His name is Junaid Ahmad. He is 24 years old. And he is among a rapidly increasing number of first generation Muslim-Americans who have decided to pursue careers in the law.

Ahmad, who was born in Chicago, Illinois after his parents emigrated to the United States from Pakistan in 1973, is a second-year student at William and Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia. He told IPS he chose the law over more traditional first-generation U.S. citizens’ choices — medicine, science and engineering — because he cares deeply about human rights and civil liberties.

When he graduates from law school in 2008, he hopes to join the legal staff of an international human rights organisation, and also do some teaching.

Ahmad says he is “worried about the politics of fear” that the administration of Pres. George W. Bush has encouraged since the terrorists attacks of Sep. 11, 2001. He adds that, “Many Muslims in America are being routinely harassed and stereotyped and might feel more comfortable with lawyers who understood their language, culture and customs.”


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