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Intisar Rabb

  • A glass flower on exhibit at Harvard University.

    Harvard beyond the Yard

    September 23, 2021

    Harvard Law faculty and staff reveal beloved spots for work and play at America’s oldest institution of higher learning.

  • Intisar Rabb and Ronald Sullivan

    HLS professors win case for former Buffalo police officer fired for intervening in a chokehold

    April 20, 2021

    In a precedent-setting case, Harvard Law School professors secure reinstatement for a Buffalo police officer fired for intervening in a chokehold.

  • Litigators of the Week: This Kirkland/Harvard Law Team Vindicated a Fired Cop Who Intervened When a Colleague Used Excessive Force

    April 19, 2021

    In May 2008, the Buffalo Police Department fired Cariol Horne just months shy of her pension for 20 years of service vesting after she intervened when a fellow officer applied a chokehold to an unarmed Black man. This week a litigation team led by lawyers from Kirkland + Ellis and Harvard Law School won a ruling from a state court judge in New York awarding Horne back pay and benefits that she had previously been denied in another legal challenge to her firing more than a decade ago...Ronald Sullivan: “At stake was not only Cariol’s pension and her ability to support herself, but also the message being sent to other officers. She fulfilled her duty to protect and serve, but her first trip to court in 2010, where the court confirmed her termination, created a chilling effect on an officer’s duty to intervene. Despite what the official policy was, a court decision that terminated a fellow officer and denied her a pension did not encourage officers to follow Cariol’s lead—even though her behavior is what the nation was calling for and requiring.” ... Intisar Rabb: “Cariol presented a model for what we the people expect police officers to do when another officer is using excessive force against an unarmed civilian: She intervened to save a life and was punished for it. We thought it imperative that she get not only her pension, but that our laws are correct that led to the injustice of her losing it.”

  • Intisar Rabb

    At Harvard, a growing focus on Islamic law

    April 14, 2021

    Professor Intisar Rabb, who recently organized leading scholars on Islamic law for a roundtable on Islamic legal history and historiography, says that the time is right for a fresh look at the growing area of Islamic Law scholarship.

  • Collage of people working from home

    Going remote

    March 3, 2021

    Ten Harvard Law School faculty share a behind-the-scenes look at their Zoom studios and the innovative approaches they employed to connect with students.

  • Fired Buffalo officer takes new legal steps over 2008 police action

    October 2, 2020

    Cariol Holloman-Horne's legal team made the first step Wednesday toward a new lawsuit over her firing 12 years ago from the Buffalo Police Department. Her attorneys filed in State Supreme Court in Buffalo paperwork seeking an index number assigned to her old case. It is a procedural motion, but it signals the start of a new legal fight to have her firing overturned and to get a full police pension. Horne was fired in 2008 following an arbitration hearing. She was accused of attacking a fellow officer as he was trying to arrest a man during a domestic dispute on Nov. 1, 2006. Horne said then and has maintained over the years that she was trying to stop the officer from choking the man. At the time, she had 19 years on the job, which meant she was one year shy of the 20 years required to receive a full police pension upon retirement. That meant she would have to wait until she was 55 to retire and receive a partial pension from the state. This is not Horne's first attempt to have her case overturned. Several months after she was fired, she sued to be reinstated,  but then-State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Makowski ruled against her on several procedural matters. Horne's case took on renewed interest after the officer she had fought, Greg Kwiatkowski, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in an unrelated federal police brutality case. Kwiatkowski, who testified against two other officers who were acquitted in that case, waws sentenced to four months in prison. The uproar earlier this year over the video-recorded death of George Floyd, who suffocated under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer while three others officers stood nearby, also drew new attention to Horne's firing. Horne is represented by a legal team led by Ronald Sullivan and Intisar Rabb of Harvard Law School. Sullivan and his team represented the family of Michael Brown, a Black teenager whose shooting death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., sparked protests there in 2014. The attorneys were not available for comment Wednesday.

