Islam in America: Harry Reid, UNLV Law Welcome Panel of Nationwide Experts for Talk Sept. 26

NPR’s Leila Fadel will moderate a discussion with scholars in civil rights, political science and social justice to examine historical and modern-day experiences of Muslims in America


LAS VEGAS – U.S. Senator and UNLV Distinguished Fellow in Law and Policy Harry Reid, in partnership with the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law, will host a panel of nationwide scholars Sept. 26 for a conversation about Islam in America. 

Moderated by NPR national correspondent Leila Fadel, the event will feature a discussion with legal advocacy, social justice, immigration, and foreign policy experts. Panelists will examine the historical and modern-day experiences of Muslims in the United States, as well as rising anti-Muslim bigotry.

“Throughout history, Muslim-Americans played a vital role in shaping our nation. They exemplify America’s core tenets of hard work, devotion to community and the belief that diversity and freedom of expression are essential to the American experience,” said Senator Reid. “Despite these invaluable contributions, Muslims in America are facing rising levels of anti-Muslim bigotry perpetuated by ignorance and those wishing to profit from sowing hate and division. This event is about shining a spotlight on the Muslim experience in America, highlighting their contributions, and fighting hate and bigotry in all its forms.” 

The event, scheduled for 4 p.m. at Cohen Theatre in UNLV’s Student Union, follows a similar conversation hosted by Senator Reid and UNLV in April on the rise of anti-Semitism in America. The discussion is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and registration is required.

“We are honored to once again partner with Senator Harry Reid to bring an important and timely conversation to UNLV and Las Vegas,” said Daniel W. Hamilton, dean of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law. “Diversity is not only a pillar of strength for education but the core of who we are as a nation.” 


Sahar Aziz: Professor of Law and Chancellor's Social Justice Scholar at Rutgers University Law School

Professor Aziz’s research examines the intersection of national security, race, and civil rights with a focus on the adverse impact of national security laws and policies on racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the U.S. She is the founding director of the interdisciplinary Rutgers Center for Security, Race, and Rights. Professor Aziz teaches courses on national security, critical race theory, Islamophobia, evidence, torts, and Middle East law. She is a recipient of the Derrick Bell award from the American Association of Law Schools and served as a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution-Doha.

Farid Senzai: Assistant Professor of Political Science at Santa Clara University

Professor Senzai teaches courses on U.S. foreign policy and Middle East politics. He also served as an advisory board member for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, where he contributed to multiple national and global surveys on Muslim attitudes. He is a former fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a research associate at the Brookings Institution, and a research analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations. His publications include Political Islam in the Age of Democratization (2013) and Educating the Muslims of America (2009), with Yvonne Hadd.

Farhana Khera, President and Founder of Muslim Advocates

Founded by Khera and a group of American Muslim lawyers and policy experts, Muslim Advocates works on the frontlines of civil rights to protect freedom for Americans of all faiths.  Prior to her work with Muslim Advocates, Khera was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution. She advised U.S. Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, on civil rights issues. Prior to the Senate, Khera was a litigation associate with the law firms of Hogan & Hartson, LLP, and Ross, Dixon & Masback, LLP.

Michael Kagan, UNLV Joyce Mack Professor of Law and Director of the UNLV Immigration Clinic

Professor Kagan focuses on the tension between immigration law and civil rights in both his research and his clinical teaching. In addition to leading the Immigration Clinic, Kagan consults with the Clark County Public Defender on immigration considerations and helped create immigration law specialist positions at the offices of the Clark County Public Defender and the Washoe County Public Defender. Kagan previously spent 10 years building legal aid programs for refugees throughout the Middle East and Asia, and lived in London, Cairo, Beirut and Jerusalem. He held teaching positions at Tel Aviv University and the American University in Cairo.

Mahir Hussein, President of UNLV Muslim Student Association

Hussein is a senior studying public health at UNLV. In addition to his studies, Hussein is a political canvasser and serves as the president of UNLV Muslim Student Association. 


Born in Searchlight, Nevada, Harry Reid served 30 years in the U.S. Senate (1987-2017) and is the longest-serving senator in the state’s history. He led the Senate’s Democratic Conference from 2005 to 2017 and was the Senate majority leader from 2007 to 2015. In Washington and Nevada, Senator Reid championed the state’s role as the country’s premiere entertainment and gaming destination and is renowned for his work on Nevada’s economic development, infrastructure and for supporting the launch of the state’s clean energy transformation . In addition to his role as a Distinguished Fellow in Law and Policy at UNLV Law, Senator Reid recently launched the MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute at UNLV, which he co-chairs Former with U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Established in 1998, the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has nearly 400 students and offers three juris doctor degree programs: a full-time day program, a part-time day program, and a part-time evening program. The school also offers a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Gaming Law and Regulation and three dual degree programs: the J.D./MBA, J.D./M.S.W., and J.D./Ph.D. It is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. For more information about UNLV Law, please visit and stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.