New York City: Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first Muslim and black woman to have served on the New York’s highest court has reportedly died. She was 65.
While Sheila Abdus-Salaam’s cause of death is still not known, authorities have said they don’t think there was any foul play involved.
One of the most prominent American Muslims and the top as far as judiciary is concerned, Sheila Abdus-Salaam was reportedly discovered dead and floating in the Hudson River.
The Muslim community in the US seems to have shocked at sudden death of the jurist and the manner in which she was found dead.
A New York Daily News report, while talking about the mysterious death of Sheila Abdus-Salaam said that the 65-year old jurist was recognized by her husband after being found fully-clothed, floating in the river.
She was listed as missing on April 11 from her home and was later located by the Henry Hudson Parkway at around 2 p.m. on April 12.
Born on March 14, 1952, Sheila Abdus-Salaam was born in Washington DC. She was appointed as judge on the New York Court of Appeals and was reportedly the first black woman and Muslim to be appointed to a seat on New York’s highest court, and the first Muslim woman to serve on the bench in the United States.
A CBSNews report while reporting her death said that Sheila Abdus-Salaam was designated as a Justice for the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department in 2009 by Governor David Paterson. She was an Associate Justice of the New York Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department from 2009 until her elevation in 2013.
While condoling her death, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said she will be “missed deeply.” “Her personal warmth, uncompromising sense of fairness and bright legal mind were an inspiration to all of us who had the good fortune to know her,” DiFiore said.
Her former colleagues have been deeply shattered by her death. Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said he knew Abdus-Salaam for many years. He went on to add that her death of was “difficult to understand.” “The court has suffered a terrible blow,” he said.
“As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the State’s Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer…Through her writings, her wisdom, and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come”, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. Funeral details of Sheila Abdus Salam will be updated here shortly.