Muslim Women's Law Firm Breaks Down Stereotypes

August 1, 2008

Author: Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah

Source: Chicago Tribune,0,3948580.story?track=rss-topicgallery

In what may be the nation's only law firm composed solely of Muslim women, the attorneys represent the ethnic and religious diversity within the Islamic faith: Some cover their hair, some don't. Some are Sunni; others are Shiite, and at least one is happy to be secular.

The six women hope that by founding Amal Law Group, they are helping to dispel common stereotypes held about Muslim women.

"People think that somehow we're weak and not able to express opinions," said Janaan Hashim, the firm's 41-year-old founder, who has mixed Iraqi and Scottish-Irish heritage.

"Orthat we're hidden behind the veil ," said Heena Musabji, 29, of Indian heritage, who tucks her headscarf inside a cute chiffon blouse and prefers a well-heeled shoe.

Maryam Khan, 28, of Hickory Hills, said some people—even clients at times—are surprised that she is competent.

"People think that we are prohibited from getting an education and being engaged in society," said Khan, who says she always knew she wanted to be a lawyer.

The firm, which opened quietly last year but hosted a grand open house this spring, offers the Muslim community legal services on issues from civil rights and employment regulations to criminal, family, real estate and Immigration law.

See also: Islam, Women