Zainab Al-Suwaij grew up under the harsh rule of Saddam Hussein, took up arms against the Iraqi ruler, and today is working to bring democracy – and especially women’s rights – to a country that is struggling both with Hussein’s legacy and an age-old authoritarian tradition- The Harvard Gazette.
This week Zainab attended the Democracy and Security Conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Before becoming a peace-wager, Al-Suwaij was a warrior and took up arms against the Hussein Regime before escaping to the West in 1991. The lovely Al-Suwaj has dedicated her life to human rights work and democratic initiatives in the Middle East. Zainab also spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2004. This is from her bio-page at the Democracy and Security Conference:
Zainab Al-Suwaij is the co-founder and Executive Director of the American Islamic Congress. Al-Suwaij was born in Basra, Iraq, the granddaughter of Basra’s leading cleric; she is a Hashemite, a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. Since the toppling of Saddam Hussein, she has been working in Iraq to strengthen womens’ rights and help rebuild the Iraqi education system. Her latest initiative is HAMSA, an international civil rights initiative that unites Americans to support individual freedoms in the Middle East.
Here Zainab talks briefly about her current human rights work in the Middle East:
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The American Islamic Congress (AIC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to building interfaith and interethnic understanding. Our organization grew out of the ashes of September 11. We believe American Muslims must take the lead in building tolerance and fostering a respect for human rights and social justice at home and throughout the Muslim world. Within the Muslim community, we are building a coalition around the agenda of unequivocal denunciation of terrorism, extremism, and hate speech. Reaching out to all people of conscience, we promote genuine interfaith dialogue and educate about the diversity within Islam.
Previously from Prague:
Prague Blogging- 2007 Democracy & Security Conference
Blogging From the Communist Parliament Building
A Night Out With Jose Maria Aznar, Vaclav Haval & Natan Sharansky
Senator Joe Lieberman Gets Personal in Prague
Democracy & Security: Has Democracy Reached an Impasse?
Democracy & Security: Does Democratization Mean Security?
Bush Rocks the Czernin Palace At Prague Democracy Conference
Garri Kasparov Joins Democracy Leaders at Press Gathering
Democracy & Security: Day 2- Dissident Row
Richard Perle Talks On Bush Freedom Agenda (Video)
Former Official Discloses Islamist Infiltration of Bolivia (Video)