Founders of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom to Receive Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award


09/08/2023

The 2023 Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award will be given to Sheryl Olitzky and Atiya Aftab, the founders of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, for their vision and commitment to creating relationships based on shared values between Muslim and Jewish Women. They will receive the award at St. Ambrose University inside the Rogalski Center Ballroom at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 13. This event is free and open to the public.


The two American women co-founded the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom in 2010 after Sheryl, who is Jewish, returned from a trip to Poland that galvanized her to do something to stop the hate and negative stereotypes she saw. A local Imam connected her with Atiya, a Muslim attorney, educator, and activist. Atiya maintains her own practice, providing pro bono representation to nonprofit corporations.

Sheryl Olitzky and Atiya Aftab

Sheryl Olitzky and Atiya Aftab, the founders of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, receive Pacem in Terris


The two American women co-founded the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom in 2010 after Sheryl, who is Jewish, returned from a trip to Poland that galvanized her to do something to stop the hate and negative stereotypes she saw. A local Imam connected her with Atiya, a Muslim attorney, educator, and activist. Atiya maintains her own practice, providing pro bono representation to nonprofit corporations.

The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, which began with only 12 members in 2010, now has 150 chapters across the United States, Canada, and England. Members take part in public advocacy, participate in life cycle events and holiday celebrations, and have regular get-togethers.


The Pacem in Terris annual award is presented by a coalition of sponsors within the Diocese of Davenport, including St. Ambrose University. Past award recipients, which honor peace and social justice champions worldwide, include Saint Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rev. Martin Luther King, President John F. Kennedy, Dorothy Day, Sister Helen Prejean, and Lech Walesa.

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