2017-18 MuBANY Director Candidates

24 May 2017 10:32 AM | Anonymous

Get to know the candidates running to serve as directors on the MuBANY Board for the 2017/2018 term. We have 6 candidates running for the 5 open positions. Take a moment to read the candidate statements below.

Please make sure your MuBANY membership is up to date. All members that are current in their dues will receive voting instructions.

Best of luck to all the candidates!

Ali Alsarraf

My name is Ali Alsarraf and I am an associate in the litigation department of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

MuBANY plays a leading role in supporting American Muslim civic engagement, giving a voice to American Muslims within the legal field, and forging connections both within the Muslim legal community and across other legal communities. This past year, I actively engaged with MuBANY’s board to support these goals. In December, I helped organize and hosted at my firm a post-election panel titled “The Election is Over: How did we get here? What’s next?” with MuBANY, AABANY, and SABANY. In March, I hosted at my firm a panel titled “Why Black Lives Matter to Muslims” organized by MuBANY, the NY Civil Liberties Union, and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. If elected to MuBANY’s board, I will continue these efforts to attempt to shed light on important topics concerning the American Muslim community.

I am also passionate about issues related to diversity and inclusion, particularly in the legal field. As a co-chair of my firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, I created a Muslim Affinity Group and a Religious Observance Affinity Group. I also created and spearhead a monthly book club where we read and discuss books and articles concerning diversity and inclusion, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists. 

In addition to being an excellent forum to learn about diversity and inclusion, the book club gives associates a much-needed outlet to discuss issues related to diversity in a safe space. If elected to MuBANY’s board, I would like to organize a similar program for MuBANY members. I would also like to devote efforts to increasing diversity and inclusion in MuBANY’s membership.

MuBANY has also played an important and leading role in the defense of the American Muslim community in the wake of the new administration. As an active participant in the fight against the “Muslim ban,” I can further MuBANY’s efforts in that space. I joined the hundreds of lawyers who flocked to airports to protect the civil liberties of American Muslims, and I led two Know Your Rights programs with the Somali community and a youth organization in Harlem. Notwithstanding the dark times ushered in by the new administration, I have been very proud and inspired to see the new relationships built across communities and our community’s renewed civic engagement.

I hope to further support our community’s renewed engagement and am very excited to continue my work with MuBANY.

Shabbir Chaudhury

Salaam, my name is Shabbir Chaudhury and I have previously served as a MuBANY director in 2015 and 2016. I hope you will give me your vote for Director; I look forward to serving the community again.   

During my previous terms as Director, I helped revamp MuBANY's logo and website, and increase MuBANY's use of digital and social media.  If elected as Director, I hope to continue efforts to increase MuBANY's digital presence.  Additionally, I hope to build on past efforts to increase MuBANY's member roll and partner with new and diverse bar associations to create relevant and exciting programming for the organization.    

With regard to my professional background, I am currently a Corporate Counsel at MetLife, focusing on litigation and regulatory business risks.  Prior to that, I worked at the NYC Law Department as an Assistant Corporation Counsel where I defended the City against tort claims. 

MuBANY has developed itself into a respectable institution within the communities it engages. Over the past few years, the organization has become known as a voice for Muslim people in New York.  I would like to continue building upon that tradition and help MuBANY and its members progress further. It is with that intent and purpose that I would like to serve as a Director for MuBANY.

Amin Kassam

My name is Amin Kassam and I am Senior Counsel at Bloomberg L.P. , where I focus on litigating and advising on issues relating to new media, technology, privacy, and intellectual property.  I am also a member of Bloomberg’s Diversity Council and the Diversity Champion for Our Legal Department.

As an attorney for the past sixteen years, I often spent much of my time practicing as one of the first or only Muslim lawyers at the law firms and federal clerkships where I started my career.  Living through 9-11 without the support of a community of Muslim lawyers was lonely and challenging.  Over time, I have watched MUBANY grow and flourish and provide our community tremendous opportunities to come and work together.  It has inspired me to put forward my candidacy for a position on the MUBANY Board of Directors.

Throughout my career, I have worked to help and support the rights of Muslims and other minority groups.  For seven years, I served on the National Board of the Aga Khan Conciliation and Arbitration Board helping to provide free mediation services to Ismaili Muslims throughout the country.   More recently, I was elected to the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) which has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of Muslim Americans and other marginalized communities. 

At a time when the rights of Muslims in the United States are under tremendous threat, I believe that it is critical that we build coalitions and draw upon allies in order to support all of our efforts to protect the civil rights of Americans.  We can only move forward by working together.  This is what inspired me to organize and lead a difficult but important joint discussion sponsored by MUBANY, NYCLU, and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association entitled “Why Black Lives Matter to Muslims.”  If elected, I hope to continue to create programs and initiatives that build bridges across communities while further enhancing diversity and inclusion within MUBANY. 

