Meet Layli Miller-Muro, Founder and CEO of the Tahirih Justice Center, a national nonprofit that serves courageous individuals fleeing from violence. Check out this video to learn more about the Tahirih Justice Center and its dedication to serving immigrant women and girls.
Layli Miller-Muro: The Tahirih Justice Center got started after my involvement in a case when I was a law student. It involved a really courageous young woman from West Africa who was being threatened with female genital mutilation, a very common practice in her community, as well as being forced to be the fourth wife of a 45 year old man and she was 17 at the time.
She came to United States and asked for protection, but our refugee laws at the time didn’t recognize that gender based persecution was a legal viable basis for protection. And so I had the honor of working on the case as a law student, that then climbed to the highest immigration appellate court, where she won. Her case set legal precedent in the United States and it recognized this new area of law that we now call gender based persecution, which means you can get asylum or refugee status because of forms of violence inflicted particularly because one is a woman.
What happened as a result of that case, in addition to the legal precedent, was that there was commercial interest. And she and I wrote a book together, and I used my portion of the proceeds of that book to start The Tahirih Justice Center to help other women like her. We named the organization The Tahirih Justice Center in honor of Tahirih, the historic figure. She was an incredible woman who lived in the 1800s, known for being a theologian, for being a poet. She organized women to tell them that a new spiritual dawn had come and that there would be a radical change in the world. And she was a symbol for the equality of women and men. And we thought that it would be befitting to honor her memory and her legacy, to name the organization after her.