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Harvard Law Review Appoints First Muslim President

The Harvard Law Review has named an Egyptian-American as the first Muslim president in its 134-year history, breaking barriers in one of the most coveted roles for a law student.

Harvard Law School student Hassaan Shahawy said he hoped his election would represent “legal academia’s growing recognition of the importance of diversity, and perhaps its growing respect for other legal traditions,” Reuters reported.

“Coming from a community routinely demonized in American public discourse, I hope this represents some progress, even if small and symbolic,” Shahawy, 26, told Reuters in an email.

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Shahawy graduated from Harvard as an undergraduate in 2016 with a degree in History and Near Eastern Studies. Then, he attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to pursue a doctorate in Oriental Studies and studied Islamic law.

He has been active working with refugee populations and on criminal justice reform.

The Harvard Law Review is a law review published by an independent student group at Harvard Law School.

According to the Journal Citation Reports, the Harvard Law Review’s 2015 impact factor of 4.979 placed the journal first out of 143 journals in the category “Law”.

Prominent alumni of the Harvard Law Review include former US President Barack Obama, named the journal’s first Black president in 1990.

Three serving members of the US Supreme Court were editors of the Harvard Law Review, as were the late Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.

In 2017, Harveard University appointed Khalil Abdur-Rashid, an adjunct professor of Islamic studies at Southern Methodist University, as first Muslim chaplain to cater to the needs of its Muslim students.