“Law and Order” might be her go-to television show, but CAIR NY’s Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif asserts Jack and Abbie had nothing to do with her choice to lunge at a law degree. The tough time she endured wading through law school prepared her that much more to be dedicated and commited to organizing and mobilizing American Muslims. Plus, her work for CAIR (Council of American-Islamic Relations) has enhanced her exposure to the spectrum of discrimination cases facing the community.
The utmost professional and modest to a tee, the only time Latif slips is when she says the word “water” in her native New Jersey accent. In this Profile interview with elan, Latif takes her noteworthy duties and accomplishments all in stride.
Q: How has your experience working for CAIR been thus far?
A: The experience has made me into a tanner, more clothed version of Julia Roberts from Erin Brockovich! By that comparison, my role as CAIR-NY’s civil rights director has given me an opportunity to experience the realities on the ground through meaningful interactions with my clients, community leaders and advocates, and as such has allowed me to better vocalize the concerns and aspirations of the New York Muslim community to offending agencies, elected officials and media.
The past two years have definitely been EMOTIONAL: I’ve met the human faces behind the statistics. It’s hard not to become desensitized and compare the egregiousness of one case to another. To mention a few: I remember talking to the father of a Yemeni student who was locked in a closet by classmates, telling him to go back to his country while his teacher was well aware of the whole ordeal. (More)