Muslim attorney speaks at Interfaith Council

  • Amatul-Wadud

Recorder Staff
Friday, September 22, 2017

GREENFIELD — Several hot topics and the state of affairs in general for Muslims in America brought civil rights attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud to the Interfaith Council of Franklin County on Thursday at the Second Congregational Church.

Amatul-Wadud, a Springfield attorney who runs a law practice with a focus on civil rights and domestic relations law, was a White House invitee in December 2015 for a program on celebrating and protecting America’s tradition of religious pluralism. She also has been a public speaker on aspects of family law, women’s issues, civic engagement, interfaith solidarity, children’s issues, race and religion.

On Thursday, her focus was several issues for Muslim Americans that are in the news, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), President Donald Trump’s Muslim immigration ban, militarization of local police departments and a pre-existing Muslim registration from 9/11.

Of DACA, Amatul-Wadud said that many of the recipients of the policy’s protections are Hispanic, but there are populations from Middle Eastern and North African countries, too.

“They exist and they’re underserved,” she said.

Amatul-Wadud also discussed the criteria for receiving DACA status, saying that there’s common misconceptions that those with DACA status can use welfare programs, which they cannot. She added that they have to stay in the country, reapply for status every two years, have to pay Social Security and can have no criminal history.

“They’re really the cream of the crop,” she said. “If they weren’t, they wouldn’t get into the program.”

Amatul-Wadud told the group of about 20 about the stories that aren’t always covered by mainstream media outlets, and spoke about how terrorism is characterized in America. She also discussed the Countering Violent Extremism program, where community groups would receive money to report possible radical extremists.

She also touched on a recent United Nations report with interviews from ISIS members and said the report indicated that many who join ISIS aren’t able to discuss the Muslim faith in depth.

She talks about these issues with community groups to help inform the public on lesser reported issues and keep the public informed.

“These are things we all need to talk about, and we all need to know,” she said.