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On Wednesday, June 19th, human rights lawyer Hauwa Ibrahim spoke to an AEJ luncheon meeting at the St. Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club. In her passionate introduction, she told the meeting of her career which led her from a muslim village in northern Nigeria to Harvard.

Hauwa specialises in defending women and children in front of Sharia courts. She explained her personal strategies which enable her to argue against the draconian punishments meted out in criminal cases.

During the subsequent, animated Q&A session, she was asked repeatedly about her decision to change the system from within. Hauwa Ibrahim explained that Sharia law always had to be set into a context and that it was most suitable in civil cases. The audience was captured by her ability to provide a glimpse of a radically different world, a different way of thinking, by speaking in a language familiar to all of us. There was general agreement that all present had learned a lot and were deeply impressed with a charismatic human being. Thanks were expressed to AEJ member Francis Jacobs who established the contact with Ms. Ibrahim. The European Parliament awarded its Sakharow award for Human Rights to her in 2005.