Sania Khan

My name is Sania Khan, and I am running for a Director position with MuBANY for the 2017-2018 term. I am an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s (“AG”) Office, and serve as the Muslim Communities Liaison for the Office. My work in these roles has focused primarily on the travel ban (“Muslim ban”) litigation and generally working on the Office's Religious Rights Initiative. Additionally, in 2015, I created a CLE entitled “The Muslim-American Community: An Introduction to the Basics of Islamic Practices and Relevant Emerging Legal Trends,” which was attended and webcast state-wide to hundreds of attorneys from the AG’s Office, as well as employees from 23 New York State agencies. The CLE was also held at the New York City Bar Association, and was co-sponsored by MuBANY.

I have been a member of MuBANY since 2011, and have had the privilege of seeing MuBANY become a pillar of the legal community in New York. If given the opportunity to serve as a Director, I would further these efforts by focusing on activating untapped networks, some of which may even exist within the membership of MuBANY, to create diverse alliances and events. I would also focus on developing MuBANY’s role as an educational resource for both Muslim and non-Muslim attorneys and entities throughout New York. And to the extent possible, I would aid MuBANY’s engagement with the public sector.

I intend to be resourceful and dedicated in executing this vision.  Thank you for your consideration.

Nausheen Rokerya

I'm Nausheen Rokerya, Associate General Counsel, Labor & Employment at Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and I invite you to re-elect me to the MuBANY Board as a Director. Having served on the Board this year and cultivated my relationships both inside and outside of the organization, I believe I can expand my contributions this coming year in the following ways:

This year, I served on the host committee for MuBANY's second annual Gala & Awards Reception and assisted with various aspects of coordinating a highly successful event. I believe the Gala presents a significant opportunity for MuBANY to garner greater visibility in the region. If re-elected, I will bring my working knowledge of what has worked well in the past, and reflect on constructive feedback received. I will work to ensure that the Gala continues to provide a return on investment for MuBANY's members.

Through my work on this year's Eid Social and Gala, I have established relationships with other minority bar associations in the region that I intend to utilize to help our members grow their networks. MuBANY members stand to directly benefit from such expanded opportunities via invitations to events hosted by other organizations, and the ability to have a voice at discussions on topics affecting our communities. I believe that active engagement with other bar organizations and communities is critical, especially in these unprecedented political times. I will advocate for our continued collaboration with the broader legal community.

In addition to continuing to provide support on key events in the year to come and facilitating MuBANY's relationships with other bar associations/communities, I also look forward to launching the below two initiatives:

  1. I will help revitalize MuBANY's existing formal mentorship program, as well as help foster organic relationships by connecting members with others both inside and outside of the organization. This year, I took an important step toward being able to implement this program by taking an inventory of and reviewing our current membership details to better understand our makeup as an organization.
  2. As a graduate of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, I am well connected to attorneys (on both sides of the table) and HR executives across industries, in both the public and private sectors. This year, I gauged our membership's interest in coordinating a practice group for labor and employment practitioners and coordinated and informal meet 'n' greet dinner. This year, I would like to develop this initial gathering into a more structured group, arrange regular sessions for dialogue, and eventually, panel discussions. I look forward to creating a practice group model that others can implement with respect to other practice/interest areas.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve MuBANY once again as a Director, and would greatly appreciate your vote.  Thank you.

Nafees Syed

Salaams all,

My name is Nafees Syed and I’d be honored to serve on the MuBANY board as a Director. Here are a few ideas I'd love to work on --

  • Government/Judiciary: One of the best things I think MuBANY has done is have  leaders like Preet Bharara, Judge Chin, and Eric Schneiderman speak with us and I hope we can expand on this. It helps make the Muslim perspective a serious consideration and allows us to be a stronger part of the New York community.
  • Social events: I re-started and helped expand my Muslim Law Student Association by making it more inclusive/diverse and having more social events, which I hope we can do at MuBANY.
  • Law firms and public interest: There are two areas I think we can work on here. One is getting involved in law firm diversity initiatives. A second is linking law firms with public interest/pro bono opportunities affecting Muslims here in New York, like immigration, The Innocence Project, or national security related matters. More broadly we can try to offer opportunities for MuBANY members to use their skills to work with the greater NY community.
  • Law schools: We can work on a greater presence at the law schools in the greater NY area. Many law professors and students are interested in what it’s like to be Muslim and practice the law, and what kind of issues Muslims face in the legal system. This is especially true after the recent high-profile Supreme Court cases involving Muslims, and I think we should take advantage of it by raising awareness among future lawyers and professors who might not be in touch with the Muslim perspective. This could involve working with student groups/student deans on panels and roundtables, for example.

I’m currently an associate at Boies, Schiller & Flexner and previously worked on Capitol Hill. I graduated from Yale Law and Harvard University.

Thanks for your consideration, and I hope I can count on your vote!


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