Muslim Women’s Studies / Political Science
B.A. September 2013, Summa cum Laude
Home College: John Jay
Mentors: Profs. Dina Siddiqi, Psychology, Hunter & Susan Kang, Political Science, John Jay
Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship
John Jay Honors Program
Undergraduate Research Scholarship
Upper Division Scholarship
Young Scholars Award
LSAT Prep Program Scholarship Spring
John Jay College Leadership Award
Fordham Law School Latin American Law Students Association Fellowship
Thurgood Marshall Scholarship
New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus CUNY Scholar
Barbara Sproul Award
Just prior to CUNY BA, Rabiah Gul was part of The Hijabi Monologues, a set of narratives of Muslim women. Her play, Wudu, a portrayal of performing a private Muslim religious ritual in a public place, was selected for inclusion; it was intended to “bring forth awareness about Islam, diminish negative stereotypes and eradicate misconceptions about American Muslim women.” The play was selected and published in John Jay’s journal, The Finest, receiving a CUNY Thomas Tam Honorable Mention. In CUNY BA, Gul now had the chance to create a unique program of study around her interests.
She says, “My academic background is interdisciplinary and intersectional, and so is my life, the way I view life and the way I present ideas. I like studying the American legal system, and think of social policies, domestic policies and international relations as all being intersectional. The U.S law interacts with various factors, not just gender or sex, but with economic class, religion, able-body, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity. I like to learn and educate others about domestic and foreign issues through interdisciplinary ways like writing plays, performing, blogging, writing, participating in research projects, interning and volunteering. I am passionate about helping various marginalized or minority groups. As a Muslim woman who is discriminated against and marginalized, from experiencing increased scrutiny at airports to watching the bans on face-veils and hijabs in France, I am sympathetic and motivated to help other minority groups and other women.”
Gul’s studies covered Asian Studies, History, Law, Political Science, Religion, Sociology and Women’s Studies at John Jay and Hunter. She joined Prof. Stoudt’s Participatory Research Project, which sought to determine the extent to which the John Jay Women’s Center provides individuals, particularly for those who have experienced domestic violence, with appropriate resources. Through her research she discovered that the climate on campus among students was to normalize domineering and even homophobic behavior. The team presented the results to John Jay’s Gender Studies program and Women’s Center, and at the National Women’s Studies Association in California. Now she is working on a research project with the Chair of the Anthropology Dept., aiming to help pass legislation in banning the practices of female genital mutilation, forced marriages and honor killings in New York.
Gul interned with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission helping to review and research charges and interview parties about their complaints of employer discrimination against age, disability, race, ethnicity, gender and religious-affiliation. Now she is interning in State Senator Bill Perkins’ office. “One project I am working on is attempting to preserve the ‘public’ in public education and public schools. The schools that Senator Perkins represents have predominately African American and Latino students and they have been targeted to close or instead have charter schools co-located in their buildings.” Gul has been responsible for helping reform public hearings on this topic to include previously disregarded voices and to create movements and coalitions on the issue.
Her senior thesis for an international relations class is a comparative case study of France and the United Kingdom, attempting to answer the question of why France has limited public religious expression and the U.K. has not. She is also doing an independent study at Hunter with Prof. Breiner (Religion) about women and Islam. “The thesis is about how Islam defines equality; my paper aims to prove that Islam is not patriarchal.”
Gul volunteers extensively with New York Cares and has served as President and V.P. of the Muslim Students Association. She will attend law school in the fall at the University of Dayton.