The Importance of Civil Society in a Democracy – Zainab Al-Suwaij

The Hollings Center recently hosted Zainab Al-Suwaij at a public event at its office in Istanbul. Zainab Al-Suwaij is a co-founder of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) and has been its executive director since AIC’s inception in 2001. In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Zainab left her teaching position at Yale to launch AIC with the mission of building interfaith and inter-ethnic understanding. Under her leadership AIC has expanded into an international organization with six bureaus worldwide, including the United States, Egypt, Iraq, and Tunisia. Zainab is an outspoken advocate for women’s equality, civil rights, and interfaith understanding.

In this brief interview, she provides her thoughts on a series of questions:

  • How do you help Muslim American youth overcome their differences and rise to be the next generation of leaders in their communities?
  • Do you observe differences between the attitudes of Middle Eastern and American youth when dealing with today’s challenges?
  • Despite the hard issues you deal with, are you hopeful for the future?

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A non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fostering dialogue between the United States and countries with predominantly Muslim populations in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Eurasia and Europe


US Phone: +1 202-833-5090

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