  • Fired officer’s long quest for vindication: ‘Cariol did what those officers didn’t do’

    September 8, 2020

    For 14 years, Cariol Holloman-Horne has held firm that she did the right thing when she tried to stop a fellow Buffalo cop who she says was choking a man he was trying to arrest. Horne lost her job and also her full police pension. She's worked odd jobs, mostly recently as a truck driver. At times, she has lived out of her car. She tried numerous times and through numerous avenues to try to get her pension and also pass laws to require police to intervene when another one is going too far...The cellphone video of George Floyd dying under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer set off a firestorm of outrage, not just at Derek Chauvin but also the three other police officers who are seen standing by and doing nothing to stop Chauvin. Suddenly, Horne’s story has new resonance...Horne recently gained powerful new allies: She is represented by a legal team that includes Ronald Sullivan and Intisar Rabb of Harvard Law School. Sullivan and his team represented the family of Michael Brown, a Black teenager whose shooting death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., sparked unrest there in 2014. “Honored to now represent @CariolHorne – former Buffalo police officer terminated after she intervened when a fellow officer employed a chokehold against an unarmed black man,” he tweeted July 10. The Common Council appears poised to enact at least part of Horne's proposal by making the duty to intervene a law and not just a police department policy, as it is now.

  • protest

    HLS professors and other associates condemn President Trump’s statements about recent protests

    June 7, 2020

    In an open letter to the community, Harvard Law School professors and other associates condemn President Trump’s statements about recent protests

  • Multicolored hands layered over each other

    How can law students help in the midst of COVID-19?

    April 29, 2020

    Lee Mestre helped to coordinate Harvard Law School student aid efforts after natural disasters in New Orleans and Puerto Rico. Now she's using that experience to help law students support people in Massachusetts affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

  • On the Bookshelf: HLS Library Book Talks, Spring 2018 2

    On the Bookshelf: HLS Authors

    December 11, 2019

    This fall, the Harvard Law School Library hosted a series of book talks by Harvard Law School authors on topics ranging from forgiveness in law, transparency in health and fidelity in constitutional practice.

  • Illustration with books

    Law’s Influencers

    February 26, 2019

    HLS faculty blogs on law-related topics are reaching thousands—sometimes millions—and have become required reading for experts.

  • 25 Harvard Law Profs Sign NYT Op-Ed Demanding Senate Reject Kavanaugh

    October 4, 2018

    Roughly two dozen Harvard Law School professors have signed a New York Times editorial arguing that the United States Senate should not confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Harvard affiliates — including former Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and Laurence Tribe — joined more than 1,000 law professors across the country in signing the editorial, published online Wednesday. The professors wrote that Kavanaugh displayed a lack of “impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land” in the heated testimony he gave during a nationally televised hearing held Sept. 27 in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee....As of late Wednesday, the letter had been signed by the following: Sabi Ardalan, Christopher T. Bavitz, Elizabeth Bartholet, Christine Desan, Susan H. Farbstein, Nancy Gertner, Robert Greenwald, Michael Gregory, Janet Halley, Jon Hanson, Adriaan Lanni, Bruce H. Mann, Frank Michelman, Martha Minow, Robert H. Mnookin, Intisar Rabb, Daphna Renan, David L. Shapiro, Joseph William Singer, Carol S. Steiker, Matthew C. Stephenson, Laurence Tribe, Lucie White, Alex Whiting, Jonathan Zittrain

  • Mass. Black Lawyers Association celebrates 45 years at annual gala

    April 17, 2018

    More than 500 people attended the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association’s 45th Anniversary Gala at the Boston Park Plaza. Desiree Ralls-Morrison, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Boston Scientific, was the keynote speaker. Awards were presented to Melvin Miller, Intisar Rabb, Keith N. Hylton, Maria O’Brien Hylton, Ralls-Morrison, Jonathan L. Allen, Jalessa L. Almonacy, Courtney M. Person and Stephanie N. Johnson.

  • On the Bookshelf: HLS Library Books 2017 12

    On the Bookshelf: HLS Authors

    December 14, 2017

    This fall, the Harvard Law School Library hosted a series of book talks by HLS authors, with topics ranging from Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts to a Citizen's Guide to Impeachment. As part of this ongoing series, faculty authors from various disciplines shared their research and discussed their recently published books.

