Where are you from? How have your experiences here, or throughout your upbringing, influenced your passions and aspirations today?
I was born and raised in New Jersey. My parents came here from Egypt in search of the American Dream. Growing up, I spent numerous summers in Egypt and was always attuned to the plight of the impoverished, marginalized and disenfranchised. As a teen, for instance, I remember challenging my relatives about their employment of a poor female child as a domestic worker; she should be in school, I argued. There were no laws requiring that, however.
Eventually, as a lawyer, I dedicated my legal career to serving the public interest. I litigated cases on behalf of indigent immigrant clients searching for a better life. I also worked to raise awareness about racial and ethnic justice issues. In my free time, I co-founded a specialty bar organization, the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, and was elected its first president. I also served on New Jersey Supreme Court Committees and with the state bar association. I'm passionate about giving back to my community, our profession and helping others.
Over time I discovered my love for teaching - working with law students, lecturing at law schools and penning opinion pieces. I returned to the University of Pennsylvania Law School for my second law degree, specialized in Islamic law and women's rights as well as human rights, civil liberties and national security. I graduated with the highest honors and have since been publishing legal scholarship.
Today, I’m grateful to work at Rutgers University where my teaching and research explore religion, race and gender at the intersection of law, society and politics. I view my scholarship and classroom instruction as forces for advancing social justice here and around the world. I also still advocate on behalf of marginalized communities through my work with the ABA, US State Department, UN and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.