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A Muslim 'Reformer's' Idea of Free Speech
by Andrew E. Harrod
KARAMAH is a self-proclaimed group of "Muslim women lawyers for human rights" that "contributes to the understanding and promotion of human rights worldwide, particularly the rights of Muslim women under Islamic and civil law." On March 19, 2013, KARAMAH hosted at Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the local chapter of the Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA), the presentation "The Limits of Free Speech in a Global Era: Does America's Free Speech Model Endanger Muslim Americans?" Strangely enough for a self-professed "human rights" organization, this presentation outlined precisely a legal understanding restricting freedom, namely with respect to speech. In all, the evening lecture called into question the commitment of Muslims to human rights and only highlighted the opposition worldwide to the unhindered debate and discussion protected in America.
The evening's speaker was Qasim Rashid, described by KARAMAH as an "award winning member of the Muslim Writers Guild of America [MWGA] and emerging legal scholar." Rashid spoke on the basis of his paper "In Harm's Way: The Desperate Need to Update America's Current Free Speech Model." In introducing Rashid, KARAMAH's assistant director of programs, Eugene Hummel, stated that this paper had received "very good reviews" from legal scholars.
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