MLSA co-chairs Sidra Mahfooz '18, Razia Hamid '18, and Nealofar Panjshiri '18
Hissan Bajwa ’05, general counsel at Breather, recalls that when he began law school in the fall of 2002, he felt a lack of community among the few #Muslim students at NYU #Law. “It was just a year after 9/11, and there was a lot going on in terms of Muslim-#American issues,” Bajwa says. “And I felt that we didn’t have a foundation for a community at the Law School. So, I thought I should change that.” Bajwa began a petition to start what was then called the #Islamic Law Students Association—and by the spring of 2003, it became an official student organization.
Fourteen years after its founding, the group Bajwa started—now called the Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA)—continues to serve as an important resource for Muslim students at the Law School. “MLSA really helps make law school feel like home,” says Nealofar Panjshiri ’18, one of MLSA’s co-chairs, along with Sidra Mafhooz ’18 and Razia Hamid ’18. Panjshiri adds that, especially if a student has the experience of being the only person in a class who comes from a Muslim background, “having that community is really important for your own well-being.” Mafhooz agreed: “When I first came to campus, one of the first things I looked for was MLSA. I reached out, and I realized there was a strong community. [MLSA] has really enhanced my law school experience, especially since we have this really robust Islamic Center that’s right next door.”
The Islamic Center at NYU (ICNYU) is a focal point for Muslim life that serves the wider NYU population. MLSA participates in ICNYU’s regularly held halaqas, gatherings for the discussion of topics related to #Islam. “One role we play is to connect all the law students to these broader services that ICNYU runs,” says Panjshiri. Both Mahfooz and Panjshiri emphasize the importance of ICNYU, explaining that many similar student organizations at other law schools do not have the support of an equivalent Islamic center.
Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of ICNYU and a university chaplain, notes that the law students who are connected to ICNYU through MLSA CONTINUE READING 👇👇👇