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26 American Muslims win in the November elections

29th Nov 2019
26 American Muslims win in the November elections

Democrats Ghazala Hashmi, Abrar Omeish and Safiya Khalid made history

Harun Nasrullah

26 Muslims won in state and local elections races across the US, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced. Elections were held, in large part, on November 5.

81 Muslim candidates ran for elections held in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, regularly scheduled state legislative elections in Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, and New Jersey, and special elections for seats in various state legislatures.

Numerous citizen initiatives, mayoral races, and a variety of other local elections also occurred.

The November tally takes the total number of Muslim candidates elected this year to 34. Since 2016, more than 300 Muslim candidates, including more than 100 women, have run for elected office nationwide.

Among the big November winners were Democrats Ghazala Hashmi and Abrar Omeish who became the first Muslim women elected in their respective posts. Hashmi unseated Virginia State Republican Senator Glen Sturtevant.

‘This victory is not mine alone. It belongs to all of you who believed that we needed to make a progressive change here in Virginia, for all of you who felt that you haven’t had a voice and believed in me to be yours in the General Assembly,’ Hashmi tweeted.
Omeish clinched one of three vacant seats on the Fairfax County School Board.

“Abrar’s campaign worked hard to elevate young voices and those of underserved and underrepresented communities, proactively reaching out to constituencies who have otherwise not been engaged by registering 1,500 new voters and training hundreds of new volunteers,” Omeish’s campaign said in a statement celebrating her victory to an at-large seat

Lewiston. The second-largest city in Maine, has elected a Somali American to its city council following a campaign that was marred by racists attacks and threats fuelled by social media.

Safiya Khalid, 23, soundly defeated a fellow Democrat for a seat on the Lewiston City Council. Shrugging off the Islamophobic and racist attacks, Khalid declared that “community organisers beat internet trolls.”

The attacks didn’t seem to faze voters. Khalid, who wears the hijab, won with nearly 70 per cent of the vote to make history in the former mill city.
“These electoral victories indicate that American Muslims are stepping up and showing their commitment to public service,” said CAIR National Executive Director, Nihad Awad.

Nadia Mohamad, also 23, became the first Muslim woman and first Somali elected to the city council in St. Louis Park, Minn.

“We congratulate these Muslim trailblazers who are creating a more inclusive democracy for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, CAIR, Jetpac and MPower Change have identified at least 34 Muslim candidates who won elections in local and state-wide races across the country. More than 80 Muslims ran for office this year at the local and state level.

Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of MPower Change, said, “What do Muslim Americans do during a time of heightened Islamophobia under a xenophobic administration? We run for office and win.”

“Muslim Americans are engaging in the democratic process in unprecedented ways, and we can’t wait to continue this wave in 2020 to save our democracy.”

Congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who were elected in 2018 and took office January 3 as the first Muslim women in Congress, have attracted attention to the high-profile success of Muslim candidates.

“American Muslims are running for office in large numbers because more of us are realising that we have a unique perspective that will help fix massive inequities in healthcare, education, and the criminal legal system,” said Jetpac Executive Director Mohammed Missouri.

“We’re also aware that staying on the sidelines while anti-Muslim bigotry runs rampant will increase the threat to our community. A truly representative Democracy will help us get out of this dark era as a stronger society.”


Full list of newly elected Muslim candidates on November 5 (Credit: CAIR)

Maine, Pious Ali – Portland City Council*
Maine, Safiya Khalid– Lewiston City Council
Maryland, Fazlul Kabir – College Park City Council*
Massachusetts, Mehreen Butt – Wakefield Town Council*
Massachusetts, Afroz Khan – Newburyport City Council*
Massachusetts, Sumbul Siddiqui – Cambridge City Council*
Minnesota, Nadia Mohamed– St. Louis Park City Council
Minnesota, Abdisalam Adam – Fridley School Board
New Jersey, Jamillah Beasley – Irvington Municipal Council*
New Jersey, Mustafa Al-Mutazzim Brent – East Orange City Council*
New Jersey, Denise Sanders – Teaneck Board of Education*
New Jersey, Raghib Muhammad – Montgomery Township Board of Education
New Jersey, Adnan Zakaria – Prospect Park City Council*
New Jersey, Esllam Zakaria – Prospect Park Board of Education*
Ohio, Omar Tarazi – Hilliard City Council
Pennsylvania, Omar Sabir – Philadelphia City Commission
Virginia, Buta Biberaj – Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney
Virginia, Ghazala Hashmi – Senate District 10
Virginia, Babur Lateef – Prince William County School Board*
Virginia, Harris Mahedavi – Loudon County School Board
Virginia, Abrar Omeish – Fairfax County School Board
Virginia, Sam Rasoul – House of Delegates District 11*
Virginia, Ibraheem Samirah – House of Delegates District 86*
Virginia, Lisa Zargarpur – Prince William County School Board
Washington, Turan Kayaoglu – Puyallup School Board
Washington, Zahra Roach – Pasco City Council


One Response to “26 American Muslims win in the November elections”

Sikander BajwaDecember 3, 2019

That’s so awesome May you all continue the journey as enthusiastically as today. Thank You for stepping up!


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