  • ‘Anti-Sharia’ rallies brought out pro-Trump thugs — internet radicalized and spoiling for violence

    June 12, 2017

    Alt-right events are harvests of hate. They draw militants seeded by Donald Trump, fertilized in the muck of the internet, and nurtured by the more than 900 hate groups around the United States. Take the “March against Sharia” on June 10. It was organized by ACT for America, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim extremist group. It planned more than 20 events around the country, and according to media accounts most rallies drew a few dozen at most...Speakers and attendees obsessed over women’s sexuality, conflating Sharia with honor killings, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and pedophilia. In actuality, the use of Sharia ranges widely in Muslim-majority countries and usually applies only to family and inheritance law, according to Intisar Rabb, a legal scholar. She says under the U.S. system of jurisprudence, “there is no threat that Sharia, or any other religious law, will supersede the laws of the state.”

  • Fear of Sharia: Harvard project aims to shed light on Islamic law

    May 5, 2017

    As the United States continues to grapple with growing Islamophobia, Harvard Law School has launched a “flagship research venture” to organise the world’s information on Islamic law: SHARIAsource. The project aims to provide a repository for scholars, journalists and policy makers, by making knowledge freely available, Sharon Tai, SHARIAsource’s research editor, told Middle East Eye...“Islamic law is so often seen as an esoteric and impenetrable base of law. There’s this kind of perception of a lack of logic, because it’s based in theology,” Tai continued, “but actually there is a very clear logic behind it. The way it’s laid out historically, it worked well for the societies in which it was applied.” The project was conceived nearly a decade ago, by Dr Intisar Rabb, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a director of its Islamic Legal Studies Programme.

  • Khizr Khan, reluctant activist

    February 17, 2017

    Khizr Khan LL.M. '86, the Gold Star father who gained fame for his speech at the Democratic National Convention, joined HLS Professor Intisar A. Rabb, director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School, to discuss civil liberties and political action.

  • Khizr Khan decries lack of ‘moral compass’ at Harvard forum

    February 16, 2017

    Gold Star father and constitutional rights advocate Khizr Khan spoke at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Politics on Wednesday evening about immigration, civil rights, Islamophobia and the future of the United States....Intisar Rabb, a professor of law at Harvard Law School and the director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program, spoke at the forum as well and asked Khan several questions. “It’s powerful to focus on and encourage us to not only read the Constitution, but to live its values,” Rabb said. “What is your favorite clause or the one part of the Constitution that you might point someone to? Particularly if they’re more interested in 140 characters or less?” she asked, alluding to President Trump, provoking laughter from the crowd.

  • How a series of fringe anti-Muslim conspiracy theories went mainstream — via Donald Trump

    November 7, 2016

    As far as the Rev. Terry Jones knows, they were his ideas first. “We are asking for the immediate halting of all Muslim immigration and the removal of all illegal aliens from the United States,” the controversial Florida pastor told a Detroit radio station back in 2011. “We are asking for the monitoring of all the mosques in America.” ... Sharia is not a codified document like the U.S. Constitution, say religious and legal scholars, but rather a broad and variably interpreted set of ideas and principles for how to live life as a Muslim. It offers an array of guidance, including on prayer practices, marriage, diet and finances. It also draws on tens of thousands of texts and scholarly interpretations, meaning that there is no universally approved body of Islamic law, said Intisar A. Rabb, an Islamic legal scholar at Harvard University.

  • CBA 2016: Turning Vision into Action

    September 30, 2016

    Over 800 alumni returned to Harvard Law School for the fourth Celebration of Black Alumni (CBA), Turning Vision into Action. The event brought together generations of black alumni to reconnect with old friends, network with new ones and take part in compelling discussions about the challenges and opportunities in local, national and global communities.

  • Paul Beran joins SHARIAsource as executive director

    July 27, 2016

    Dr. Paul Beran will join the Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program as executive director of SHARIAsource—the online platform designed to provide content and context on Islamic law.

  • Sharia Is Nothing to Fear

    July 18, 2016

    “Western civilization is in a war,” former Republican presidential candidate (and now former Trump-VP hopeful) Newt Gingrich said during a live FOX News interview with Sean Hannity, hours after a man drove a truck into a crowd in Nice, France, and killed 84, while injuring 202...This is not the first time that Newt Gingrich has proven that he knows nothing about Islam and our United States Constitution. ..“In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world,” Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman once proclaimed in a New York Times Magazine article on the anti-sharia hysteria sweeping across the Republican party today...any mainstream Islamic religious scholar will tell you that there is no sin­gle monolithic definition of Sharia as it exists today any­where in the world. Very generally speaking, the concept of Sharia has come to be defined as “the ideal law of God according to Islamic tradition,” according to Professor Intisar Rabb, director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. But as Professor Rabb has also made clear: “Sharia has tremendous diversity..."

