At only 20, this Basra woman picked up a gun and joined her fellow Iraqi males in the uprising against Saddam Hussein in 1991. The effort was stomped, but it instilled an indisputable fighting spirit in this tireless activist who characterizes herself as Iraqi born but American by choice. Decades later, Al-Suwaij is a passionate moderate who has dedicated what appears to be every waking moment to advocating for Muslims and particularly Muslim women to foster Western understanding of the Muslim faith and life. She's taught at Yale, penned essays for the New York Times, co-founded the American Islamic Congress after 9/11, testified before the Senate and founded the Iraqi Women's Higher Counsel, which won 25% of parliamentary seats in the Iraqi government for women. If that's not enough all-around badassery, hear this direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad speak tonight on Muslim civil rights in person.
Wed., Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m., 2010