Nadia Kahf, a Wayne-based family law and immigration lawyer, finally got her chance to serve as a state Superior Court judge in Passaic County, United States (US), after waiting a year.

Kahf took an oath on Tuesday, March 21, by placing her hand on the Holy Quran she received from her grandmother after being nominated to her new post in New Jersey.

 

“I am proud to represent the Muslim and Arab communities in New Jersey in the United States. I want the younger generation to see that they can practice their religion without fear and that they can be who they are. Diversity is our strength, it is not our weakness,” Kahf said during the oath-taking ceremony.

When she was 2 years old, Nadia Kahf left Syria and moved to the US. She has a lengthy history of service to the nation’s Islamic institutions. She has been a member of the New Jersey chapter’s board of directors of the Council on American-Islamic Relations since 2003; she now holds the position of board chair.

 

One of the biggest mosques in the state, the Islamic Center of Passaic County, is presided over by Kahf. She serves as legal counsel for Wafa House, a Clifton-based organisation that provides social services and shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

She was listed among the top Muslims in 2020 for impact in government, law and politics, religion, social justice, and other fields by New Jersey’s Insider newspaper.

Although Kahf is the first state judge in the US to wear a headscarf, she is not the first Muslim judge.

In many states around the US, there are Muslim women judges. Nadia Kahf will be the third Muslim woman to sit on the New Jersey Supreme Court, which hears both criminal and civil issues.

Justices of the Supreme Court in Essex are Sharifa Salaam and Kalimah Ahmad, respectively. Kahf’s accomplishment places her in the company of other Muslim women who have excelled in the legal sector.

Laila Ikram made history in June 2022 when she became the first female Muslim judge to sit on the Arizona state court.

Nusrat Chaudhry, who would be the first Muslim woman to serve as a federal judge, was one of eight judicial nominees chosen by US President Joe Biden in January 2023.

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today congratulated Nadia Kahf on her swearing in.

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said, “Nadia has long served the Muslim community in New Jersey, and I am honored to have worked under her leadership and guidance here at CAIR-NJ. To see her finally sworn in, a year after her nomination, is nothing short of incredible. ”

“Nadia may be the first to wear a hijab on the Superior Court bench in New Jersey, but she certainly won’t be the last, insha Allah. She walks on the paths of many firsts before her, and with her accomplishments and vast experiences, she has set the bar high for other Muslim women.”