Farhana Khera is the first executive director of Muslim Advocates. Prior to joining Muslim Advocates in 2005, she was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights. In the Senate, she worked for six years directly for Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee. Khera focused substantially on the Patriot Act, racial and religious profiling, and other civil liberties issues raised by the government’s anti-terrorism policies after September 11, 2001. There, Khera wrote the first drafts of the End Racial Profiling Act and organized the first ever congressional hearing on racial profiling.
Prior to her service with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Khera was an associate with Hogan & Hartson, specializing in commercial and administrative litigation. She also worked with Ross, Dixon & Masback, serving as the lead associate on several pro bono employment discrimination cases, which resulted in the firm being honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
Khera has been honored by the Auburn Theological Seminary with its Lives of Commitment Award, along with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Barbara Friedman. She has also been recognized by Islamica Magazine as one of “10 Young Muslim Visionaries” for leadership, innovative approaches, and “a level of success that bodes well for America.” Because of her leadership in civil rights, the White House asked her to facilitate the first and only meeting between Muslim community advocates with President Obama.
She has written op-eds in the Washington Post and New York Times, and has been quoted or profiled in numerous publications including The New York Times, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Politico, and the Los Angeles Times. She has also made numerous appearances to discuss civil rights issues on national televised news, including CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN.
Khera received her B.A. with honors in Political Science and Economics from Wellesley College and her J.D. from Cornell Law School. At Wellesley, she served as president of the student body and co-founded the first Muslim student organization, al-Muslimat (“The Muslim Women”). At Cornell, she was a finalist in the law school’s annual Cuccia Cup Moot Court Competition and was an editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy.