Jersey State Bar Association Membership Committee.

Previously in her legal career, Ms. Abdelkader served in a supervisory capacity with a nonprofit law firm where she developed an expertise in immigration law, racial and ethnic justice issues and foreclosure defense.

In the immigration context, she mentored law students and trained attorneys while working to win asylum on behalf of poor immigrant women fleeing forced or polygamous marriages, female genital cutting, 'honor killings,' abusive relationships, and other types of persecution. She also assisted immigrant victims of violent crimes and human trafficking as well as abused and neglected children. In 2009, the International Institute of New Jersey presented Ms. Abdelkader with an award recognizing her legal service to survivors of torture.

In the foreclosure context, she challenged the unscrupulous practices of lending institutions and achieved successful outcomes and financial settlements for poor and senior clients.

Her work on racial and ethnic justice issues included researching various types of discrimination in public schools, such as the over‐representation of racial minorities in special education, equal access to public education by immigrant children and bias­‐based bullying in the post 9/11 era. She also explored the intersection of race, gender and predatory lending.

Ms. Abdelkader has worked diligently to protect the civil liberties of racial, ethnic and religious minorities. She co-founded a specialty bar organization, the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, and was elected as its first president. During her tenure, she pursued diversity initiatives in the state judiciary, convened educational seminars and grew the organization. She also previously served as vice-president of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

For a number of years, she served as an Executive Board Member with the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of New Jersey (ADC-NJ) where she spear-headed an effort to raise awareness about religious, ethnic and racial bias affecting youth in schools. She organized educational events, published analysis and worked with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on related programming.

In response to the post 9/11 backlash against members of the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities, Ms. Abdelkader worked as a volunteer attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, American Arab Anti­‐Discrimination Committee of New York and the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she provided research on the case of Maher Arar -­‐ the first publicized case of "extraordinary rendition."

During this time, she also volunteered with the U.S. Department of Justice as an instructor on Islam, American Muslims and Arab Americans for local, state and federal law enforcement officials to prevent avoidable conflict and cultural misunderstandings.

Today, Ms. Abdelkader - a New Jersey native who grew up near the shore - enjoys spending time with family, jogging on the boardwalk, horseback riding, international travel and catching Broadway shows.

Entries by Engy Abdelkader

For Our Children

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 9:09 AM

Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East have dominated news headlines recently.

As women of faith -- Muslim and Jewish -- we have grown increasingly alarmed, and have been saddened, by the escalation of violence and brutality.

Myriad reports of alleged kidnappings, murders and beatings --...

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Force or Choice? American Muslim Marriages (PHOTOS)

(5) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 6:58 PM

Last week Amina Ajmal took the witness stand against her father, Mohamed Ajmal Choudhary, in a New York courtroom. Choudhary is charged with arranging the killings of a young man's relatives because the man had helped Amina escape a "forced marriage."

It is alleged that, a number of...

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Religious Extremism = Child Abuse?

(6) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 3:37 PM

London Mayor Boris Johnson is making waves with some controversial statements concerning Muslims.

Writing for The Telegraph earlier this week, the conservative leader likened religious extremism to child abuse and called for state agencies to assume custody of Muslim kids at risk of radicalization to prevent them...

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Using the 'T' Word to Justify Human Rights Abuses

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 4:06 PM

From China to Burma to Egypt, some governments invoke the "T" word to justify official conduct that runs afoul of international human rights law.

Often politically motivated rather than security oriented, this trend risks endangering the very security interests officials claim to be protecting.

While sharing in the...

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Should Muslim Women Testify with a Face Veil?

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 11:40 AM

Should a Muslim woman remove a face-covering veil when she testifies in court? That is the issue confronting some judges in Western democratic societies.

In a Canadian criminal case that resumed earlier this month, a legal struggle spanned five years when a Muslim woman refused to remove her Niqab or...

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Study Finds Rising Religious Hostilities in Europe

(28) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 1:05 PM

According to a newly released Pew Research Center study, religious hostilities around the world have reached an unfortunate six-year high. In fact, every major region of the world, with the exception of North and South America, has experienced increased religious tensions. The report makes a number of significant...

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The Future of Women's Rights in Tunisia

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 1:14 PM

On January 14th Tunisians will mark the third anniversary of the "Jasmine Revolution." Three years ago, three weeks of popular protests sparked by the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor culminated in the ouster of former Tunisian President Zine El-Abedine Ben Ali and triggered a series of events that would...

