Soaad Elbahwati ’21: CAIR-Philadelphia

Name: Soaad Elbahwati
Class Year: 2021
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Pottstown, Pa.

Internship Organization: CAIR-Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

I’m working with three other fellows in our civic engagement fellowship program at CAIR-Philadelphia. We all collaborate on projects and attend events hosted by other advocacy groups. Currently, we’re working on reports about Muslim students and education, focusing on their specific needs and issues that they face in school.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I have always wanted to work with CAIR ever since I learned about the organization in high school. CAIR is the biggest civil rights advocacy group for Muslims in the country and I wanted to be a part of that. As a Muslim woman who has experienced Islamophobia in many facets of my life, I felt it necessary to work for an organization that focuses on combating negative stereotypes of Islam and empowering Muslim-Americans. It’s important to me to do this work to make life better for future generations of Muslim-Americans.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of my internship so far is connecting with other Muslim college students and working together. Many of us have similar majors so we talk a lot about politics and global issues. I look forward to work everyday because I’m excited about our discussions. My internship has also shown me that my dream of running for public office doesn’t have to be just a dream and has given me the skills of outreach and community organizing that are very important for a public official to have.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding thing about my internship is feeling fulfilled in doing advocacy work for my religious community. It is extremely empowering to me to be working on the behalf of Muslims in Philadelphia. Every time I go to an advocacy event, like the Education Apartheid Day of Action in Harrisburg, I feel very powerful in my abilities as an activist and community member and it makes me look forward to the future as being a community leader someday.

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