Next Generation of Muslim-Americans Increasingly Pursue Careers in Law

August 31, 2006

Source: Inter Press Service News Agency

On August 31, 2006 Inter Press Service reported, "His name is Junaid Ahmad. He is 24 years old. And he is among a rapidly increasing number of first generation Muslim-Americans who have decided to pursue careers in the law. Ahmad, who was born in Chicago, Illinois after his parents emigrated to the United States from Pakistan in 1973, is a second-year student at William and Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia. He told IPS he chose the law over more traditional first-generation U.S. citizens' choices -- medicine, science and engineering -- because he cares deeply about human rights and civil liberties. When he graduates from law school in 2008, he hopes to join the legal staff of an international human rights organisation, and also do some teaching. Ahmad says he is 'worried about the politics of fear' that the administration of Pres. George W. Bush has encouraged since the terrorists attacks of Sep. 11, 2001. He adds that, 'Many Muslims in America are being routinely harassed and stereotyped and might feel more comfortable with lawyers who understood their language, culture and customs.' He says his personal experience is that, despite denials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice, these agencies 'are practicing ethnic profiling on a routine basis.' He recalls returning to the U.S. from Pakistan several weeks ago, just after the alleged airliner-bombing plot was announced in London... the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, was launched in California in 1996 with 24 members, and now has 500. It actively partners with the NMLSA. And half the 100 members of the Bay Area (California) Association of Muslim Lawyers are law students, a further sign of the substantial increase."