News Center

CSLR student organizes panel on Islamaphobia
By Patti Ghezzi | Emory Law | Mar 7, 2017 12:03:00 AM

Amanda Parris (JD/MTS 2018) organized and moderated a panel at the recent Rebellious Lawyering Conference, also known as RebLaw, at Yale Law School. Panelists discussed the ways Muslims have struggled to safeguard their basic rights against government surveillance, oppressive legislation, and bias-based attacks.

RebLaw is an annual conference that brings together practitioners, law students, and activists to discuss progressive approaches to the law and social change.

Parris initially proposed a panel on surveillance of Muslim communities, religious discrimination, and the conflicts surrounding the building and expanding of mosques. But when Donald Trump was elected president, she zeroed in on the proposed Muslim ban, possible changes to the Countering Violent Extremism Program, and the uptick in hate crimes.

“For decades, Muslims have struggled against law enforcement harassment and bias-based attacks as Islamophobia has been institutionalized, effectively permitting and encouraging the criminalization and dehumanization of Muslims,” she said. “Thus, appreciating the manifestations of Islamophobia is critical for legal activists in understanding the legal battles facing this community.”

Panelists included Ramzi Kassem, professor of law at CUNY School of Law and director of the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic; Glenn Katon, a civil rights lawyer in Oakland, Calif., and Adadeh Shahshahani, legal and advocacy director at Project South, an organization that challenges racism and poverty at its roots.

Parris works as a legal intern at Project South. She is pursuing a career as a legal activist, either as an attorney, academic, or organizer. “I have focused on mostly law and religion issues, particularly issues that affect religious minorities,” she said. “But I have also worked in the areas of race and voting rights, indigent criminal defense, and immigrants’ rights.”