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Harvard Law Review elects its first Muslim president

26th Feb 2021

Nadine Osman

Harvard Law Review, the world’s most prestigious law journal, has elected a Muslim president, a first in its 134-year history. 26-year-old Egyptian-American Hassaan Shahawy was elected president on February 5.

Shahawy, who also served as the Vice President of the Harvard Islamic Society and as an Executive Committee Member of the Harvard International Review, said he hoped his election represented “legal academia’s growing recognition of the importance of diversity, and perhaps its growing respect for other legal traditions.”

Among the legal and political luminaries who have worked at the Harvard Law Review was former US President, Barack Obama, named the journal’s first Black president in 1990. Three serving members of the US Supreme Court were editors of the Harvard Law Review, as were the late Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.

Founded in 1887 by future Supreme Court Justice Louis D Brandeis, the Harvard Law Review is an entirely student-edited journal with the largest circulation of any law journal in the world. It is published monthly from November through June.

Shahawy also said that he hopes his presidency will mitigate harmful stereotypes about Muslims in American society. “My wife told me about some funny Tweets warning that my election marks the coming of the ‘Harvard Sharia Review,’” he wrote. “I hoped that there is some good coming just from the event, even if small and symbolic, by pushing back against such discourse and destigmatizing the role of Muslims in American public discourse.”

Law reviews are staffed by the top students at US law schools, often recruited for judicial clerkships and other prestigious jobs in the profession.

The review’s first female President, Susan Estrich, was elected in 1977. The first Black woman was elected president in 2017.

Shahawy graduated from Harvard as an undergraduate in 2016 with a degree in History and Near Eastern Studies. He then attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to pursue a doctorate in Oriental Studies and studied Islamic law.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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