First Female Muslim Judge’s Body Found in the Hudson River

Senior Editor: Ashlyn Richardson

The first female Muslim U.S. judge – who later became the first black woman appointed to the New York Court of Appeals, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, was the victim of a heinous act. Abdus-Salaam’s body was found dead Wednesday on the bank of the Hudson River.

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Abdus-Salaam with fellow judge, courtesy of

This tragic incidence has not been identified as a homicide or a hate crime yet, but the situation is very suspicious. Abdus-Salaam was reported missing from her Harlem home earlier that say. Witnesses spotted her body, still fully clothed, floating in the water near 132nd St. and Hudson Parkway on Wednesday afternoon, as reported by the New York police department, and her body was later identified by her husband. Although there were no signs of trauma to her body, her death poses several questions. Most people have not heard about her death either, including teens who are well connected such as Brenna Vine who said, “I had no idea this had happened until I saw it on Twitter. I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t see it on there. Her death is so mysterious. Its almost like no one wants to talk about it.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that Judge Abdus-Salaam was a pioneer with an “unshakable moral compass.” Additionally, “Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all.”As a pioneer in the courts for women, gays, and Muslims, Abdus-Salaam was a target for those who did not agree with her tolerant views. Makayla Powell, a senior at Woodstock High School, said, “Its so tragic that this happened. Its hard to make progress when the people trying to make progress keep disappearing.” According to the New York Times, on the court, Judge Abdus-Salaam was among the most reliable and steadfast liberal voices, regularly siding with vulnerable parties — the poor, impoverished immigrants and people with mental illnesses, for instance — against more powerful and established interests. She also tended to lean toward injured parties who brought claims of misconduct, fraud or breach of contract against wealthy corporations. Throughout all her hard work, she still had several enemies. Police are investigating her death as a homicide and hope to quickly find answers to her mysterious death.

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Judge Abdus-Salaam in court, courtesy of

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