News & Events

Print/PDF this page:

Print Friendly and PDF

Share this page:

Liman Fellow Recognized for Work Documenting NYPD Surveillance on American Muslims

“Receiving this award is a great honor, and especially encouraging at a time when our clients and the communities with whom we work are struggling to respond to increased public support for surveillance of American Muslims. - Diala Shamas ’11

A Liman Fellow from Yale Law School was among a team of people awarded a Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) award earlier this month at the Association of American Law Schools Clinical Conference in Puerto Rico.

Diala Shamas ’11 accepted the award with several of her colleagues from the City University of New York School of Law, where she has been working with the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) project on an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship. CUNY Professor Ramzi Kassem and former CUNY Law Professor Amna Akbar were also on hand at the conference to accept the honor.

 CLEAR project primarily aims to address the legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area – particularly those affected by national security and counter-terrorism policies and practices.

The award is in recognition of a report released by the CLEAR project titled, Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and Its Impact on American Muslims, which documents the devastating impact of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) extensive surveillance program that targets American Muslims throughout the Northeast and the nation.

 

The CLEA award recognizes a public interest case or project that demonstrates excellence and contributes to the public good. The Mapping Muslims report documents tactics from the NYPD post 9/11, which they allege includes spying on Muslim Americans in a variety of ways, from staking out neighborhood cafes and places of worship to infiltrating student white-water rafting trips.

“Receiving this award is a great honor, and especially encouraging at a time when our clients and the communities with whom we work are struggling to respond to increased public support for surveillance of American Muslims,” said Shamas. “This recognition at this time speaks highly about the clinical teaching community and its unflinching commitment to social justice."

As a student at Yale Law School, Shamas worked with the National Litigation Project, litigating cases stemming from post-September 11th detention policies. She was also the editor for the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, a founding member of the Middle Eastern and North African Law Students’ Association, and a member of the Transnational Development Clinic. Shamas has been a Liman Fellow since 2011. The Liman fellowships are awarded each year through The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program, which supports the work of Yale Law Students and graduates as well as undergraduates from other Universities, all of whom work to respond to the problems of inequality and to improve access to justice.

Shamas also recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about why New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly would not be an appropriate candidate for Secretary of Homeland Security.