Tahirih Justice Center receives recognition

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A little Look at Reality: Women in the Middle East
Omid T (Iran/USA)
August 16th, 2007

I thought this might make some people think…
Sima, not her real name, came home from work one day in Kabul, Afghanistan, to discover an engagement ceremony for her had been arranged by her father with his political ally—a 60-year-old man with two wives and 11 children who was also a prominent figure in a powerful, radical Islamic group in Afghanistan. After severe beatings and death threats from her father, Sima was forced into the engagement ceremony, but she knew that she could not go through or endure the marriage. Risking her own life, Sima escaped to the United States. After Sima fled, her father, as well as the man she would be forced to marry, threatened to kill her if she returned to Afghanistan, because of the shame she had brought to their families by refusing this marriage. Once in the United States, Sima sought the help of the Tahirih Justice Center. The Center place Sima in its pro bono program. Through the hard work of Kathy Ladun of Arnold & Porter LLP, Sima won her freedom and safety, and asylum in the U.S.

Ana, not her real name, from Uzbekistan, was 17 years old when she started corresponding with Roger, a U.S. citizen over 20 years her senior, through an Internet dating service. Ana arrived in the U.S. on a fiancée visa full of hopes and dreams about her future with Roger. It was not until after her marriage to Roger that she realized how abusive he was. Roger would regularly abuse Ana through physical violence, sexual violence and mentally controlling behavior. Ana contacted the Tahirih Justice Center and, through the help of the Center, was granted a work permit and eligibility to apply for permanent residency in the United States under the “Violence Against Women Act.”

The Tahirih Justice Center, known for its human rights work, has received recognition of another kind: The 10-year-old organization recently was given the 2007 Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.
The award reflects the “diligent efforts of Tahirih’s management and staff in applying Baha’i principles of decision-making and management best practices,” says Layli Miller-Muro, the center’s founder and executive director, and a lifelong Baha’i.

Based in Falls Church, Va., the Tahirih Justice Center provides pro bono legal services, and social and medical service referrals to immigrant women and girls who are fleeing from gender-based violence and persecution.
Layli Miller-MuroTahirih was founded on the Baha’i belief that for society to progress, there must be equality between men and women. Tahirih promotes legal and social justice for women and girls as a critical step in making that equality a reality.

In bestowing the $10,000 cash grant, the Washington Post awards committee commended Tahirih for its extensive use of pro bono attorneys, thoughtful and strategic short- and long-term planning across the organization, organizational sensitivity to staff workload and burnout potential, and mindful engagement in the struggle to encourage cultural sensitivity...

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