  • Aya Saed named a 2016 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow

    April 13, 2016

    Harvard Law student Aya Saed ’17 was among 30 recipients selected to receive the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, the premier graduate school fellowship for immigrants and children of immigrants.

  • MacArthur Foundation awards $425,000 to SHARIAsource project led by Intisar Rabb

    October 22, 2015

    The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded $425,000 over two years for the development of SHARIAsource—an online Islamic law resource founded and directed by Harvard Law School Professor Intisar Rabb.

  • Luce Foundation Awards $400k to Harvard Law for the development of SHARIAsource

    June 30, 2015

    The Henry Luce Foundation recently awarded $400,000 over two years for the development of SHARIAsource, a project designed to be an online portal of resources and analysis on Islamic law and directed by Harvard Law School Professor Intisar A. Rabb.

  • Radcliffe Fellows for 2015-2016 Announced

    May 15, 2015

    The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has announced its fellows for 2015-2016. The more than 50 men and women include creative artists, humanists, scientists, and social scientists, each pursuing “an ambitious individual project within the Institute’s multidisciplinary community.”...Twelve of the new fellows are Harvard faculty members; their names and the titles of their projects appear below....Christine A. Desan, professor of law, whose teaching covers the international monetary system, the constitutional law of money, constitutional history, political economy, and legal theory. She is the co-founder of Harvard’s Program on the Study of Capitalism...Annette Gordon-Reed, professor of law and of history, Pforzheimer professor at the Radcliffe Institute, whose 2008 book The Hemingses of Monticello won a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for nonfiction...Intisar A. Rabb, professor of law and director of Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program, who studies criminal law, legislation and theories of statutory interpretation, and Islamic law.

  • Faculty Books In Brief — Spring 2015

    May 4, 2015

    As far back as Aristotle, people have been touting the benefits of group decision-making. Yet, as Professor Cass R. Sunstein ’78 and and Reid Hastie note in their new book, history suggests that groups are often unwise or downright foolish.

  • Debating Sharia Law, Digitally

    April 15, 2015

    A simple google search for the word “sharia” illustrates the magnitude of the gap Harvard Law School (HLS) professor Intisar A. Rabb wants to fill. Up top, there’s a 2,000-word overview from the Council on Foreign Relations, along with the usual Wikipedia link. But even on that first page of results, there’s also a far less neutral take from a Christian missionary website, and an alarmist article on sharia law in Dearborn, Michigan, that on further investigation turns out to come from the satirical news site National Report.

  • Tomiko Brown-Nagin

    The U.S. Supreme Court: Reviewing last year’s decisions (video)

    October 17, 2014

    In a discussion moderated by Professor John Manning, five Harvard Law School professors, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, John Coates, Richard Fallon, Charles Fried and Intisar Rabb, assessed last year’s Supreme Court decisions and shared their thoughts on those rulings.

  • Meet this year’s new HLS faculty

    September 9, 2014

    A host of new faculty members arrived at Harvard Law School this academic year, and over the summer, Dean Martha Minow announced two new faculty who will join HLS in 2015.

  • Harvard Law Thinks Big! A series of short talks on big ideas (video)

    June 19, 2014

    Five Harvard Law School professors presented a sampling of their innovative ideas in late May at the 2014 Harvard Law School Thinks Big lecture, an annual event that challenges faculty to explain those big ideas in short talks.

  • Stilt to join Harvard Law faculty

    April 10, 2014

    Kristen A. Stilt, a leading expert on Islamic Law and society, will join the faculty of Harvard Law School beginning September 2014, with an appointment as Professor of Law.

  • Intisar A. Rabb, expert on Islamic Legal Studies, to join HLS Faculty

    September 17, 2013

    Intisar A. Rabb, a leading expert on Islamic Law and legal history, will join the faculty of Harvard Law School beginning Spring 2014, with an appointment as a tenured Professor of Law.