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Mosque Controversies in Europe (and Lessons Learned From the American Experience)

(9) Comments | Posted January 2, 2014 | 10:46 AM

According to a 2012 research study conducted by Pew, Muslims are the second largest religious group in Europe, constituting approximately 5.9 percent of the population. Their growing presence, attributed to an influx of migration from Muslim-majority societies, has been met by increased government restrictions on and...

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Human Trafficking: Muslim Women Vulnerable in Myanmar

(24) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 1:42 PM

Amid continued communal strife in Myanmar, Muslim women and children are increasingly finding themselves in vulnerable situations that have yet to be adequately recognized and addressed. This post glimpses the related issue of human trafficking.

By way of background, Burma's record on human trafficking has prompted the United States to...

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Muslim Women and Children Confront Challenges in Myanmar

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 1:35 PM

"I wouldn't have to live this life if I wasn't a Muslim." -Anwar Sardad, a 10-year-old child laboring in Myanmar, October 2013

Since largely democratic elections in 2011 ushered in Thein Sein as Myanmar's president, the international community has rewarded perceived political and economic reforms with eased international sanctions, foreign...

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Meet 5 People Inspiring Peace

(1) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 6:22 PM

Peace has many faces.

We often think of it as the desired goal when bringing warring parties to the bargaining table to negotiate a workable compromise.

Yet, all around the country Americans can be found working to promote a culture of peace in much more subtle ways.

This...

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Top Ten List: Muslims Who Save Lives

(47) Comments | Posted August 3, 2013 | 5:23 PM

Last month, Rolling Stone featured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its magazine, triggering a firestorm of outrage and controversy.

The move was widely experienced as an affront to all those whose lives were devastated by the Boston bombings. There is a concern that Tsarnaev and his ilk are...

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99.3% of Egyptian Women, Girls Have Been Sexually Harassed

(5) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 2:05 PM

New research from U.N. Women finds that 99.3 percent of women have suffered sexual harassment in Egypt. Slightly less (91.5 percent) have experienced unwelcome physical contact.

Released last week, the study confirms that harassment and assault occur irrespective of a woman's appearance, conduct or manner of dress....

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Who Are the Rohingya Muslims, and Why Should We Care?

(25) Comments | Posted May 19, 2013 | 5:51 PM

On Monday, Burmese President Thein Sein is due to visit the White House. The visit represents another milestone in recently burgeoning U.S.-Burma relations, and an opportunity to engage Thein Sein on the significance of respecting international human rights norms -- such as protecting its minority Muslim population's religious freedoms --...

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Muslims Redefining Community

(390) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 1:58 PM

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometimes expressions of community manifest at unexpected yet necessary moments.

Illustrative is the American response to the recent proliferation of anti-Muslim hate advertisements on government...

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Dialogue Through Arts: American Muslims Face Intolerance, Cope Creatively

(1012) Comments | Posted February 6, 2013 | 4:49 PM

The pervasive intolerance, discrimination and violence confronting American Muslims more than a decade after 9/11 hardly comes as a shock to anyone these days.

In fact, according to a 2011 Gallup Research Study, approximately one-half of nationally representative samples of Mormons, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and Jews agree that the...

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Getting to Know the 'Other'

(53) Comments | Posted December 7, 2012 | 12:36 PM

Perception is a powerful thing.

Men wage wars on account of it: Iraq had WMDs.

Except, of course, it didn't.

Innocent people are hurt, in a myriad of ways, due to it.

Darker complexioned men with long beards and turbans are presumed to be Muslim and, therefore,...

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Women's Rights as Black and White: American Muslims in the Arts

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 10:12 AM

Few things in life are black and white.

For Wesaam Al-Badry, however, matters concerning human rights -- particularly those relating to women and children -- leave no room for negotiation.

A 28-year-old, Iraqi-born photojournalist who now calls Nebraska home, Al-Badry's childhood experiences helped mold his unrelenting perspective. His...

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Warhol, Pollock ... Khan? American Muslims in the Arts (PHOTOS)

(49) Comments | Posted September 1, 2012 | 9:04 AM

I love art, in so many of its variant forms. Of course, I am hardly alone.

A number of American Muslims pursue their passion for art more actively, however, transforming their affinity into a vocation. Far from passive observers, they are artists whose works speak distinct messages -- some of...

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Ordinary Muslims Doing Extraordinary Things

(2) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 6:50 AM

Does a reference to Muslims trigger thoughts of folks organizing food pantries, park cleanups and low-cost health clinics?

Do you think of global volunteerism and young adults creating -- opportunity and hope -- not destroying?

Do you envision a helping hand?

Allow me to introduce you to Aysha...

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